The Point: As a leader you’re going to be faced with challenges that truly will test your “metal” in your career. Undoubtedly, you’ll also face challenges in your personal life. Knowing how to balance both personal and professional life through time management can help you gain the proper perspective necessary for success. Remember though, success or failure isn’t the end-all-be-all scoreboard of life… Thank you Robin, for all the joy you brought us!
Personal vs. Professional Life
In a New York Times article titled “Busy Working, Robin Williams
Fought Demons” (You can read it here:
it struck me that many leaders struggle with similar demons. Often times at Tip of the Spear we see there is often a trade-off between a leader’s professional and personal life. Spend too much time on the professional life, and the personal life suffers. Spend too much time on the personal life, and risk success in the professional life. In this blog post we take a look at what leaders can do to successfully overcome those “demon” moments.
RIP Robin Williams
We’ve had the opportunity to work with a cadre of talented leaders through our executive coaching practice over the years. In the last decade, I myself have worked with 1,000+ leaders individually and those I’ve assisted in their coaching practices have numbered 5,000+ coaching conversations with leaders. One aspect of each engagement sooner or later seems to trend towards the executive’s personal life, and satisfaction level therein. And that’s where this New York Times article on Robin Williams’ passing struck a cord with me…
Is Leadership Development Causing Complications?
The article tells of a 2012 episode where a cinematographer recalled that Williams was “a complicated soul that was rarely visible through the cracks of an astonishingly intact career.” In other words, Williams like so many of the leaders out there was working from behind a mask or veil, rarely letting those closest to him in proximity see him for who he really was. In our communication skills training for leaders sessions we conduct an exercise called “The Mask” in which we ask the leaders to identify and share with the group what they don’t typically let others see at first-glance. Sometimes the answers are funny and inconsequential (A small blemish that one could hardly see to begin with). However, sometimes the answers are downright shocking and rattle your core (One leader hated his wife and kids, finding work a welcome respite from that which he truly despised).
So How Do You Balance Time?
The skill involved in balancing, or managing your time as a leader shouldn’t be looked at as an artful endeavor (One that will take years to master, just as a great artist does in perfecting their craft). Instead, I believe that there should be an attempt to attain perfection in an imbalance moment. In other words, life (whether in a professional or personal setting) will ebb and flow with one or the other taking on more gravitas (weight) than the other. An attempt at equilibrium is senseless. Instead, recognize the imbalance and act accordingly. If your goal in recognition is to pull back, do so in keeping your ideal bigger picture in mind.
We’ve lost a great comedian, actor, talent, father, husband… We’ve lost a great person in Robin Williams. If you find yourself struggling as he was, please find a different exit plan. A wise man once told me “Nothing is that bad… Suicide isn’t an option.” If you find yourself without perspective, please seek help.