Does fear of failure keep you up at night?
If so, you’re not alone.
According to a study conducted by Norwest Venture Partners, 90% of CEOs lose sleep because of their fear of failure.
Yes, achieving the title of “CEO” is a significant milestone, but it comes with uncertainty, the pressure to succeed and a struggle for a work-life balance.
All of the above combined, and you have a recipe for burnout.
So, what’s one way to avoid burnout?
By prioritizing work-life balance.
This is precisely what I’ll be covering today:
What We’re Covering In This Newsletter:
- What is work-life balance, and why is it important?
- How many CEOs and leaders have a good work-life balance?
- What does the data say?
- What The Biggest CEOs In The World Have To Say About Work-Life Balance
- Feelings and Beliefs Around Work-Life Balance
- 5 Action Steps To Improve Your Work-Life Balance
- What’s Possible…
What is work-life balance, and why is it important?
CEOs are constantly on the go.
Between juggling work meetings and family obligations…
Logging 16-hour days…
It’s all too easy to have a poor work-life balance.
So, what exactly is work-life balance?
It’s a state of equilibrium where a person equally prioritizes their career and personal life.
Maintaining a solid work-life balance is essential to a healthier work and home life for CEOs.
As Chris Chancey, career expert and CEO of Amplio Recruiting said,
“A good work-life balance has numerous positive effects including less stress, a lower risk of burnout and a greater sense of well-being.
This not only benefits team members but employers, too.
Employers who are committed to providing environments that support work-life balance for their employees can save on costs, experience fewer cases of absenteeism, and enjoy a more loyal and productive workforce.”
How many CEOs and leaders have a good work-life balance? What does the data say?
According to a recent study conducted from February 2020 through July 2020, with thousands of business executives and HR professionals around the globe, leaders and team members are burning out at record rates.
Results from another survey in Development Dimensions International Global Leadership Forecast 2021 have similar findings:
- Nearly 60% of leaders reported feeling used up at the end of the workday – a strong indicator of burnout.
- Approximately 44% of leaders who felt used up at the end of the day expected to change companies to advance; 26% expected to leave within the following year.
- Only 20% of surveyed leaders believed they were effective at leading virtually.
These statistics don’t exactly paint a good picture of a CEO or leader maintaining a solid work-life balance.
It’s easy to wonder…
Is having a good work-life balance even possible for a CEO?
Let’s look at what some CEOs, successful leaders and entrepreneurs have to say about work-life balance.
What The Biggest CEOs In The World Have To Say About Work-Life Balance
“Sleep is precious to me. I’m very disappointed if I don’t go to bed before midnight. We have a rule: no laptops in the bedroom. Being on computers all the time makes me feel gross.”
David Karp // Founder & CEO at Tumblr
On the impact on your work performance
“Take care of yourself: When you don’t sleep, eat crap, don’t exercise, and are living off adrenaline for too long, your performance suffers. Your decisions suffer. Your company suffers. Love those close to you: Failure of your company is not a failure in life. Failure in your relationship is.”
Ev Williams // Founder & CEO at Medium
On looking at life as a juggling game
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them — work, family, health, friends and spirit, and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls — family, health, friends, and spirit — are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”
Brian Dyson // Former CEO of The Coca-Cola Company
On the importance of mental and physical health to long-term success
“When you’re passionate about what you do, it’s easy to fall into bad work habits. I think losing momentum is probably every startup founder’s biggest fear. However, your mental and physical health is just as important as your work.”
Alex Zaccaria // Co-Founder of Melbourne-based startup Linktree
When you’re a CEO, dealing with stress and uncertainty comes with the job.
But like what these CEOs said, it should never be at the expense of your health and sanity.
Feelings and Beliefs Around Work-Life Balance
Let’s look at the feelings and beliefs we can experience around life balance.
- Burnt out
- I don’t deserve to do the things I enjoy
- I can’t achieve success without burning out
- I feel guilty taking time for myself
- I get frustrated when I can’t spend time with my family
- I feel discontented with my work/ life balance
- Self love
- I feel passionate about enjoying every area of my life
- I love myself so I make time for myself
- I use my authority to set clear boundaries
- I am 100% present in everything I do
- My work life balance makes me extremely happy
5 Action Steps To Improve Your Work-Life Balance
Below, I’ve outlined 5 actionable steps to improve work-life balance.
