All work and no play make Jack a dull boy so says an old adage. I can also add that all play and no work make Jack as poor as a church mouse. It goes without saying that somewhere between these two is what each one of us needs to live a successful life.
At the end one’s life, one wants to congratulate herself/himself for having achieved one’s dreams, goals and vision. Success may mean something different to every person but essentially means doing your best by applying your heart, mind and soul into what you are doing. Success is arguably said to be 99% attitude and 10% aptitude.
The newly graduated, consider yourselves standing with the right foot on second rung and left foot on the first rung of a strong, stable step ladder leaning against a solid wall. The rungs can be adjusted by you to the height you need to reach. You start to build a life and a career for yourself by first identifying where you are now and then determine where you want to go and how to get there. So take time to know and understand this place with absolute clarity.
Difficult as it is, I would still encourage you all from the onset to work towards creating a balance between work and life. Balance depends on the individual and one size does not fit all:what I may call balance may be overwhelming to you. The work-life balance can only be reached if one is flexible to adjust work hours to life’s needs including family and recreation. First you have to define your priorities in life at that moment in time and then arrange your work to accommodate these important life’s demands.You will feel energized at work, feel in control of your life and have more time and freedom to do what is most important to you.
Without creating the balance appropriate for you, you will feel overwhelmed other than energized while at work . Monday will become your worst day of the week while each Friday afternoon you will be among those most grateful and crying out, “ Thank God it’s Friday.’’
Once you have defined what is most important in your life at that moment in time, you strive to focus on them. In today’s world where many demands are made on each one of us, being focused on the most important to you, stops what is considered ‘urgent’ from drowning out what is most important. After all, what you focus on grows. Distractions and interruptions steal your time and energy. The balance you create should work for you: leaving you with time to spend with those you love, to keep healthy and energized, doing things you love.
One has always to remember that some vital things like lost time, lost opportunities and lost integrity are not recoverable and should be treated with the respect they deserve.
Some years back, Bryan Dyson by then the CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises, talked about this Work and Life Balance. As he climbed to the top of the enterprise, he had observed with clarity that at any one time in life, each one of us is juggling five balls in the air. These include work, family, health, friends and spirit. He was of the view that of these five balls only work is the rubber ball. If dropped, it will bounce back unlike the other four glass balls. If any one of the four glass balls is dropped it could be shattered or badly damaged. Family bonds once damaged are incredibly difficult to rebuild.This was Bryan Dyson’s way of emphasizing what is most important in life to each one of us.
Life is essentially about relationships: between you and God, between you and your family and friends and other people.It is family which gives us the roots of stability and security and the wings to fly whenever we want to go.Good relationships protect and sustain us throughout our lives.One common regret at the end of one’s life is :‘I wish I had spent more time with my family.’
Your health is often referred to as your wealth since you have to be healthy to engage in life fully. You should be managing both your health and time as soon as you join the work force. You cannot afford to sacrifice your health- mind, body and spirit to achieve your goals. It always catches up with you and you will regret it for the rest of your life.
As you start on your journey to where you want to go in life, I would advise you never to lose sight of what is most important to you, not to define yourself by what you do- losing the job may be crushing to you. Develop other identities in your personal life-like mother or father, church volunteer, Rotarian, they cushion you against other loses.
As you begin to trust yourself and others, you will learn from them and develop the discipline to transform yourself into whom you want to be. Life’s experiences are the toughest school you will ever have to go through. You learn lesson by lesson and become a better person. The wisest among us learn from other people’s mistakes. You will develop some key habits and routines to keep your life balanced. I am advising you go out there and use what you know to get where you want to be. You will get the courage to make the difficult decisions that have to be made. Life will continue to throw challenges at you. Do not run away from them, instead confront them and grow. Over time, you will become more confident as you make decisions and create solutions to the challenges. As I told you earlier on : your value in society is attached to the solutions you create to the problems around you.
Whenever you see any opportunity to improve yourself, take it and make the most of it. The few of you who are empowered enough to employ themselves straight away; it may be tough going but it will be the most liberating thing you will ever do for yourself. You will have the time and freedom to do what you want to do, when you want to. If you do this with passion, you will enjoy it, you will change the world around you and you will have the unique contribution to make toward making your world better and for those you employ. The moment you lose the passion, you will feel out of control and overwhelmed.
Through the challenges you face, you will learn that things change when you change your attitude and thinking and that money and fame are great bonuses in life. A little comprise is necessary : you do not have to see all that your eyes see or hear all that your ears hear. As long as you never compromise on what is essentially you- values and principles, you will be fine. You will have to learn to be practical and pragmatic and to use Information Technology wisely.
You will also learn that sometimes the only way you can get yourself out of a tight corner is to use your sense of humour. You laugh at yourself and when people laugh at you, you laugh with them. You’ll be surprised to see how a simple smile can change everything.
To all the fresh graduates this is my message to you: Anything remains possible for the ‘dare devils’, the dynamic and strong amongst you.
The Chinese say “Do not fear going forward slowly, fear only to stand still.’’ This is a simple reminder that nothing ever stands still. Do not stand still, move into action. Each small step you take,brings you closer to where you want to be.
One last quote by Brian Tracy: In a time of rapid change, standing still is the most dangerous course of action.’’
Wishing you all the best as you step out into the new and unfamiliar. Almost all the achievers you see around you, started off like you.
Thank you for taking time to read this post and if it helps you to move forward confidently along your journey, kindly let me know by leaving a comment here.