Every week for the past twenty years I have had the pleasure of addressing a topic for the business community. This week I want to share some thoughts about the “business of your life.”
Notice I didn’t say, “Your business or your life!” I’m not talking about an either/or proposition or a zero-sum game. You can have both a personal and business life.
You may be fully engaged on the treadmill of business, going as fast as you can, for as long as you can. Just because there are 168 hours in a week doesn’t mean you have to work all of them.
In 2014, Cadillac ran a commercial that I enjoyed featuring Neal McDonough, an actor I first noticed in “Band of Brothers.” The script of what came to be known as the “poolside ad” reads as follows:
“Why do we work so hard? For what? For this (showing a large swimming pool in the back yard)? For stuff? Other countries, they work, they stroll home, the stop by the cafe, they take August off. Off! Why aren’t you like that? Why aren’t we like that?
Because we’re crazy, driven, hard-working believers, that’s why. Those other countries think we’re nuts. Whatever.
Were the Wright Brothers insane? Bill Gates, Les Paul, Ali? Were we nuts when we pointed to the moon? That’s right, we went up there and you know what we got? Bored. So we left.
Got a car up there and we left the keys in it, do you know why? Because we’re the only ones going back up there, that’s why.
But I digress. It’s pretty simple. You work hard, you create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible. As for all the stuff. That’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August. N’est-ce pas?”
This commercial was intended to convey the message that the American Dream is built on hard work and effort while introducing consumers to the then new Cadillac ELR.
The fact is that time off isn’t for wimps. Vacations aren’t for the lazy. Sick days should be used because your aching body is telling you something. Sleep is for recharging your body.
The business of life is when you start the “second shift” at the end of the workday and includes your weekends. This enterprise consists of you, your family, your community, and the rest of the world around you.
Many people establish resolutions at the beginning of each new year. Others do this at an annual retreat or at a significant personal time like a birthday. Whenever you set your annual goals, I challenge you to do something different, starting today.
Begin by setting a specific time to leave work each day. While you won’t always be able to achieve that goal, it will force you to become more productive when you are at work.
When you get home, turn on some music, not the television. Now that we have longer days, spend time in your yard; go for a walk down the street. Reach out to significant others in your life.
Plan a long vacation. Get some weekend activities on the calendar.
Eat more fresh foods. Drink more water. Go to bed and get out of bed at approximately the same time each day. Sit less, walk more.
Pick up a book and relearn the pleasure of reading. Commit to spending just one hour a month working for an organization to make your community a better place.
Get your financial affairs in order so that your loved ones are taken care of “just in case.”
Visit your doctor. Take care of the tests you’ve been putting off (the most common being mammograms and colonoscopies) because they might be painful or uncomfortable. I can assure you that pain of the test is minor compared to the treatment you’ll endure if something is found.
Take joy in what you have. We often forget just how fortunate we are. We have our health, our families, a place of employment and a place to live.
We forget, in all of our affluence, that most of the world lives in poverty, with millions who are homeless and hungry.
Be grateful for what you have. It could all be gone tomorrow. You could be gone tomorrow. No one ever said, lying on their death bed, “I wish I had spent more time at the office!”
Ken Keller is a syndicated business columnist focused on the leadership needs of small and midsize closely held companies. Contact him at [email protected] Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of this media outlet.