ACTION STEP 1] Create your definition of work-life balance.
When you hear the phrase “work-life balance,” it conjures images of healthy CEOs who spend 8 hours working, 8 hours sleeping, and the remaining 8 hours with their family and passions.
However, this is unrealistic as people prioritize their lives differently.
For example, some CEOS are content – and enjoy – working 50 to 60 hours per week while others prefer to have more leisure time, so they work only 40 to 45 hours per week.
So, the first step to improving your work-life balance is to define what it is to you, based on your priorities, instead of conforming to societal expectations of what it looks like.
ACTION STEP 2] Get creative with your time.
Besides hours spent inside the office or working, CEOs have numerous other obligations that gnaw away at their time, like commuting, cooking, and taking their kids to school.
This is why CEOs with a solid work-life balance get creative with their time.
Henrik Kjellberg, president of Hotwire and CarRentals.com, is a prime example.
During an interview with Fast Company, he mentioned he trains for ultramarathons during his daily commute.
He said sometimes he bikes 16 miles from his home in Tiburon, California, to his office in San Francisco, arriving shortly before 8 AM.
He’ll run nine miles and take public transportation for the rest of the commute on other days.
You can start applying this concept in your life – except you don’t have to be as extreme as Kjellberg.
Instead, start carpooling to school as family bonding time, working out during your lunch break, or having meetings while brisk walking.
ACTION STEP 3] Participate in leisure activities that improve your performance.
CEOs with a solid work-life balance often exercise and have creative endeavours like writing or playing music.
This is because the benefits of exercise are endless:
- Increases energy and alertness
- Heightens concentration
- Improves overall cognitive functions
- Promotes emotional stability
- Lowers blood pressure and stress levels
Kjellberg experienced firsthand as he credits his exercise routine for helping him handle a significant company reorganization and coming up with several new successful offers for Hotwire.
But, exercising isn’t the only activity that enhances work performance.
Writing and playing music also have a similar effect as these activities boost an individual’s creative problem-solving abilities, which is highly advantageous in the business environment.
ACTION STEP 4] Be firm in taking time for yourself.
As CEOs, new tasks to be addressed will always pop up every day.
CEOs who maintain a solid work-life balance don’t allow these issues to consume their life.
They refuse to compromise their priorities for work.
This dedication to their values also earns them more respect from their team members.
For example, after a meeting in China where he gave a speech, Ernst & Young CEO Mark Weinberger skipped sightseeing with his team members to take his daughter to her driving test.
According to him, no one remembered the speech he gave at the meeting.
Instead, they remembered the care and attention he gave to his family, earning him immense recognition and respect from his clients and team members.
This commitment to yourself is essential.
So, have the strength to say “no” to specific demands on your time and attention.
ACTION STEP 5] Learn from your work-life balance mistakes.
Occasionally, CEOs decline a personal or professional event because they either stayed late in the office or left earlier to spend time with their family but ended up regretting their decision.
When this happens, CEOs with a good work-life balance don’t beat themselves up.
Instead, they shift their perspective and choose to look at these moments as educational opportunities.
If they regretted missing an experience, they learned it’s a priority and will maintain it in the future.
As Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer wrote for Bloomberg,
“I have a theory that burnout is about resentment. And you beat it by knowing what it is you’re giving up that makes you resentful. I tell people: Find your rhythm. Your rhythm is what matters to you so much that when you miss it, you’re resentful of your work.”
One of our Founder clients Ibrahim Alhusseini had this to say about his time working with Lifestyle Perfected:
“Prior to working with Nadav and the Lifestyle Perfected program, I used to push through my days with a controlled level of stress and anxiety. Now I’m able to handle even more responsibility and impact, navigating through it all with ease and joy. My life is a lot of fun now, and both I and the people around me are grateful for Nadav daily.”
If you’d like a complimentary consultation on your work/life or another area of business to elevate the alignment within your company, reply to this email or alternatively, you can see our programs for CEOs and for teams here.
We’re also excited to invite you to apply to CEO Circle. A group for CEOs to elevate emotional intelligence, increase impact and legacy wealth. If you are CEO and/or a founder with $1 million or more in revenue or assets apply here.
Sending you love,
& the Lifestyle Perfected team