21 Dec On the Importance of Real Relationships and How Passionate Work Can Kill Balance
“If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?”
Sometime last night our community here at Live Your Legend tipped over 10,000 subscribers. This has always been a dream but I knew better than to set it as a specific goal since I had very little control over it.
You all are the ones with the control. You’re why this site exists. You’re why I’m able to spend as much time as I do writing and building things for the community. You’re why I get to do work I truly LOVE.
Thank you for that.
This somewhat arbitrary milestone also got me thinking…
Anyone who’s been around this world for more than a decade or two has probably realized one very real and powerful fact.
Relationships rule the world.
Think back for a second to one or two of your most proud accomplishments. Think about where you were and what was going on. Really feel what you felt. Do you remember who was there?
Now think of your most recent accomplishment – big or small. Anything you’re super proud of will do.
What was the first urge you had immediately after the accomplishment?
If you’re anything like the rest of the world, it was to tell someone. Maybe you called your husband or wife, grabbed your business partner or called a close friend. If all else failed, perhaps you grabbed someone on the street.
Whoever it was, one thing doesn’t change. When we accomplish things or have meaningful experiences, our natural reaction is to share it with others. Because when we share it, it takes the experience to a whole new level.
Why is it fun to go to a party, have a workout partner or build a family?
Because relationships make life what it is. Most everything we look forward to has a great deal to do with the people we are going to experience it with. Whether it’s a wedding and the family, friends and person you are about to marry, or if it’s a solo trip around the world and the uncertainty of all the amazing people you are likely to meet along the adventure.
Everything is fun because of people.
It all comes back to relationships.
Especially ones closest to you.
Unfortunately the ones closest to us are the ones we tend to take for granted the most. Ever notice how you can easily be in a nasty mood around your spouse but as soon as you’re around strangers, friends or acquaintances, everything is peaches and cream?
What’s with that? Shouldn’t it be the other way around – Offer your best to those who mean the most to you?
This is probably the most dangerous part of doing work you love.
Loving your work can kill the balance.
I love the work I do. Many of the people in this community feel the same (or are well on their way). That’s something I’m grateful for every day.
Not being able to distinguish between work and play is a pretty awesome thing. And it’s wildly powerful. It allows you to accomplish much bigger and more meaningful things than if you spent most your day slamming your forehead against your computer.
But it also can cause you to lose site of what really matters.
Just because you love your work to the point where you could do it 24/7 does not mean that’s how you should be spending your time. Because one thing’s for sure, just because you love what you do, does not mean that those close to you love you doing what you love every second of every day. It’s easy to miss this when caught deep in the world of creativity.
We need people to remind us of the important.
My wife Chelsea plays this role perfectly. And I’m grateful for that.
As you all probably know, the last few months have been pretty wild with Live Your Legend. First we launched the new brand and site. Then a few months later we launched Live Off Your Passion. This was amazing and a dream come true in many ways but it totally killed my balance. There were two three-week spans in the last six months where I was absolutely all hands on deck. I was driven by excitement but I was still up until midnight and up again at 4 or 5am many days of the week. Might be good for the business (at least in the short term) but not good for my relationships…
I got so caught up in the work I loved doing that I had stopped acting congruent with a fundamental belief that I have.
That belief is that none of this would matter – not the business, the freedom, the followers – if it wasn’t for those close to me.
The only reason all of this is so amazing (and even exists in the first place) is because of my wife Chelsea. Her support. Her being who she is (in fact she she’s the one who encouraged me to start my first blog back in 2006). And for my family and those close to me who keep me smiling, encourage me and are there even when I probably don’t deserve it. They don’t care what I do or don’t accomplish. They’re there no matter what.
They are where everything started. And they are where it all will end.
Without the people close to me nothing else matters.
Everyone reading this is in one of two places: You either love your work or are going to love your work real soon. That’s going to change the world and we desperately need it.
But either way, you will no doubt face this problem. Yes, it’s a high-class problem to have, but also one with serious repercussions if not taken to heart.
Love your work. Get lost in it. Make it a part of who you are.
But don’t let yourself forget why what you do matters in the first place.
The people close to you come first. No matter how big the dreams you’re living or the accomplishments your achieving.
The people close to you come first.
