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Where’s the Passion? Establishing Work-Life Balance

July 2007

In "Think You're the Only One with a Work-Life Balance Problem?" from CPA Trendlines, Rick Telberg unveils the “lopsided work-life balance” of most CPAs. Reading this entry makes me realize how often people disregard passion.

What is that one pursuit you really love and would do more if time and money allowed?  Are you a fanatic golfer (as most are)?  Do you love to travel, cook, collect some type of memorabilia, spend time with your spouse or kids, or attend concerts and sporting events?  Do you occasionally daydream about this activity?  Do you think about that unbelievable concert you saw or that amazing golf or tennis shot you made?  Do you often think, “I can’t wait until I retire to do more of that!”

I have two messages for you today:

Make more time now for what you love.  We all know people who were “waiting” and then, all of a sudden, it was too late.  Take my father, for example; he always wanted to play golf in Scotland.  He was a serious golfer who played regularly; he even bought a house on a golf course and was also often seen putting in his bedroom into one of those odd metal shapes that was supposed to mimic a golf hole.  Looking back, I believe he did make time for his passion, but he never made it to Scotland. I think part of the reason was that he had a thriving CPA practice that he built from scratch…and also believed that the time would be there later.

Recreate your passion.  I suspect you had that incredible fire in the belly when you began your own practice.  Each new client, not to mention each check that came in, got you fired up. For a quick little self-evaluation, ask yourself:  

If the answer to any of the above questions is “No,” then it may be time for some serious introspection.  I clearly remember a crossroad in my career and the struggle to figure it out.  How did I resolve my own work-life balance?  At age 28, I was on a very good track in the public accounting world, but really didn’t know what I wanted long-term.  The financial rewards looked good…but I just wasn’t sure I really wanted public accounting—with the long hours and demands from clients, partners and staff—as my ultimate career.  I ended up leaving the profession, trying private industry and ultimately my own business.  

In my own business, the clock never truly stops, but I feel I have learned to master the work-life balance dilemma.  Some of the ways include beginning my work day very early 7 a.m or even earlier.  I must confess that early a.m. time is not all work as I like to work out and use part of that “extra time” for that purpose.  At the same time, I generally get home by 6 p.m. which is probably on the early side for most professionals.  I rarely miss any of my daughter’s school activities and have done my share of coaching.  It is not unusual though to do some work most weeknights...maybe a call or two or concentrate on writing an article.  Now that I think about it though, I need to turn that Blackberry off earlier!

Robert Fligel

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