Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of being in the audience of my company's customer conference to listen to our keynote speaker, Arianna Huffington. As excited as I was to hear her, it is safe to say that her presentation far exceeded my expectations.
Arianna took time to talk about how we as individuals define success and how our priorities change along with our lives. This really hit home with me because as a (super) lucky husband and father of two boys (ages 5 and 8), I continuously focus on finding that healthy balance of work and family time, and I'm excited to share with you my interpretation of success.
I am very lucky in the sense that my work environment is very supportive of my desire to have quality time at home, and if that means leaving early for coaching my kids sports, the only response I get from my request is "good luck in the game!"
We all have passions in life and one of mine happens to be coaching. Growing up, I was fortunate to have some amazing coaches both in sports and in life. I grew up with extremely supportive parents and can still remember my grade school teachers and coaches when I played in youth sports. Growing up, I was certainly competitive in everything I did (who likes losing?), and I was taught at an early age that sportsmanship and giving it your maximum effort were of utmost importance.
While I enjoyed many successful years of being a professional sales representative, I found a component within sales that allowed me to simultaneously coach: sales manager! It's so rewarding to understand what someone wishes to do in their lives and have a chance to help them achieve their goals!
My whole life has been shaped by coaching, from the coaches I had growing up, the ability to get to be a coach myself, to meeting my wife -- that's right, I met my wife through coaching. It was 12 years ago when I took a week off of work to travel to Omaha, Nebraska to coach a dozen teenaged tennis players from Atlanta to compete in a junior Olympic-style format. While watching one of my athletes play, I struck up a conversation with a lovely young lady who was there to support her brother. Her brother was playing the kid I was coaching, and that lovely lady is now my wife of 10 years, and I will always owe her brother for playing in that tournament!
So this brings us to present day: Our two boys play soccer, basketball, baseball and Tennis. I have had the pleasure of getting to coach them in all their sports. They love sports, and I cherish the experiences of coaching and watching them play.
As fun as all of these activities are, I quickly learned that it was quite difficult to fit everything in. On Saturday alone, our kids had three baseball games and one tennis match combined (it's Monday evening and we had two baseball games tonight!). Let's not forget that I have a full-time job.
Time management has never played a more critical role in my life. On one hand, I want to enjoy my family and be supportive of them, and on the other, I have an excellent job that, while can sometimes be time consuming, pays for all of the experiences and activities that my family likes to do.
What I try to do is live in every moment: When I am at work, I try to put all of my effort and attention on my sales team and my company, whatever is needed, I want to be there to help. And, as hard as it is to turn things off when I leave for the day (I still need to work on not looking at my cell phone all the time, Arianna!), my energy is all about my family.
In a couple of years, I will turn 40, and that will mark 18 years of working full-time and being out of college. Wow, have I changed my interpretation of how I define success. It used to be all about me -- make lots of money, complete and win all my athletic competitions, etc. Now, it's all about my wife and two boys.
Defining success is ever-evolving, but as I embark on the journey, I equate success with happiness. When others around me are happy, then I am happy. Finding this success does not come easy. If I let up for just one minute, I will find my balance out of whack and all of a sudden I could find myself less productive, less happy and thus, ultimately, less successful.
I challenge you to analyze your life and identify what makes you tick; how do you define success today versus yesterday and keep seeking that balance to allow you to be successful?
Follow Andy Shefsky on Twitter: www.twitter.com/andyshefsky