"Don't let making a living prevent you from making a life" -John Wooden
I have been wrestling with the idea of life balance for quite a while. This world is filled with mixed messages. For example, a few years ago I was driving a colleague of mine from San Antonio to Austin to see a former player of his while the Final Four was in San Antonio. On our trip up I-35 we saw three consecutive billboards: a Jack Daniels ad, an ad for a car dealership, and finally an ad from the Texas DPS saying “You drink, you drive, you go to jail!” I thought to myself, this is mixed messages at its best!
We constantly hear that to get ahead in any profession is total dedication to the job, working long hours, constant focus on our personal work, etc… On the other side we hear that the true road to happiness is focusing on family, loving deeply our family and friends, caring for others, etc… Another example of the societal mixed messages we receive.
I spoke recently with Rob Hutton, President of the Central Texas division of D.R. Horton Homes. Rob is constantly seeking new and better ideas and sources to improve his leadership. More importantly, Rob is very giving and willing to share his knowledge with others. Rob and I spoke about how balancing three aspects of your life is extremely important: your faith, your family, and your work. Rob says that to be truly effective leaders we need to understand that there is a greater world than simply what we all do for work. Understand that our employees (or in coach’s cases our players as well) have a greater commitment to God and their families. While work is important, and we want to get the best out of our employees (and players) we should consider all three aspects in balance.
Some things we can do to keep these in balance is to be prepared and organized. An example for coaches is to plan your calendar well in advance. Give your staff and players an opportunity to plan for time off and vacations. Plan and stick to your Christmas break time off. Your players and staff members will appreciate it as will their families. In the summer, plan out your recruiting trips and communicate them to your staff a month in advance to give them ample time to make arrangements. Especially at the D-III level many coaches wear many hats and have additional duties. This creates additional strain on the balancing act. If leaders understand this balancing act, they will be far more effective leaders.
I am not condoning laziness or a lack of commitment by any means. What I am proposing is to take a look at what you got into this business to do. Are you in it simply to win games? Are you in it for personal gains? Or are you in this business to enrich the lives of others? Are you in this business to build character and teach life-long lessons? If you answer yes to the former, you probably don’t care about balance and there is only one goal: your own. If you answer yes to the latter, you probably consider leading a balanced life and assisting your players and staff with leading a balanced life as well.