When it comes to urban legends, I suppose you can’t beat Bigfoot and Nessie, but there’s a new one that’s on the verge of becoming the greatest of all time.
Like all good myths, this one sounds like it could be true. After all, didn’t our parents have more balance than we do? They certainly didn’t have the technology and 24-hour connection to the office. Heck, they thought call waiting was cool. (Ah, call waiting. It’s a slippery slope, isn’t it?)
Self-proclaimed gurus attract thousands of attendees to their very expensive workshops, promising to help them attain that mystical state known as work/life balance. These are the same people who tell you that if you want more business, you must first tell the universe about it.
Call me crazy, but when I want more business, I first tell my prospects about it.
Yes, work/life balance is a myth. It’s not even biblical. Ecclesiastes doesn’t say, “a time to do it all at once, in perfect proportion and balance.” No, it says, “To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn...”
Or something like that.
The point is that it’s not just a harmless myth; it’s a lie. And listen to me, salespeople, it’s killing our families and our businesses.
Have you noticed that as we try to do it all, we end up doing it all wrong? There’s nothing worse than missing your kid’s ballgame and your quota. But we do it every day. And the guilt and stress have had a good run, but, just like “Jersey Shore,” it’s time for it to end.
So my advice is to stop talking about balance and start talking about seasons.
I live outside Nashville, Tenn., where we’re surrounded by farms.It dawned on me the other day that you would never ask a farmer to go to Disney World on spring break because he only has a limited window to plant.
The more I thought about my neighbors, the more I realized the application to you and me. The farmer is so productive in the spring because he has to be. It’s his top priority. His family doesn’t get upset about the long hours because they understand it’s spring. They know if they don’t plant in the spring, they don’t eat in the fall. They also know there will be time to play after the work is done.
Since you and I don’t work in a field, we need to create an artificial spring. Maybe your spring is one month each quarter. Maybe it’s the first week of each month. During that time, prospecting and generating sales is your top priority.
Remember, though, that spring is only one season. It doesn’t last all year. When you have success, the temptation is to extend your springtime activity. But that only puts you right back where you started, and the stress saps your productivity.
Talk about value-added service. I just saved you thousands of dollars and a weekend of your life trying to find your balance. Forget the balance and turn, turn, turn…