Can we talk about life balance? Or, perhaps better stated, is there any way to avoid talking about life balance? It’s all the rage you know. Just ask the nearest Millennial (born between 1981 and 2000) their thoughts on work and you’ll soon hear something akin to “I work to live…I don’t live to work.”
This may be one of the few things that Millennials and their employers consistently agree upon. The other being that Millennials are “special.” Yep, not many in my children’s generation “work for the man.” They seem to prefer to work for themselves on the man’s dime. Unless of course, they’re working to become the next dot-com billionaire, so work-life balance gets tossed out with last night’s leftover pizza stepped on while rolling out of their cot at the office.
Doing your best means giving your best effort with the best possible attitude, recognizing that both are always within your control. Doing your best means working hard and smart, while living a balanced life. Working hard does not mean over-working to the neglect of one’s health, family and other higher priorities. Working hard does mean that, for brief seasons, life balance may be impossible to maintain, but we are deeply committed to restoring it as soon as possible.
Much of what I’ve said to our five children during my 39 years of fatherhood has fallen upon deaf and distracted ears. There is one thing, however, that to this day each of them can recite at gunpoint. I can see them now with their eyeballs rolling back into their heads whenever I would ask them my favorite question, “What are the only two things that you can always control in life?” They’d bemoan their reply (think Eeyore to Pooh), “Yeah Dad, we know…effort and attitude.” “That’s right, kids!” I’d say. “Everything else is partially or completely out of your control.”
I’ve thought about my 1-2 effort-attitude punch a great deal over nearly four decades now. It may be slightly overstated, but not by much. I like it for two primary reasons. First, it takes away any excuses for not giving your best effort while having the best possible attitude. It’s simply unacceptable to do otherwise, because both are completely in your control. Second, it helps you stay laser-focused on that which you can control, so you don’t have time or energy to worry about the myriad of things you can’t.
We believe investigating our curiosities leads to discoveries, inventions, and innovations that improve the world around us. To unleash individual and collective creativity we must have the courage to test new ideas, confront possible failure, and discard obsolete ideas.
Back in the dot-com crazy days, I was determined to leverage our technical prowess into the next Google. I started thinking about how technology might be used to relieve some of the bottlenecks within our business. One of the biggest was the reference-checking process. It’s the bane of every recruiter’s existence. Chief among the many problems within the reference checking process was the fact that most employers have policies prohibiting employees from giving references on former employees. So, we came up with a solution to most of the reference checking problems. We called it 3references.com—the world’s first and only clearinghouse for job references via the Internet.