While I am hardly an expert on balancing work and personal life, I know that since I've begun seeking a balance and creating time for family and friends, my life is richer.
The Same, But Different
Déjà vu? I know that it sounds like I’m still as busy as ever— I still travel on the weekends, and work during the week. I want to be clear, the difference between my current career and owning the salon is passion. My enthusiasm for life is so strong.Work is no longer the only thing in my life. One of the things I am passionate about in my life is work. The effect of passion is you don’t always know when to stop.
Many of us plan our lives around what we perceive to be our lifetime. With apparent time on our hands, things like romance, children, family, a trip around the world, or that French cooking class we always wanted to take are easily set aside for after we have achieved our career goals. In that, another problem arises. Career-driven people never really run out of goals. There is always another step and another excuse to set those other things aside.
A lot of “artists” tend to define ourselves by our careers, which explains why we’re so driven in that aspect of our lives. Sometimes we overlook that work is just work: Over and over again,we forget that a job or a career doesn’t define who we are. The prestige, the recognition, and the paychecks are strong motivating factors that satisfy our sense of fulfillment in life. But how many of us have actually stopped to reflect on our life’s purpose? My partner once said, “I plan my career around my life, not my life around my career.” You know, I never really stopped to think about that statement until now.
Life isn’t a race to the top of the corporate ladder; it doesn’t matter who has the healthiest financial portfolio, or the biggest house. The most important thing we should bank isn’t money, but memories of love, life, family, and friends. In the end, our lives are measured, not by careers or wealth, but by the number of lives we have touched, moved, and inspired. How much time do I really have until my parents are gone, or until my brother and I completely grow apart? How much time do I really have myself — 70, 80, 95 years? It’s funny how I simply assume I’m going to live until that ripe old age.
I have altered my life by acknowledging that I am in search of balance and I am creating more time for myself and the people I love: my mother, father, brother, friends, and my partner.
I have focused on balancing my life by participating in personal growth education courses, taking care of my physical body, and giving myself permission to take time off from work. I enjoy life to its fullest. I enjoy making spontaneous decisions. I’ve stopped focusing on everybody else’s needs and now focus on my own. Every day I awake with a full cup of enjoyment.
Were these words of wisdom? I’ve already mentioned I’m not a “balanced-life guru.” But I did stop to reflect, and I think I’ve taken the first steps to living a balanced lifestyle. I can share with you only my reflections. Maybe this will trigger reflections on your part. Maybe you should stop for romance, or for your children, your family, that trip around the world, or for that French cooking class. Sit and think about what is really important to you in your life and what you’d like to take to the bank.
My life vision statement gets me up every morning and motivates me. It isn’t the answer to balance; it is a roadmap that guides how I choose to spend my time: My name is Louis Mattassi, former salon owner, educator, and current STI coach. And who I am is a powerful leader who brings love, freedom, joy, and inspiration to every life I touch.
Louis Mattassi is a trainer for Salon Training International in San Diego. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. ■