Sure, there will be plenty more 2-3 weeks stretches where I’m about to launch something new and all hands are on deck. But for every one of those stretches, I promise to have plenty more days out on an adventure or laying on the couch with Chelsea getting lost in our favorite game or watching way too many episodes of Friday Night Lights (or whatever show we happen to be obsessed with at the time). And there will be plenty more weeks and months of exploring new parts of the world on top of that.
Because it’s those experiences that make things fun. They’re what matter.
It’s easy to forget. And all of us will from time to time (I know I’ll be guilty of it again). So let this be a reminder. And be thankful of the people close to you who care enough to get angry or hurt when you temporarily lose your way.
We need that wakeup call more than anything.
So what relationships have you let slip? Who deserves more attention? Who do you want to give more attention but have recently convinced yourself you “don’t have the time”? Who do you want to connect with for the first time?
Jot down a list of names and it’s time to play a little catch-up.
I’ve put together a few ideas to help get things back on track…
“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” -Swedish Proverb
9 First Steps to Strengthening, Repairing or Beginning a Meaningful Relationship:
1. Invite someone to dinner. Given that we’re deep in the holidays, ask them to dinner with your family. Do you have a family member or friend who’s usually alone for the holidays? Change that. Bring them back in or expose them to something new.
2. Write a note. Go down the street and pick up a few more holiday cards. Be genuine and speak directly to the person you’re writing to as you compose the message. Express some emotion. It feels pretty good.
3. Say sorry. Have you been stubborn lately? If you say no, then it’s time to get honest. We’re all pigheaded here and there, and often for the most ridiculous things. Get over it. It’s ok to be wrong. And even more noble to admit it.
4. Give something meaningful. Think of a book you know someone could benefit from in their given situation. Personalize it with an inscription on the first page. The cost doesn’t matter. What does is that you give it clear thought and it’s a genuine fit for the recipient. Even better, take something of yours that’s really helped you and give it to someone else. Books and music are perfect for this. Declutter your house a bit and transfer value to the next person. Let them know how helpful the item was for you.
5. Make an introduction. This is the cheapest and most powerful gift you could likely give. Everyone knows someone who can help someone else. We just often don’t take the time to think about it. Who do you know who would get massive benefit from meeting someone else in your circle? This is also a much more comfortable way of reaching out to someone you’ve lost touch with. If you’re too shy to confront the situation head on, you could just send a short note about how you met a person they’d really enjoy meeting. Go from there.
6. Be there. If you know someone’s dealing with something tough or is lonely, just swing by and offer to be there. Don’t make them talk through it if they don’t want to. Just being there and offering company can be enough to make all the difference.
7. Tell people you care. This is one of the most under-practiced acts between people. Stop taking for granted that your family, your husband, your wife, your business partner, you child or your closest friends know how much they mean to you. Tell them straight up. Let them know that without their relationship, you’d be in a very tough spot. Tell them specifically all the things they’ve provided you over the years. This is the last thing to assume those close to you already know. Open up a bit.
8. Spend time. Who are you not as close with as you’d like to be? Who have you lost touch with who you wish you hadn’t? Who are the people who’ve fallen by the wayside lately? They could be people you haven’t spoken to in months or years, or it could be your husband, wife or children whom you know deserve more of your time. You pick. Make a phone call. Take a day off to stay home with everyone. Take someone out to a meal. Anything to make the connection closer than it was.
9. Help someone. This is were it all beings and ends. Every one of the above involves helping in some way. Everyone has pains, needs and goals. Help people bridge the gap. Ask them or ask someone close to them where they could most use a hand. Do something you know will matter to those close to you or those you wish were closer. You can make a bigger difference than you realize.
“Someone to tell it to is one of the fundamental needs of human beings.”
Broken relationships exist because one or both people cannot swallow their pride.
What would happen if you decided to be the bigger person?
What if you decided that whatever happened isn’t going to come between something so important.
How much happier would the two of you be?
That’s totally in our control.
It’s in your control.
In the next two weeks a lot of us are going to spend a lot of time around friends and family. Some we’re excited to see. Some we’re not so excited about. Realize that the people you are about to spend time around are the people who make life what it is. They’re what make accomplishments memorable. They’re what make life interesting (and fun). And they are what make you who you are.
Your work is not more important.
I don’t care how much you love it.
Cherish the people close to you – today, this week, forever.
Because without them, nothing else really matters.
Happy Holidays and thank you for being such a big part of this community!
