One of the greatest challenges to leading a sustainable high performing life is destroying the myths and cliches that so many people fall victim to. As we travel around the high performance, must win, executive world we hear many myths around the word "balance". The three most common "balance" myths we hear are:
1. The work/life balance myth
2. The results/people balance myth
3. The high performance/enjoyment balance myth
First, there is no such thing as work/life balance. As high performing human beings our lives are integrated. If we aren't having fun and living life while we are at work then, let's be honest, we aren't passionate and we're not performing our best. On the same token, if we feel that we can't ever be productive (get work done at home) then we really aren't sharing our best self with our family and this is a shame. The truth is that we live integrated lives and what we really want to do is raise the quality of our life and our performance in everything we do. This means we need to have more resilience, agility/flexibility, impact, stamina, and energy everywhere. This means we need high performance habits to help us do this and yes, this does include getting rest/recovery at work.
Second, there is no such thing as balancing results and people. More and more blogs are talking about this like these two are opposing forces. Unless you work in a factory full of robots you need human beings (people) to create, develop, and deliver innovative solutions. You need people to execute your strategies. You need people to lead and inspire others. If any leader thinks they can sacrifice supporting leaders to be sustainable high performers in order to get better results, they're wrong. When they do this they are suffering from short term fatal thinking. They are being box tickers and this is not leadership; this is playing the role of the leader (like an actor in a play). This is like trying to make it the airport on time by not stopping and getting gas even though you already know you are operating on fumes.
Finally, occasionally when we are talking about the concepts of sustainable high performance someone raises their hand and says something like, "What if I don't want to be a high performer? This sounds like so much work to be performing all the time." These sound like legitimate concerns but when we dig deeper what they are really saying is, "I don't want to be like Jim (made up name) who works 12 hours a day, skips lunch, misses all of his kid's events, has no life, and rarely has much fun." The truth is that Jim is busy but he isn't a sustainable high performer. Our question is: Have you ever really enjoyed performing poorly? For most people the immediate answer is no. It always feels better to be at your best. This means at your best when you walk into a meeting, when you walk into your house at the end of the day, when you are playing tennis, or when you are sitting on the couch enjoying a good book or TV show. Have you ever tried to read a book when you feel like crap? It isn't productive or fun. If you analyze this myth that sustainable high performance and fun can't co-exist you actually see that without one you really can't have the other. Therefore, the best way to improve the enjoyment that you get out of work and home is to adapt some really strong high performance habits.
When you shine the light of truth on the darkness of myths you have the potential to really become your "To Be" goal. If you want to get more results, more enjoyment, more effectiveness, and more true "balance", you need to take an integrative approach to your Mindset, Nutrition, Movement, and Recovery habits. As always, we would love to hear what you think.
Jogi Rippel and Scott Peltin