Don’t squat with your spurs on.
Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.
Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.
A Cowboy’s Guide to Life
We’ve taken an in-depth look now at work, family, time, and money. In each of these areas, we’ve looked at ways to validate expectations, optimize efforts, and navigate effectively. We’ve also opened some doors to create synergy between the four—to make work and home complementary instead of competitive, and to see time and money in ways that empower us to invest both in what truly matters most.
Now we’ll take a step back and look at all these life elements as one, synergistic whole. We need to examine how all four elements interrelate and create the integrated life balance questions—both large and small—that we face every day . . . questions such as:
Do I work late on this project, or do I quit now and go home?
Do I stay with my current job, or do I take time out to get an advanced degree that will increase my earning capacity in the future?
With 20 things on my task list today that all feel like A-1 priori- ties, which should I work on first?
Should I take a second job and try to get out of debt, even though it means more time away from the family?
Do I stay at home with my new baby or go back to work?
Which is more important: spending more time with my family or getting involved in a community service project that would make a difference to others?
Should we move to a newer home that would better meet our family’s needs or stay where we are and keep the payments down?
Should we stretch our resources to pay for nursing home care for my parents or try to figure out a way to take them into our home?
Should I invest in private school education for my children, or should I send them to public school?
Do I keep working on this deadline-driven project or take time to exercise?
These are the kinds of life questions that come at us day in and day out. And they will never be resolved with “balance the scale” or “run between the bases fast enough to touch them all” approaches to life. Believing they will can only create frustration.
As we’ve said, balance is a dynamic equilibrium in which work, family, time, and money are all essential parts. And the discomfort that often masquerades as “imbalance” is usually not created by a lack of mechanical “balance” at all; it is created by lack of alignment with principles and with what our navigational intelligence tells us is “wise.”
There are times in our lives when seasonal imbalance is absolutely vital to overall life balance. There are times when the best decision in one situation is not right in another. So how do we know what’s right? What empowers us to access and to act on the best answers? What enables us to create this dynamic equilibrium every day?
The answer, we suggest, is wisdom.