Images thanks to thebadastronomer & flickrohit
Deacon BradleyPosted at 14:00h, 21 December
Glad to hear I’m not the only one who struggles with this Scott. I heard Jon Acuff (stuffchristianslike.com) at a conference talking about something similar that hit close to home.
They were relocating from their home in Atlanta to Nashville and he was talking about people he’d miss with his wife. She had a loooong list of close friends – he had almost no one. He’d been so heads down for years making sure his blog succeeded and that community wasn’t being starved that he forgot to nurture other relationships.
I can definitely see myself headed down this path so I appreciate the reminder and tips to help ensure I don’t go too far!
ScottPosted at 11:02h, 23 December
All that matters is you are able to step back and notice it Deacon. Then you can start doing something about it. The fact that you’ve already called yourself out means that it’s much less likely to happen to you. Congrats.
Morgan NewmanPosted at 14:02h, 21 December
Amazing article Scott! Thanks for the reminder. I LOVE what I do and find myself getting lost in my work more often than not. And I’m lucky enough to have amazing people in my life to bring me back when I’ve lost my balance. I’m going to make sure to thank them for that today!
Happy holidays to you and your family!
ScottPosted at 11:04h, 23 December
It’s so amazing that you are still doing what we loved doing when we were like 10. And you’re crushing it. I love it! I’m seriously so happy for you.
Happy holidays to you too!
WillPosted at 15:33h, 21 December
Great post Scott. I can really relate to this and will bookmark it for future reference. When you dont see work as work, it’s so easy to get consumed by it.
ScottPosted at 11:05h, 23 December
The ultimate double-edged sword. But I’d love to deal with that problem over many others any day of the week!
AnnePosted at 15:46h, 21 December
Excellent as always, Scott.
The video trailer is exciting (love the music) and inspiring. The images are well-chosen to excite hope and creativity in the viewer. If I could change one thing about it, it might be to include images of more diverse people to make it a bit more inclusive-feeling. Otherwise, wonderful!
ScottPosted at 11:33h, 23 December
Thanks for giving it a watch Anne! I think you’re right about including more people. I would have liked to do that. To be honest, it was a last day creation before the launch, so I didn’t have quite as much time as I thought I would. I might rework it at some point though. Thanks for the thoughts!
HaleyPosted at 16:45h, 21 December
Awesome article! It’s so true, we take our loved ones for granted and treat them worse than we do strangers at times.
Thanks for the reminder!
ScottPosted at 11:34h, 23 December
Yeah why is that?? It’s so odd. Good to at least recognize it so we can do something about it.
PaulPosted at 16:54h, 21 December
Hi this is one of the best articles I have read especially important for this time of year.
I totally and utterly agree that we can all lose connection and take for granted the people who mean the most in our lives.
I have experienced times where my head became too involved on the work I loved doing. I am pursuing and living my 5 top passions which is a great success, however, that success can very easily change if I lose connection to my loved ones.
I do not want to allow that to happen and determined to keep connected, loving and supportive which will certainly aid my journey. I have learn’t so much about what it is like to live on your own terms and endeavour to continue with power. Only will my understanding, commitment and dedication to my lovely partner, family and friends will my dreams become true. At the end of the day it does not matter what you have achieved because if you have no one to share it with as a result it will not have any value.
Happy christmas everyone ; )
ScottPosted at 11:46h, 23 December
It’s an amazing realization isn’t it Paul? All these huge goals and dreams don’t matter even a bit without the right person to share it with. They are what make it all great and worthwhile in the first place. We can’t ever forget that. If we do for too long, the wake up call will be brutal…for everyone. Congrats on doing what matters to you my man!
JoePosted at 17:26h, 21 December
Awesome post, Scott. Paul, I agree with you that this is my favorite time of year because it means catching up and often sharing a meal or drinks with our close family and friends.
My wife and I are both doing double-duty right now – 10 hour days at our 9-5 jobs and our side businesses at nights and on the weekends. Sometimes things get a little tense when we feel that we have no free time to spend with each other, but the good thing is that we constantly communicate and put each other in perspective. It’s certainly a delicate balance and an art, of sorts. It’s all worth it in the end and it definitely makes you appreciate those relaxing moments more.
ScottPosted at 11:48h, 23 December
Wow, sounds like you have a lot on your plate Joe! I think it’s helpful in a way to have your wife or significant other in a similar place so you both have things you’re focused on and you both can remind each other how important it is to make the time.
