Every day I sit in my office and this photo is there. The picture is of Tim McGovern, Nathaniel Saylor and myself at the top of a mountain where we always hiked and climbed in college. Inside the frame I added a fortune I got from a Chinese restaurant a few years ago that I think fits quite well. It reads “Life always gets harder near the summit”.
I have a pretty good life, but that does not mean that there are not challenges. I work hard to make myself and others around me successful, and that is why I love this photo so much. Not only does it remind me of my friend Tim who died in Iraq 4 years ago… but it is a source of inspiration to keep on striving to be the best. To not let work get in the way of friendship, love or life. That hard work means you are doing something that matters in some way. And that you never know when it all might end.
Tell someone you love them today. Do something that you love today. And remember those who gave it all so we can do these things everyday.
I had the opportunity to sit with Nashville great Mark Montgomery yesterday for a couple of hours and exchange life stories. For as interesting as he is (read: very), what was most interesting was his straight forward approach to getting the info he wanted/needed from the conversation. An interesting example of this, and the reason for this blog post, was because of a very pointed question he asked…
“As an investor, if I was looking at your company to invest in and saw all the things you were involved in outside of that company, that would scare me. How do you get away with all of it, and why?
My answer was simple: “I take my work life as serious as I take my personal life“. At first he looked at me like I was a little full of crap, but then I went on to explain.
Loving What You Do
Most of us have hobbies or things we LOVE to do: gardening, biking, playing music, mentoring, volunteering, mountain climbing… you name it. Because we love these things, and because (for the most part) we don’t get to do them as much as we would like, we can become obsessed with them. We read articles, write reviews, enroll others, buy gadgets and in some cases fundamentally change our lives for these personal life things. That’s pretty serious. I take my job that serious.
I love what I do. I love where I work. I love the people I work with. I take my job as seriously as I take my hobbies. I approach each day like its that one week a year where my friends and I get together to hike into the woods and camp, climb mountains and tell stories by the fire. I love my job. Everything in my life is part of one story. My personal life bleeds into my work life. I believe it should be that way. When you are a well rounded person, you are a better employee, a better friend, a better spouse, a better parent. Don’t believe me? Ask the people I work with. It’s a shame I have to call them “people I work with” because for the most part, these are my greatest friends and people I share most of my personal and professional time with.
Work Life Balance is for Wussies
Some people call what I have explained here “work life balance“. That is such a politically correct way of explaining peoples lives in this world. Why would you not work for a company you believed in? Why would you not love your job? Why would you not work with people you would call family? Work life balance to me says “I know you hate your job, but if you have hobbies and friends that will make it better.” I know I’m making generalizations and stretching the definition, but whatever. I have no work life balance and I love it. There is no line between where work ends and life begins.
About My Imbalance
I am a founder (or founding member) of many companies, some here in Nashville (Anrovia Design, ShirtsBymail, Podcast Alley, Mevio/PodShow, CarlSays, Checkd.In, Jumpstart Foundry, Change:Healthcare, EVBE, etc). This is my work, and my life. No balance. I love my startups, as a matter of fact I love many startups (Im a mentor for Source Your City and NextGxDx, and others too). I also love being outdoors, gardening, cycling, motorcycling, family time, creating things with my hands, and more. My work life balance is so out of whack, but that IS my balance.
I work hard because I play hard.
Work/life balance is for wussies.
I take my work life as serious as my personal life.
Mark, thanks for the time we spent together. To anyone reading this, I would love to talk to you more about this topic and help you find a way to work as hard as you play. Most importantly, don’t let people tell you about you. You decide who you are, what you love, and what you do… not others. Don’t be afraid to go balls out.