What’s Your Balance?

I don’t mean your physical balance – although that is important but what I am asking about today is your “credit” in the accounts of “worthy organizations”… such as your volunteer activities… your kids school… your place of worship… what I find (more so at the holidays) is that for many of you – you make great deposits and have a lot of credit with good organizations and although that is a worthy endeavor I just want to make sure that those you need you the most are not short changed.

Suzanne Bates wrote in a recent column that – If you already have credit “in the bank” with volunteer events and community organizations, you don’t need to keep making deposits.

I completely agree and I’ll take it one step further…instead of making deposits in things and organizations that will forget you over time – would you consider with me at this season of Thanksgiving that you making deposits in the lives of those you claim to love and are responsible for.

Yikes, today is going to be a tough love lesson…but don’t worry if you get it right, you’ll find more lasting joy and make memories for a lifetime… it all depends on where you choose to make your deposits.

Quick note – I am not denigrating good community organizations – I fully understand that volunteers are needed and appreciated but my message today is that we all re-consider the deposits we make.

If you were to be completely honest with yourself you’d have to admit that you get a great deal more personal joy and a sense of satisfaction when others compliment you and cheer you on… than if you do what you’re expected to do for your family… rarely does family say “thank you” and “job well done” and “we’re proud of you”.

And although family is supposed to be grateful the saying is true that familiarity breeds contempt and family usually doesn’t give you high fives and back slaps… why? Three reasons

  1. They think it is your job to do what you do (bring home the bacon – fry it up in the pan)
  2. They’ve gotten lazy
  3. You’ve stopped saying thank you and job well done and we’re proud of you …and since you don’t say it – they have little to no guidance on how to say the words or praise or how to do the right thing.

So now we have a dilemma ~

I get it because I see it a lot in the speaking business – when you’re on the road the speaker is important, well-loved and sort of famous – people stand in line to shake our hand, buy our book, have a photo taken…

But then we come home – and all they want is for us to take out the trash or pick up the kids or change the oil in the car… not so exciting with the family.

So how do we re-organize for balance? That’s a great question as we start into the most stressful time of the year.

Yes, you heard me… so much for good will to men – these next 32 days can be the most exhausting – lonely – and financially snug and stress filled time of the year…if you’re not careful

But it doesn’t have to be that way… Friend let me give you permission to slow down, sit quietly, and don’t spend money you don’t have…and goes for the organizations that will take all you’re willing to give – mentally, emotionally and physically.

I don’t blame charity organizations for asking you to do more – I do appeal to you to consider the credit you have racked up “in the bank” with all your volunteer events and community organizations, and since you’ve given so much this year – you don’t need to keep making deposits.

Your family and friends need you now more than ever.

I know community groups will not be happy with me today but I also know that others who are not listening to my show can fill in the gap you leave… remember that power is a vacuum and if you step aside someone else – who has little to no credit with volunteer events and community organizations can and will fill in the space and good for them – it’s their turn to be giving back.

But not you… No, you’ve done enough – really you have… so now as your winding down for the holiday season and as you plan the new year it’s time to take a zero-based approach to accepting events and volunteer activities.

I sit on a board in my town and our plan is simply that we only give –time, money and staff for 3 years and then we’re done… the organizations will survive (since they know in advance, we only give for 3 years) and then we can help others.

If we choose to…

And that is the key to balance… having choices.

So, are you in or out of balance? Only you really know… or I’m sure your friends and family can tell you.

It’s not easy when it seems that all you do is work and no one says thanks, so I have an idea… You say thank you… You think about what you’re grateful for when you look at your family, your home, your car, your stuff…Your life… and let encourage You to stop what you’re doing (after my show is over) and restore balance to your life, your family and your commitments…. let’s start making deposits in the right places

This is an honest blog – so let me level with you that at first it will be awkward.

In fact for some it will be so awkward that your significant other will wonder what you’re up to… so be ready with an answer that you just need to slow down and take stock in where you are and where you want to and that maybe this year – you reconsider how you’ll spend your time.

Another reason this will be awkward… is because no one knows what to say back to you… so if you can – say something nice as you’re walking out the door with the trash or as you pass in the kitchen, say thank you for keeping such a great place that we call home or just want you to know how much I appreciate all you do… or you could do my favorite thing – get my car washed and fill it with gas… or bring home flowers (or KK donuts pumpkin spice are excellent this time of year).

By the way guys – your sons will treat their wives the way they see you treat their Mom (your wife) and daughters will watch and file away the thought that – that is what kind men do to show love.

Friends, you already have credit “in the bank” with volunteer events and community organizations, you don’t need to keep making deposits.

You need to start spending your time for you and those you care about.

Starting with this holiday weekend I would ask that you consider making deposit that will last a lifetime… and that is with those you love and care for – I guarantee it will improve your balance.

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