Something amazing happened to me two weeks ago on Easter Sunday at 4:47PM. I became a dad to a beautiful little girl. It’s amazing how much of an impact such a tiny human can have on one’s life – both personally and professionally. Almost immediately after my daughter was born I began thinking of where I was in life and where I planned to go. Here’s what I realized.

Work

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a hard worker. For that, I credit my family.

My grandfather was a blue collar machinist from Pittsburgh. He didn’t make a lot of money but worked his ass off to make the little that he did. He came home sweaty and greasy (or as they’d say in Pittsburgh, “greezy”) – just in time for a home-cooked meal my grandmother had prepared.

My dad followed in his footsteps, albeit of a white collar variety, and my mom worked around-the-clock to make sure my sister and I had everything we needed.

There’s nothing wrong with hard work. In fact, I’d argue that we need MORE of it these days. Hard work is a great thing! BALANCED hard work is even better.

Work/Life Balance

Launching and growing a company like Forge3 (or any other) requires perseverance, loooooong hours and burning the candle at both ends. Personally, I love the heck out of it. However, what I don’t like is when the business consistently leaks over into my personal life.

If you own a business, you know what I mean. Checking email on vacation. Booting up at 8PM on the sofa. Sitting in your office on a beautiful weekend. I’m as guilty as the next guy. But, having a newborn as inspiration, I’m realizing that this needs to change a bit.

Is It Possible?

Of course! My neighbor has a high-up position at a huge global corporation and still manages to come home every day for lunch and spends every non-work minute with his family. You’d think that this would mean that he’s not serious about work, right? Think again. He just got a huge promotion and now manages half the world. So, at least from the outside looking in, he’s found the balance.

It’s a Choice

Some say that it’s impossible to “close the door behind you” when you leave work for the day. That’s even more true today with our always-connected laptops, smartphones and iPads.

But, it’s important to realize that each of us have a choice. We can choose to be a slave to the business or choose to find a better balance. I choose the latter. Life is too short and precious not to.

This doesn’t mean that we’ll get less done, though. In fact, I’m more ambitious now than ever before and expect to get MORE done with laser-guided focus and a solid schedule with fewer interruptions. I actually think that having a balance, both for me and our Forge3 crew, is critical to our longterm success as a company.

Thoughts? Tips?

What do you think? Do you agree? Have you struggled to find the balance between work life and personal life? Any suggestions?

I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below. We’ll find the perfect balance together.

Forge ahead!

Author Jeff Teschke

More posts by Jeff Teschke

Join the discussion 18 Comments

  • Congratulations Jeff! It truly is the most amazing gift. I sit here at my laptop after putting the kids to sleep (9, 6, and 2) at 9:20pm preparing for a 9am meeting. I will set my alarm for 5:30 to work some more. I must admit I haven't acheieved the balance. It very hard….especially when you are the Mommy and getting a new business off the ground. Enjoy your precious baby girl. Hope to catch up soon. Kathryn

  • Thanks Kathryn! Parenthood is quite a trip and provides a great perspective on what's important in life. We're loving every second of it!

  • Miss you Kathryn! What is the new business?! Xo

  • Mo Taylor says:

    Well said Jeff! In my 2 years as a parent I have learned that scheduling your life is necessary when you are deeply invested in your business. You may not want to schedule "family time" but if you don't, you won't. Can't wait to meet your little girl…talk to ya soon!

  • While I am not quite there yet, I have learned to delegate more. I had to stop being such a control freak on every minute detail. Even adding one person to be a right-hand-man/woman can really make a difference in getting back a lot of family time.

    Good luck with the new baby! Life will change in millions of ways. And it's good to tackle it head-on like your are.

