Experts say as a rule of thumb, if you are working more than 60-65 hours a week, you are working to much and are likely out of balance. You may be able to work more than this for a season, but it’s not sustainable. If you persist in working this much – or more – something will eventually break. Burnout is inevitable.
Ask any coach, scout, executive or organizational leader in baseball, and they will tell you there is a high emphasis and priority on scouting, drafting, recruiting and developing staff, coaches and prospects in order to build a championship team and organization year in and year out. It’s hard and it’s a grind.
In the early years of my professional scouting career, I was determined to succeed. It’s just part of my DNA to compete. Part of what drove me was fear. Coming right off the playing field I didn’t have any experience in scouting, and I was a bit fearful that I would be exposed by older, more seasoned scouts. I’m grateful 25 years later they were good to me.
However, I was also driven by the desire to achieve, to be the best instead of being my best. In those very early years, I was working both a small area territory and crosschecking. I would start my day by 4:00-5:00 am and would often not finish the day until 1 am. I would average between 18-20 hour days during the scouting season, which was 7-days a week for weeks and months.
My wife was a trooper, but with young children, she definitely needed relief. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my work life and my family life were completely out of balance. It simply was not sustainable physically and relationally. I can remember lying in bed at night, my body physically wore from stress and exhaustion – burning the candle at both ends was catching up to me. Solely brought on by foolishness, poor self discipline, poor choices, pride, and the male driven ego to succeed.
As a leader, think of it this way: If you are working more than 60-70 hours a week, (which is very easy to do as a baseball coach, scout, and organizational leader) like it or not, you are out of balance and you are putting at risk at least five of the following very important assets.
Your Health: Early in my career, I thought I could get by eating junk food, minimal sleep, and rarely getting annual physical checkups. However, I learned this way of living will inevitably catch up with you. How many people do you know who have died much to young simply because they burned the candle at both ends and chose not to have better balance in their life. Like the words of KFC Colonel Sanders – “There is no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery.”
Your Family: You can’t afford a divorce. The cost is incalculable, not only financially but emotionally. Just ask those who have gone through one. You also can’t afford to ignore your children. If you don’t invest in them when they are young, you will be forced to spend time with them later – in rehab, in jail, or worse. When you’re home – be home. If at all possible, power down the cell phone and computer. Plan a date night with your spouse. You get one chance to be a husband and father, don’t chase the money, status, and fame at the expense of your family. It’s not worth the cost. s2s leaders don’t just succeed at work, they also win at home. Your closest relationships deserve your best. It starts with not just being there, but really “being there.” – Fully engaged, totally present, and thoroughly interested. The word L.O.V.E. is spelled T.I.M.E.
Your Friends: Sadly, I didn’t really have many close, personal friends and relationships until approx 10-12 years ago. Many acquaintances, but not many true friends or accountability partners. I thought that my baseball colleagues and church acquaintances were enough. Not so much. I have several great friends now that mean the world to me, both in and out of baseball. I give them permission to speak in to my life, keep me balanced and hold me accountable. However, I must continue carving out margin in my life to invest in those relationships. Remember, leadership is about relationships. The best way to strengthen the relationships with friends is to listen to what they have to say.
Your Effectiveness: I truly believe you are most productive when you are rested and in balance. Work is like golf – or any sport. The harder you force it, the less effective you’ll be. You are the most productive when you’re not stressed.
Your Example: As I’ve said many times “A lot more is caught than taught.” The people you are leading and influencing on your team or in your organization will unconsciously mimic you. They can’t help it. As a leader, you set the pace. If you work seventy hours a week, your people will think they must work seventy hours a week. Most of them won’t be able to keep up. And you will be responsible for the consequences. Be wise, be smart, and lead with integrity and character of heart. Lead by example.
Please don’t be mislead. I work very hard, but with balance – and you should as well. However, there is a vast difference between working hard and working smart. If I sense myself getting out of balance adjustments are made quickly. I have built in margins and boundaries in order to have sustainable balance. I encourage you to do the same.
Guard your health. Prioritize your family. Value friendships. Build margins to be effective and lead by example to those you are influencing. If you do, you will be making progress as a leader in balance.
Have a great week!
Are there any other suggestions you can share that could help with living a life in balance?