Invest yourself fully and honestly in both your career and your family.
Give yourself a test. Are you ever too busy to return a phone call from a family member, an employee, a customer, a vendor? Do you delay answering e-mails as long as you possibly can or maybe forever? Do you habitually put off requests for face-to-face meetings? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you are declaring to the world that you have no time for the fundamentals of humanity. What should you do? Fix it. Now.
But let’s not make the mistake of focusing exclusively on time. The activities we call work and those we call family both take place in the dimension of time—of course. But they are not about time. If you do nothing more than “spend time” at work or “spend time” with your family, you are putting yourself in a sad and soul-killing situation. Intolerable.
Time with career and time with family are best invested in things that bring profound value to both career and family. That is why it is so important to identify your passion. Know what you value and then imbue your whole life—career and family, family and career—with those values. Don’t sell out one for the other.
What are you doing right now? If you find yourself worrying over work-related guilt and family-related guilt, stop squandering valuable time on guilt and instead invest some time in reflecting on your priorities. Discovering your passion, determining what nourishes rather than drains you—what renews you rather than uses you up— will enable you to define your values. Once you have done this, you can bring those values to career and family alike. You will be delighted to find that applying values to the place where career meets family makes the joint utterly seamless. The division between work and life will disappear, and with the disappearance, both work and life will become—simply—living.
Adapted from Fran Tarkenton’s book, The Power of Failure: Succeeding in the Age of Innovation.