To me, the real secret to being happy and successful comes from being of service to everyone in your life and finding the right balance. To your employees, your customers, your family, and yourself. By striking the right balance between each of these areas, you set yourself up to walk a path that can only lead to success.
Find your work life balance!
Let’s talk a little about these key areas and how you can be of service in each one. Think of each area like points in a triangle, lacking any individual point, the whole structure collapses. We’ll start with what I consider the most important place to be of service— yourself.
Being of service means pulling out all the stops to help someone. By putting yourself in this position, you empower those around you to accomplish their own goals. In return, you’ll find that this culture of accomplishment pays back as you chase after your own dreams.
However, as anyone will tell you, you can’t help all the people all of the time. If you try, you’ll quickly find yourself walked on and used up on a regular basis. Instead, when you consider being of service, understand that you first must be of service to yourself. Otherwise, by failing to take care of yourself you put yourself in a position where it is impossible for you to help others.
Think of the last time you boarded an airplane. Before takeoff, the cabin crew likely mentioned that, in case of emergency, you should secure your own oxygen mask before attending to others. This is common sense. In order to help others, you first must have helped yourself.
Being of service to yourself means pursuing growth, health, and vitality. I suggest, working on a few key areas. For health:
- Regular exercise (I do yoga five times per week and highly recommend it)
- A healthy diet
For growth, I recommend:
- Always learning something new
- Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone
- Traveling as much as possible
I can’t stress enough the importance of being of service to yourself first. It may sound somewhat egotistical, but recognize that you will be of no use to anyone if you can’t lead by example.
Only by measuring and evaluating progress are you able to guarantee any level of improvement. In being of service to yourself, you can promote measure growth and improvement by:
- Tracking your health goals with a smart scale or Fitbit
- Going to yoga at a set time every day. (6:00 AM for me)
- Allocating—and spending!—a self improvement budget. This could be for courses or travel.
After being of service to yourself, I believe the key to lasting happiness lies in being of service to your family. Some business leaders may find themselves neglecting this area in favor of their customers or employees. What many fail to realize is that customers come and go, employees too. But your family remains constant.
Through thick and thin, your family is a source you can turn to. This is why it’s so important to be of service to your family and closest friends. They’re the ones who talk you down from ledges, help you pull through tough times, and offer support when it’s needed most.
I believe very strongly in being of service to my family. I make a point of drawing a clear line between family and work. I ensure the time spent is quality time. I highly recommend you do the same. In particular:
- Be fully present (not on your phone, laptop, with your mind elsewhere)
- If you do bring work home with you, do not finish it during designated “family time”
- Break routines by scheduling fun activities and breaks from the day-to-day
Just as you would when being of service to yourself, establish routines for measuring and tracking your progress here too. With your family, try:
- Date night every two weeks (or whatever you’re comfortable with).
- Goal setting and review over dinner once per quarter.
- Set expectations and deliver on them. Track your results. If you agree to be home at a certain time, track how often you’re late.
- Maybe even track how often your wife is noticeably upset 😉
Employees and Customers
Finally, we come to employees and customers. For economic success, this is an important area to get right. Being of service here means listening to your employees and empowering them to achieve. It means talking to your customers and ensuring they’re getting everything they expect from you—and more!
I’ve talked before about Net Performance Score (see my Inc. article for more) and how you can apply it to both your customers and employees. Having systems like these will help you evaluate both sides of the equation and see where you can be the most help. I also strongly believe in the importance of transparent dialogue, and in actively listening to both parties when they speak up.
However, with regards to employees and customers, I’d like your biggest takeaway to be this: you must personally be of service to have the greatest effect. With customers, a personal touch from you can go a long way. With employees, knowing your team members’ personal goals—and helping them reach them— is essential to building a high-powered team.
Delegation has its place. But when it comes to being of service, understand that this is an area where you must personally get involved.
The world of employees and customers lends itself a little easier to metrics than your family life. Remember, only things that are measured will improve. Decide what metrics are important to you, and find a way to track them. A few tools to help you out:
- Net Promoter Score
- Scheduled one-on-ones
- Annual retreat, offsite activities, team-building and bonding exercises
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