  • This statement could not be more true. Its all about priorities and time management. You're a good dad Mo :)

  • How exciting! So thrilled for you and your family! :)

    It's always been a challenge balancing work and family. Drive is a wonderful thing, so long as it's directed and managed appropriately. When we go on vacation, we require internet access so we can keep in touch, should the need arise… but we're learning to use it sparingly, and to let go of things, or at least prepare in such a way that we can step away for a bit. Last year I used hootsuite to schedule company social media postings so that I wouldn't have to think about it on vacation. I wish I could say I resisted the urge to check in completely, but that would be a lie. It did make it easier to let go, though :)

    I wonder if it's not a little blow to the ego to realize that the rest of the world CAN manage without us… but once we get over that, it's actually kind of freeing. :)

  • First I want to congradulate you on the birth of your daughter. There is nothig I have ever done in my life that has made me feel more successful or rewarded than raising my three children. I also commend you on realizing the importance of family time. You will turn around and your daughter will be walking, you will blink and she will be driving, you'll walk in the door one night and she'll be heading off to college. When I go out to dinner and I see families with small children and the mom and dad are both texting or what ever they are doing on their phone and the children are just talking to themselves I want to explain to them how little time they have to embrace the young years. It's easy now it's new and fresh. Keep the promise to yourself and your family to enjoy them.

  • Congratulations to you and your wife! That's awesome and what a great day for a new baby to be born!

    You are exactly right about choice; it's up to you to make the decision on priorities. What some people don't know is that there is no rule that says you must give ALL of your life to your business. Yes, you have to work hard to succeed but that doesn't mean 24/7. There are times where you must turn off the phone and work so you can be fully present with your family.

    The reality is that life moves fast, especially when you have children, and it's important to recognize that so you don't miss those special moments today or tomorrow.

  • Yep. That's exactly what I'm realizing.

  • Well said, Ralie! Feel free to check in on me a few months from now to see how I'm doing. :)

  • The fact that you're considering these thoughts indicates what kind of dad you are. You're bringing a lot to the plate and the skills that make you a great entrepreneur will make you a great dad through repurposing. The multi-tasking, drive and dedication will now benefit your family more directly, when you let it. Being able to provide ABSOLUTE quality time is a must. It's a matter of respect and love. She wont remember the time you closed the big deal but she will remember listening to you read to her in bed, or watching you run around the house in sweats and a crazy hat to play some game with her.

    People complain about teens texting, but I can't tell you how many times I've seen parents that go on and on about their lack of quality time with their kids, texting away while their kids fight for attention.

    Use your technology not as a lock, but as a lever. Most people have set up technology so that they are a spider at the center of a web. Every tickle at the periphery of the web is felt by the spider. They're 'locked' by their own technological web. The real power in technology is the ability to easily control and craft the way information is delivered to you and leverage your ability to deliver it to others. Spend the last 20 minutes of 'office time' delegating and informing to insure that the next block of family time is essentially protected, ie: Make it clear to your associates that family time is protected. Separate Office email/text from home email/text. That way, if you're up at three anyway, you have the option of checking in, but otherwise, every office speed bump isn't being pushed to you in real time.

    Forget about what everyone else is accomplishing and focus on what means quality in YOUR life. Competition is good and healthy, but if you're driven to always be on top, you've tied yourself to beating the workaholic guy without a family. We're all fighting to keep up with the most extreme among us. I like the 80/20 rule: you can achieve 80% of the effect with 20% of the effort it takes to push to 100%. I'm good with that in my life.

    Embrace the staycation, especially while she's young. It puts you near home base in case of emergencies (personally put that one to use!) and saves you a fortune in travel expenses, reducing your need to push harder on the work bar….

    We all want success. You wouldn't be an entrepreneur if you weren't driven for it. What you're realizing is that real success has a depth and richness that goes far beyond seeing just how far you can push the dream of your company. Best part is, it's easy money: Every time you make Eileen smile, or your daughter laugh, you'll feel like a million bucks.

  • Love your last sentence!

  • Thanks, James! I 100% agree! Let's catch up when you get a chance.

  • Having a strong team is so important. We had our best quarter ever – right after we added more people. There's a lesson in there somewhere!

  • Wow. Well said, Jason! I especially love this line, "She wont remember the time you closed the big deal but she will remember listening to you read to her in bed." So true!

  • Good for you, Jeff. After having raised 5 kids (youngest is 21), I can promise you that you'll ALWAYS be working to refine the balancing act, and it will ALWAYS be worth the effort. Even when they're two. And teenagers. And don't forget to send me all the little fish that aren't worth your effort! :)

  • Marlene Theresa Downing says:

    Yes he is Janelle..from his mom :)

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