Recently a friend shared a book with me titled Choosing to Cheat, by Andy Stanley. Choosing to Cheat is a quick read, but it is very intriguing and prompted me to do a little introspection. The author begins the book by stating that everyone cheats. Now before you wonder why a succession planner is talking to you about cheating, let me explain. This is a book about what can happen when family and business collide. 

Cheating in the context of this book refers to giving up one thing in favor of another. Each day we make choices with regard to how we spend our time at home with family and in business. When we choose to spend the majority of our time at work or building a business, many times family suffers. Several of my clients and countless prospects over the years have channeled a tremendous amount of time, energy and money pursuing business endeavors which has resulted in not only business success and amassing impressive personal wealth but also failed marriages and fractured relationships with their children. An overwhelming majority that have achieved what they define as the pinnacle of their business career want nothing more than to turn back time and recapture what they no longer have: a successful marriage or a meaningful relationship with their children. 

The demands of business ownership and the demands of being an employee in a highly successful environment require us to do more with less and often results in each of us having to make difficult choices and sacrifices. As Andy Stanley says in the book, “There is just not enough time in your day to be all things to all people.” What we choose to spend our time on speaks volumes about our priorities in life. I have found that maintaining a healthy balance between family and work is extremely difficult to do. So, let me ask you:

  • How do you spend most of your time? 
  • Are you sacrificing your family in pursuit of your successful career? 

Most of us would agree that we love our families and that when it all comes down to it, family is our highest priority. The problem is that our actions do not always align with our stated priorities and goals. Stanley illustrates this concept in his book in the conversation with a busy corporate vice president who insisted that he loved his family. Andy said it best when he told this executive, “The problem is, you love your family in your heart, but you don’t love them in your schedule. And they can’t see your heart.” 

There is nothing inherently wrong with pursuing the American Dream and creating a successful business or being the best employee that you can be; however, I challenge you to take this opportunity to really reflect upon your time priorities and consider penciling time into your busy schedule to spend time with your spouse and/or your children. Sometimes establishing a once a week ritual, whether it is a family game night, reading a bedtime story or committing to a date night, can be enough to balance the scales in the busy lives we lead. 

In the end, there is no magic answer as to how best to effectively balance your work and family life. The important thing to remember is to acknowledge the difficulties you are facing and find the best way to make more time for the things most important to you. Unfortunately, in the game of life there are no mulligans! 

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