Posts in encouragement
Work-Life (un)Balance

So much talk about work-life balance these days and in the past five years or so.  

Friends I have struggle with this.  Colleagues at work too.  It's as if many folks can't seem to hold all of the balls in the air.  We face a few options, at least according to contemporary wisdom: 

  • drop a few balls (i.e. resign from your post as treasurer of whatever organization in town)
  • hire it out (think: pool boy) 
  • get smarter
  • get faster
  • wait for a time in life when things are easy

Ask someone who knows me and they'll tell you that I'm hardly an expert when it comes to work-life balance.  Like anyone, I occasionally drop a ball by accident or add another project to my already bursting list. 

And yet, I'm thinking of a friend, John, who said to me recently, "Mike, if you can do all that you do, with four kids and a busy job, I can do it too." 

There's a secret of course at play here- super productive people don't "do it all".  They don't have a magical 25th hour in their day or a secret iOS app that gets more done for them.

Rather, they go in spurts.  Push and pull.  Action and then rest. 

This summer I've tried to practice this- a week of rest and then two weeks of hard work.  A week of study and then a week of hard work.   

It's actually been unbalanced if we were doctrinal about things.  But maybe there's a deeper principle in play- you can only do what you can do.  Do it smart and in bursts.   

Maybe it's time we start talking about work-life (un)balance as a virtue instead of beating ourselves up for failing to meet a deadline.   What can you stop doing today that will free up time and energy?

*photo courtesy of GM 

What Can You do to Pump up Someone Else's Career?
The rise of Barack Obama is nothing short of incredible, considering his short track record in the U.S. Senate.  We could speak of what he did right from a marketing perspective.  We could easily mention his ability to speak with a preacher's cadence.  But there is also one man who Obama should thank perhaps more than any other.  Rev. Wright doesn't even come close to the level of influence of this man...

Former Senate Minority Leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota.

Turns out Daschle, when he was unseated in his run for reelection, offered his staffing to Obama and the man from Illinois graciously accepted his offer.  The result was a plan to  move the now president-elect Obama into key circles and situations which would gradually expose him to the American public.  Guess that plan worked to a "t".

How about you? What can you do to pump up someone else's career?  Is there a skill that you've mastered that the person next to you can benefit from?  Do you have some workplace capital that can be spent for a friend in need?  With the economy the way it currently is, we can all use an ally to move us along.