The Balance Question
For those of you who have checked out my presentation “Confessions of a Radical Collaborator”, you know that I love my job and I love my bike. Cycling for me is chance to get out of the office and move my body, feel the wind in my face, and really be a part of the outdoor experience. I feel strong riding up a hill and nothing but sheer exhilarating fun speeding down one! I’ve learned to trust my own momentum…physics really do work!
Riding a bike (like most things in life) is all about balance.
Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? We all do.
My father and mother owned a busy diner and just didn’t have time to teach me after school. They asked their cook and family friend, Sunny, to explain basic bike skills to me when the kitchen was slow. Sunny was patient and kind and when he took the training wheels off my pink, banana-seated, two-wheeler…I felt pretty confident.
He taught me that to keep my balance I needed to do three things: relax my arms and shoulders, keep a grip on the handlebars and keep my eyes on the path. He also taught me if you aren’t prepared to fall, you aren’t prepared to ride.
Balance is something I think about a lot for myself and for my team at Cisco’s Collaboration Software Group. Most of us in the business world have access to many tools that allow us to collaborate anywhere and anytime. It’s no big surprise that employees all over the world are looking for flexibility and want to work remotely.
A recent Cisco survey reported that “two of three employees worldwide (66 %) said they would take a job with less pay and more flexibility in device usage, access to social media, and mobility than a higher-paying job without such flexibility. Sixty percent said they no longer needed to work in an office to be productive.” That sounds about right to me!
So does this mean that we should work every available hour of the day?
Can we give ourselves permission to live, work and play? If we have a conference call at 7am, can we feel okay about taking our puppy to the vet at 4? If we are checking email after dinner, do we have to feel guilty about getting some exercise before?
We know collaboration and conferencing tools like WebEx and TelePresence save us considerable time by not traveling. Being able to get email on our mobile devices sets us free from the office and cuts back on commuting. Is it unreasonable to use some of that time to add balance to our lives?
I know for me a bike ride at the end of the day makes my day, and energizes me for the day to come.
Yes, I am a “radical collaborator” but…
But I also find the time to be with my family and friends, go on vacation, exercise and attend non-work related events. I think I’m a better, more-focused employee and leader for not being “connected” all day and all night.
When’s the last time you spent a guilt-free hour doing something personal during your workday? Let me know. I’d like to hear from you. Add your comment below or send me a tweet @dchrapaty.