My wife just introduced me to the Best of Craigslist. It’s definitely some of the most entertaining reading I’ve found in a while. The link she sent me was entitled: Wanted: STONER BOYFRIEND. In the personal ad she claims that she wants a hippy boy because the other ‘type’ she’s dated has disappointed her. Here’s one of her complaints about the “successful type”:
“It’s as if faithfulness dives to the ground on the seesaw when success, money, and a hot car rises to the sky on the other end.”
Doesn’t it seem like that sometimes? Not necessarily just with faithfullness but with everything family/relationship related. When the seesaw tips in the direction of the career the family suffers and vice-versa. So that you’re constantly neglecting one for the other. This is something every family man/woman with any ambition has struggled with at some point. I know I have! My own personal struggle with this balancing act is what inspired me to write this TrackSuit blog. And there’s the solution right there in the phrase ‘balancing act’. It shouldn’t be a like a seesaw, tipping in one direction or the other, but a balancing act. Much like a tightrope walk. Your true happiness depends on you balancing these roles constantly as you carry forward. If you begin to lean to the right you must quickly readjust until eventually your muscle memory gets used to the routine. Now the other thing about the balancing act/tight rope analogy is that the stakes are much higher. On a seesaw you’re expected to have ups and downs but on a tight rope there’s no room for error and it’s a long way down. You balance all of your roles or you’re going down!
In the classic The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey focuses almost exclusively on balancing roles; your role as a parent, spouse, friend, employee, business owner (etc.) and also your role as an individual. You are encouraged to set up your schedule with your commitments to all of these roles in mind. And you know Covey, being the good Mormon boy he is, practices all of this in his own life. After reading this book I felt like I had a glimpse into why Mormons are almost always successful, happy and spend so much time with their families.
In my daily scheduling routine I use one of Covey’s tools called the Weekly Compass. It has you split up your roles and write your commitment to each one. You then go to your calendar and schedule these commitments. It’s very effective and I definitely recommend this tool. As you use it you eventually find that it’s a habit. If the girl who wrote the personal ad would just start looking for someone who keeps their commitments, she’d find that they have much better habits than the ones associated with your typical “Stoner Boyfriend”.