Duncan FawkesPosted at 18:34h, 21 December
Never a truer word (or words) said. I can’t profess to doing work I love (well, not for a living!) but I’m consumed, self-obsessed and at times pretty miserable with trying to get there. I take my family for granted, and there’s really no bigger sin. It’s bad that it took this post to do it, but it’s inspired me to write a note to my wife telling her how much she means to me. She’s currently in Australia while I’m in Malaysia but I’m flying over tonight and I can’t wait to see her again and tell her in person. And then I’ll spend a good quality, stress-free Christmas with my little family!
Congratulations on a successful year Scott, and I hope you and the Dinsmore family have a very Happy Christmas!
ScottPosted at 11:51h, 23 December
Thank you Duncan. I can literally feel the emotion you must be feeling as you fly over to see your wife. I was long distance with my girlfriend (now wife) for 5 months while I lived in Sevilla, Spain and that flight home had me feeling the most wild and amazing emotions in the world!
Btw, something tells me it won’t be long before more of the world sees those awesome photos you’ve been taking and that becomes more of a career (if you want it to be). Here’s to big things and remembering what and who really matter!
Geoff HetheringtonPosted at 21:26h, 21 December
Scott – a heartfelt, relevant & moving post – sort of what we’ve al come to expect of you.
I have re-tweeted this because it resonats so strongly with me and I’m sure with many others.
ScottPosted at 11:54h, 23 December
Thanks for spreading the love Geoff and for your thoughts. It was a little more difficult post to write as it dug in a bit more personally but I feel it’s something so many of us passionate entrepreneurs face and I’ve been wanting to address it for a while. Everyone’s comments help a lot in getting this message across.
Rose ByrdPosted at 22:30h, 21 December
Scott, you are way too cute to have such profound wisdom behind that “reach around the world” grin of yours! So pleased at your recent awards and recognition and the wonderful growth in membership. I really love the interlinked sky divers (I had done some of that) and the Swedish proverb. May showers of very rich blessings fall on you and yours this holiday season and throughout the coming year!
ScottPosted at 12:00h, 23 December
This means more than you realize Rose. Thanks so much for your thoughts and for being a part of this. As for the skydivers, I look forward to being a part of a picture like that one day 😉
Happy holidays to you as well. I have a feeling there are very big things to come for all of us in 2012!
Paige Burkes | simple mindfulnessPosted at 01:08h, 22 December
I sometimes get lost in my job and my passion business. I’ve learned to read the signs sooner from my husband and small children that I’m getting too absorbed in my work and neglecting them. It doesn’t take much to reconnect and get back on track. The time I make for them and the focus I give them are sooooo worth it for all of us.
Thanks for the reminder and congrats on your subscribers! 10K seems to be the point at which you can really say you’ve “made it.” That’s awesome! May it double in 2012!
ScottPosted at 12:02h, 23 December
Ha ha. If anything makes me fell like I’ve ‘made it’, it’s all of you! The best part is I know we are all just getting started!
Jonathan Fields does an excellent job in his new book Uncertainty, talking about the importance of having people close to you giving you periodic reality checks when you get too buried in your work (Whether you love it or not). Very worth checking out.
ChadPosted at 02:06h, 22 December
A lesson I almost learned too late.
Balance is often difficult to achieve, but it’s absolutely essential in any area of life. Balancing the work you love with the people you love, yes, but also balancing learning with application, forming new relationships with cultivating old ones, and giving to others with receiving, to name a few.
This post is a life-changer for me. Thanks Scott.
ScottPosted at 12:04h, 23 December
You said it perfectly Chad! I love the way you relate balance to all the core parts of life. I may use that in an upcoming post. Well put!
Brett PiercePosted at 08:52h, 22 December
Thanks for this inspiring post Scott. This is a great reminder for all of us because when our life balance gets shifted around, sometimes it’s not always easy to bring it back into harmony. You’ve offered some really great advice here and around this time of year this is a timely message for all of us to absorb. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season and I’m looking forward to big things, from you and me, in 2012! Keep up the great work my friend!
ScottPosted at 12:05h, 23 December
The holidays make for the perfect time to revisit the topic and give it the respect it deserves. Show the people who matter, that they really do matter more than anything else.
To big things in 2012 indeed!
Ben JulianPosted at 20:43h, 22 December
I enjoyed this post as well.
