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A favorite spot on the north island. Tauranga, New Zealand

A favorite spot on the north island. Tauranga, New Zealand

Balance? What Balance?

If you read much about being an effective leader you will undoubtably run across the siren's call to have balance in your work-life.  Many have ballyhooed the need for, and the benefits of, regular downtime . . . yes, regular, scheduled, time away from the frenetic activities of your business or career.

I must admit this goes against everything I have been conditioned to do.  You see I come from Northern European stock, I live in the agricultural midwest, from a small town, from parents who grew up on a farm and lived through the depression.  I was taught, although not explicitly, that you "work first then play."  I also learned to always ask myself the question, "Am I working hard enough?" The catch, of course, in this doctrine being that their is always more work that could be (should be?) done. In addition, I am an "overly-socialized" eldest son. I am inclined to, and in fact often relish, the practice of doing too much not doing too little.

I subject you to all this personal self-assessment to help you appreciate the impact of this next bit of news . . . . I am writing this while enjoying the sea-side pleasure of the Bay of Plenty in lovely, Tauranga, New Zealand.  Why is this relevant?  Well, first of all, I can tell you I haven't entirely escaped my conditioning. I am working.  Partially. Partially working that is. Oh, about half the time more or less. I'm here to teach--which I dutifully do each week. But, I am also here to be free from the demands of my average life and work.

I have noticed, maybe you can relate, that since I started this mini-sojourn into balance that many of the niggling "ailments" that are with me daily at home simply "did not make the trip" . . . those small physical maladies, anxious thoughts and worries, the daily irritations of pressing matters that are not getting resolved to my satisfaction or timetable.  It's a nice reminder, once again, that we need rest. Emotionally and physically.

Yes, soon I'll be back home and the toils of life will be resumed. Soon I may have some of those niggling ailments to battle. Still, I have a sneaking suspicion that if I was "forever on holiday" I would somehow, step by step, turn it into the same "daily grind" from which I am currently sensing such relief.

But . . .

But for now, I have the pleasure of a walk on the beach, a nice supper, and good companionship to look forward to.   Tomorrow, it may be a trip to Hobbiton. Or a visit to Wairere Falls.  I can feel my creativity, my curiosity, my joy of life--all the "pleasant humors of my soul" stretching out, loosened from their bounds, and leaping into the vast blue sky.

So, yes, count me in . . . I guess downtime is a good thing.


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