Our Sunday meal this past weekend at the local Chinese food restaurant ended with the kid’s favorite pastime…the opening of fortune cookies. We each take turns ripping open the plastic wrapper, breaking the sugar-laden treat, and giggling about the words inside.
This week, the small fortune in my cookie represented a long-held principle of mine for finding a successful work-life balance:
Luck is the by-product of busting your fanny.
When it comes to family, I cannot tell you how many times that some one meets our children and the words blurt out: “Wow! Your children are so well-behaved. You are so lucky!”
I don’t want to be a downer, but I totally disagree with those words. First, our children are the same as yours. They scream. They cry. They whine. They hit. They poop, pee and puke…anytime…anywhere! Did I say they scream? Not a day goes by without my wife or me saying, “UGGGGHHHH!”
Second, it’s not luck. We work very hard to be purposeful in our parenting. We want to instill character and integrity in them. We teach them virtues like patience, including workable definitions for even the young ones to understand. We practice “sit time” in the home so they know how to sit still in real life situations. If they say something wrong, we make them say the correct words…over and over again…until they say it correctly. (Translation: “Yes ma’am.”) Even when a child decides to throw trash in the middle of the living room, it is guaranteed that we will make them pick it and throw back down ten times just to teach them a hard lesson.
The same goes for your work life. Most successful businessmen and businesswomen that I know are “bust your fanny” hard workers. Sure, there are a few exceptions who were born with the silver spoon in their mouth, but most entrepreneurs have a strong work ethic. They are willing to go into work early. They are willing to stay late in the evening. They are willing to teach others how to do it right, even when it is sometimes easier to do it themselves. They are willing to walk in a room full of strangers and get over their fears by extending a hand with a warm smile. All of these take hard work.
Now, if you want to have a healthy family life and maintain a successful career, it is going to take a lot more than luck. Even though it will be difficult, when you reach balance, you will find comfort. In what Seth Godin calls the hard parts, “it’s the difficult work that’s worth doing. It’s worth doing because difficult work allows you to stand out, create value and become the one worth choosing.”
Questions: Do you think people are just lucky in success? Other than “hard work” what else contributes to success? Please leave a comment here.
Image: Tom Giebel