One sentence really stuck out at me however as a limiting belief:
“You either love your work or are going to love your work real soon. That’s going to change the world and we desperately need it. But either way, you will no doubt face this problem. Yes, it’s a high-class problem to have, . . .”
Why is this specifically a high-class problem? Shouldn’t every human being seek joy, love, and fulfillment in their work? Maybe progress starts in this world from “the bottom up”.
Actually now that I think about it, maybe high-class people create this problem in their heads so much more than the lower class because they put the priority of their status above genuine relationships in the first place.
ScottPosted at 12:10h, 23 December
Great comment Ben. Im glad you mentioned it because my words clearly need clarifying. By high-class problem I simply meant “a great problem for anyone to have”. I too believe that any and everyone should strive to do passionate work they love. It’s possible if we work at it. That’s exactly why this site exists. To allow all of us to live our own legends.
So to be clear, doing work you love is for EVERYONE. Having to deal with the balance issue is a potential ‘problem’ that comes with the territory but it’s a great (i.e. high-class) problem to have because it means you truly love what you’re doing. And as long as we recognize that the balance can be a challenge, we can be sure to address it and spend the time with the people who really matter and be sure to put them first. Excellent clarification Ben!
Noch NochPosted at 19:22h, 26 December
i think many of my friends need to read this article… esp when they say, “sorry can’t come to XX’s wedding because of business trips” – really what’s more important
my relationship with my fiance is the one that kept me alive this year. no matter what, family will be there for you
Scott DinsmorePosted at 10:28h, 27 December
Could not agree more Noch! Please share it with those who could use it. Thanks!
craig @cdsternPosted at 01:00h, 27 December
re: Be there.
I had a friend that was having a tough time after breaking up with his girl. One Sunday, I brought some food over and we BBQ’d. I was there to listen and support. The best feeling was showing him I’m more than a business guy and that I had no purpose other than reminding him that he is awesome. He is now one of my best friends.
Scott DinsmorePosted at 10:29h, 27 December
Amazing to hear. Just being there can be priceless for people. Nicely done.
KenWert@MeanttobeHappyPosted at 01:45h, 27 December
This was not only a great and inspiring read, it is a must-read, Scott.
So many of us can so easily forget that people are the heart and soul of living. We can get so transfixed on things — acquiring them, using them, polishing the,– that we can forget what’s most important.
Thanks for the reminder and wake-up call. Balance is what it’s all about. Without balance, important parts of our lives can get relegated to the back of the closet, lost under the debris. Not a good way to live in the long run.
Scott DinsmorePosted at 10:30h, 27 December
Balance – such a simple concept but one we spend out whole lives dealing with. It deserve constant attention. Glad you liked this one Ken!
stevePosted at 10:40h, 28 December
Great article and congrats on the 10,000 subscribers. I know I am one of those happy subscribers. I wrote an article on balance in which I argue that a perfectly balnaced life is an impossible goal and true balance means we are stagnet. Think of a scale that’s perfectly balanced…it’s still. You can’t have a passionate life unless you are willing to tip those scales from time to time. This article is a good reminder that when our scales do lean too much to one side, it’s time to adjust a little. Our relationships are the perfect mirror to show us when we may be too far out of balance. Scott, great reminders in your article. What a good life lesson you shared with us. Thanks and congrats again…you deserve it.
jack foleyPosted at 06:52h, 02 January
Yea relationships is something that a lot of people dont appreciate or try to develop..
givers get and it’s usually the people that give most are the people that get most…
As you say scott, when it’s your mission to help people, things happen…
Regina BentonPosted at 08:45h, 07 January
Scott, It was a heavy Saturday morning that is until by accident I ran across your website. I have struggled sooooooo long trying to figure out how I can provide my passion to others (something we all have too deal with in life). As the saying goes, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear” I thank YOU ever so much for being here this morning. I will be downloading your material! I haven’t read all that is on your website however, intuitively I know it’s what so many of us have needed for a long long time. What you are providing at no cost others charge a forture that many of us can’t afford. Sharing one’s passion is life’s greatest gift to others, providing mutual rewards. I will share your passion with others. My heart felt THANKS.
prernaPosted at 22:53h, 07 December
i am so inspired reading this article but m not sure of what i love and what must i love .. !! but i really really thank you for making me think about my love .. thank you !!
brandPosted at 23:06h, 22 December