Anhedonia (n): The inability to experience joy from activities usually found enjoyable.
That’s what Tim McCarthy felt after being handed a $45-million check for selling his marketing company. With more money in his bank account than most of us could dream of, McCarthy walked away feeling unfulfilled and empty. It may sound surprising to those of us still chasing wildly after that kind of success – but is it really surprising?
We’re all familiar with the 2010 Princeton study which found that life satisfaction rises with income, but that everyday happiness changes little once a person reaches $75,000 a year. What does this all mean?
Financial success isn’t all it’s cut out to be.
Well, sure, that’s pretty obvious. Most wouldn’t question that financial success void of everything else important in life is meaningless. But how can we find the balance? Where should our priorities and loyalties fall?
There’s no easy answer to those questions. The only thing for certain is this:
We can’t afford to put our work-life balance on hold a second longer.
We get this one life. Humans require a balance of many key elements in order to be mentally and emotionally fulfilled: love, family, hobbies, financial security, involvement in something bigger than ourselves, etc.
We can’t stop time and we can’t go backwards. If we ignore our relationships now, we won’t have them when we get to the top – and success is quite lonely and unfulfilling when you compromise your way there.
For a practical way to live a balanced and successful life, it’s critical to compartmentalize, prioritize, and plan. Let’s break down exactly how to do that.
“Schedule priorities instead of prioritizing our schedule” 1
You must be willing to make certain parts of your personal life non-negotiable. You must choose your priorities. Your life and happiness will become a reflection of those choices – so choose carefully.
What relationships mean the most to you? What actions are you taking daily, weekly, and monthly to nurture those relationships? Each time you compromise time with your loved ones and hobbies, you’re giving away little pieces of yourself – and for what? Remember – success on its own is meaningless. Ride the wave to the top with your family, friends, and values securely by your side every step of the way.
Prioritize your most important relationships and the key things you do to nurture those relationships above all else. Obviously, there will be times when things get shuffled and rescheduling is unavoidable. Do everything in your power to minimize those occurrences. Your happiness – and success – depend on it.
Passion is more important than profit
If you’re reading this article, you are obviously a go-getter who values balance and success. As long as you continue to put in the work and take opportunities that come your way, the door to financial reward will present itself – I guarantee it. But if stepping through that door suffocates your passion right out of you, it isn’t worth it.
Your passion, skill, and drive are what make you unique and highly valuable. Sacrificing passion may lead to a short-term increase in profit, but it will also cause a long-term decrease in value.
Be willing to say no to passion-killing opportunities, no matter how high the profit may be. Be willing to compromise on profit before you’re willing to compromise on passion.
Set boundaries and say no
Establishing focus is a process of subtraction more than anything else. The more you say no, the less you have left to say yes to. Minimize distractions that are not directly in line with your priorities and goals.
When you’re at work, avoid social media and checking the news. When you’re with family, turn off your phone and put the laptop away.
If you’re serious about creating a work-life balance and the happiness that comes with it, you have to be willing to say “no”. This means leaving emails unopened, projects incomplete, and calls unreturned at the end of the day.
Saying “no” on the job can be scary – but that’s not reason enough to say “yes”. Don’t give your professional responsibilities more control over your personal lives than they have a right to. The only way your relationships, families, health, and values come first is if you consciously put them there. You have to be willing to say “No, not tonight, I’m spending time with my family.”
Always give back
I’d be willing to bet money that one of your initial motivations as you started on your journey to success was to add value to the world and to others. As you went through the grind and progressed down the path to success, more people and to-do lists demanded your time. All of a sudden you’re too busy – for anyone. Let alone to take time to do service and give back.
If you want to have a happy work-life balance, add “giving back” back into your priority list. Giving back and helping others is not only a central facet of happiness and balance, it often leads to financial success in surprising ways you wouldn’t have even considered.
Mentor someone if you get the chance. Give free advice. Send an encouraging email. Compliment a stranger on the street. Buy groceries for the person behind you. Take time each day to do something good entirely for someone else and you’ll be amazed how much your life improves.
Be willing to sacrifice professional success for life health
It is not uncommon for me to work with people every day who are living in the wreckage of their personal lives. They compromised too much in their quest for success and now find themselves wildly unhappy. Don’t let this happen to you.
I know what the business world is like. I know that it’s competitive and demanding and stressful. I know that prioritizing a work-life balance over success will have a monetary cost – but I also know that the gain in happiness, love, and health in comparison is truly invaluable.
Someone scrambling on your tails may be willing to sacrifice their family and compromise their values to get that client or promotion you were eyeing.
It may take you longer to get where you want to be, but this is an unavoidable reality for those who choose happiness and work-life balance over unfulfilling financial success void of meaningful relationships.
You are 100% responsible for your own happiness.
Set your priorities straight and compromise where it counts to preserve the things that matter most. When you do this, you truly can have it all – wealth, health, and happiness.
If you’re struggling to experience the kind of success you want in your life – whether it be increasing revenue, growing your client base, losing weight, or hitting some other big life goal – you shouldn’t go at it alone. Studies show that those who have a mentor to guide them through difficult obstacles, provide direction, and hold them accountable are two to three times as likely to be successful. When I first hired a mentor, I was able to double my income in three months with his guidance. Now, 15 years later, I’ve helped dozens of individuals just like you hit their big goals in 20 weeks or less. I’d love to chat with you and hear about your big goal, what obstacles you face, and where you want to be 20 weeks from no. No commitment or pressure, let’s just chat and I’ll offer some words of advice. Call/text me today on my personally line – seriously! Jonathan @ 801.602.9101