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Aspiration & the Reality

If there is 1 question that gets a guaranteed ‘eyebrow raise’ on from our Event Show podcast guests, it is the old “how do you manage the work / life balance in the world of events?” question.

What to do in 2019?

I suspect your dreaming big for 2019, and so you should. You deserve to succeed, and never before has there been so much opportunity in our world.

But… let’s make sure we set our aspirations alongside some reality. Sorry to be Mr. Pragmatic!

Life is full of trade off’s

I’m sure your seeing plenty of advice on how to smash it in 2019, ‘new year, new you’ etc. And I play that game too. It’s the right game to play. However, we do need to remember life is (arguably) a ‘Finite Game’. Each year has a limited amount of time. Each day and each week only gives us so much. And along with time, we only have a limited amount of energy to burn.

so… that elusive ‘Work : Life Balance’??

The best advice that I have seen recently is from James Clear, and his reference of the ‘Four Burners Theory’. The concept is to imagine that your life is represented by a stove with four burners on it. Each burner symbolizes one major quadrant of your life.

  1. The first burner represents your family.

  2. The second burner is your friends.

  3. The third is your health.

  4. The fourth is your work.

The Four Burners Theory says that “in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful, you have to cut off two.*”

I think we have all experienced this ‘Four Burners Theory’ in life. It’s hard to get it all right all of the time. Even our high achievers, the aspirational role models, entrepreneurs and elite athletes will (mostly) admit, the very self focused lives they must lead to have the success they’ve had. They also say (and I know!) working mums are the most optimised, efficient and effective people on the planet, but even they will tell you if you burn all 4 burners it results in burn out.

And so James provides some potential life hacks, and we know there are plenty out there. ‘Work smarter not harder’, outsource parts of your life. And/or fire up the burners as you need them across the seasons of life (which is a highly relevant one to think through for event people).

It is up to you!

But I think the main solution as of today is to make a choice. Decide what is important to you right now, and do those things as well as you can. If you want to go ‘just OK’ in all 4, that’s OK. But if you want to really turn up in 2019, I’d suggest we need to pick 2. If it turns out you have gas left for the other burners, prove us wrong and break the rule, but I’d start with 2.

For me, if your interested, this year is about Work and Family. Having just started this new business I need to focus on helping people like you this year. And with an awesome young family, that one is a non-negotiable. To be honest, I do find holding back in the other areas tricky, and won’t neglect my Fitness (or Friends), but Work and Family first is the game I’m playing in 2019.

I hope this helps you finesse your gameplan. Let’s be aspirational, and realistic!

Thanks for taking in these thoughts. If you do find them helpful, I’d be grateful if you can also share them with someone who would find them useful.

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