“The Good Life: a philosophical term for the life that one would like to live, originally associated with Aristotle.
How do get there? If you missed me last week, it is because I was on vacation and it, my friends, was wonderful. My kids are still kids, and I took a moment from my crazy life and enjoyed them. Yes, I checked in once a day, but I trusted my people to handle situations and call me if anything got out of hand.
We get so stuck in the fact that we matter more than we do that we allow ourselves to fill up with unimportant stuff. No one has ever lain on his or her deathbed wishing they had worked more; their regrets are usually about family and “living.”
Yes, we have to work because to live this so-called “good life,” we need to be able to afford it. This brings me to my next word, “balance.” We must learn balance to lead the life we want. One must learn to mix hard work with family, love, and laughter.
It is not easy but can be obtained.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is, what do you want out of life? In the great words of Lewis Carroll, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there.” Is your goal to be rich? How rich is rich? Is your goal to own a fancy car? Maybe it is just to be comfortable and not to have to worry as long as there is food on the table and a roof over your head. Or are you a forward thinker (I wish I were) that knows how much money you’ll need in retirement and for you, maybe the goal is to retire at 50. You need to know what you desire out life first and foremost.
Now figure out the path to the goal. Step one is to prioritize, and this is not always an easy step. For me, my priority is not missing my kids’ younger years while simultaneously keeping and creating (juggling really) a successful integration company. I make time to help them with their homework, get them off the bus, and be a part of their lives. Is this easy to balance this while owning a company? Absolutely not. Every day I have to measure where I’m willing to make a sacrifice—where I’m willing to “rob Peter to pay Paul.” Prioritizing along with staying focused has allowed me to get this far and will hopefully allow me to continue to “do it all.”
If what I wanted out of life was just to make more money, my priority and focus and even my actions would be different. Don’t get me wrong, making money, keeping great people employed, running a successful company are all priorities, but they’re just a slight step lower at this point in my life. The answer to, “How do I get there” is balance and sacrifice. There are only 24 hours in the day no matter how you slice them. To get what you want out of life, you’re going to have to find the balance between work and life (not just work; we all know work can be even more demanding that a tired toddler).
Go on vacation. The rest can wait.
Life is a hard gig; a vicious cycle. To make more money, we have to work twice as hard. But, please don’t lose sight of what is important. Don’t look back and wish that you did it differently. Instead, look ahead and carve your own route.
Heather L. Sidorowicz is the president of Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY.