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Diversify Your Life’s Portfolio

Diversify Your Life’s Portfolio
October 2, 2012 Ignacio Fiallos

A local boy did great this past weekend. Brandt Snedecker won the PGA tour championship as well as the Fed Ex cup for a whopping $11.4 million purse.

When we see his victory from a distance, we might come to believe it was his ability to hit fairways and fantastic putting that made the difference (Brandt was No. 1 for both in this tournament).

I say it is Brandt’s attitude which makes him a champion.

I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Brandt when he played at Vanderbilt University. My impressions were that he was quite insightful and bright, well beyond his years.

When interviewed at the tour championship last week, Brandt said he has learned a powerful lesson as he got older: Having balance in his life gives him a better golf game.

Brandt mentioned that he has hit more than 1 million golf balls, and he does not have to practice so much anymore. He also said he works out in the gym much less. However, he does spend more time with his family — he has a young daughter with another child on the way. This balanced perspective has not only helped with his mental well-being, but also, this new perspective has supercharged his game.

When we diversify and have more balance in our lives, we reduce our stress levels. Here is an analogy: You have a variety of ego egg baskets. But, if you place all your ego eggs into only one basket, there is more pressure to perform well at that one activity to get those self-esteem points.

Brandt diversified his baskets. With greater balance in his life, the pressure is diminished for Brandt to always perform well, and as a result, he plays better in competition.

The ironic point of balance is that it increases your production by taking time away. When you have greater balance, you will have less stress and more energy to produce at higher levels for longer periods of time.

Unfortunately, many people in the business world do not see the irony of balance. They believe it is a badge of honor to work 80 hours a week and never take a time out or go on vacation. Lee Iacocca of Chrysler fame has said, “I have seen many executives who have said with pride to me, ‘Boy, I worked so hard last year that I did not even take a vacation.’” To Iacocca, that is foolish thinking. Taking a vacation and having balance is essential to your overall well-being in business.

Balance also promotes happiness. As Robert Reich described it, being a member of President Clinton’s cabinet was so much better than any job he had ever had before. However, the rest of his life was ignored. He lost contact with his old friends as well as with his wife and children.

Until one day, when he phoned for the sixth time in a row to say that he would not be home to see his young boys. His youngest son told him to wake him even if he got home desperately late, to which Reich asked why. His son said, “I just want to know you were home.” At that moment Robert realized how unhappy he was being uni-dimensional in his life. He subsequently left his job as the Secretary of Labor at the end of President Clinton’s first term.

Besides making you miserable, being uni-dimensional in your life can cause burnout. Sports psychologists discovered that athletes who are uni-dimensional (only play one sport) suffer from greater burnout than those athletes who are multidimensional (play a variety of sports).

When all your ego eggs are in one basket, they can all break at once. The same principle applies to your life.

Are you feeling drained and tired? Are you on the way to burnout? Are you suffering from being uni-dimensional?

Like Brandt, add to your balance sheet by diversifying your life’s portfolio. Add meaningful and fulfilling activities to your day and your life will accrue both pleasure and productivity.


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