Most people would love to be rated as best in their field of work, but only a few understand the effects of balance in producing excellent work. This article covers the basics you need to know to experience life to its fullest and produce your best work every day.
– By Olu Ogunlela
“Is everyone destined for greatness? Can we all become the next Mark Zuckerberg? Do you have the potential for extraordinary achievement?” I have asked myself these questions countless times. My curiosity led me on a reading adventure and study of thought leaders. An articulate answer to the question was so important because I wanted to be assured that the journey, pains, sweat, tears and sacrifice required for greatness would be worth it.
After many years of study and personal development, I got my answer in different forms and concluded, “Yes, we all have equal potential for greatness and discovering your greatness requires that you seek to find it.” The parable of the sower was one story which made me realize that the potential for a tree lies within the seed, but what determines growth is the external environment and circumstances in which a seed finds itself.
Fortunately, humans are not seeds or trees, we can move and change our situation to increase the chances of achieving our full potential. Therefore, it is worthy to note that “You are like a seed and the potential to be great lies within you.”
There are so many reasons why many of us do not perform at our full potential and produce the best work. They include: lack of goal setting, lack of drive and ambition, unfavourable early stage growth environment, uninspiring inner circle (top 5 friends), lack of purpose, etc. For the sake of this article, I will focus on the reasons that arise due to imbalance, which are; stress, anxiety, depression, unhappiness, procrastination, distractions and low energy levels.
To increase the chances of fulfilling our deepest potential, we need to truly understand the concept of balance in relation to peak performance as simplified below:
Energy In = Energy Out
The equation above means life activities produce energy (Energy In) and work activities use the produced energy (Energy Out). It can also be expressed as ‘Life = Work’, and this refers to Work-Life Balance. For instance:
- A car with more than enough fuel will definitely get to its destination, meaning ‘Energy In’ is greater than ‘Energy Out’ (Energy In > Energy Out).
- A car without enough fuel is less likely to get to its destination, meaning ‘Energy In’ is less than ‘Energy Out’ (Energy In < Energy Out).
Using this analogy on humans, we begin to experience stress, anxiety, depression, dissatisfaction, illness and the likes, when our ‘fuel’ level is low. These are symptoms of an imbalance between work and life activities and if the ‘fuel’ gets depleted, we will be unable to reach our destination.
Improving balance and achieving peak performance in work and life requires discipline and is quite challenging, especially if you live in a city like Lagos. The average employee working in Lagos can spend up to 5 hours in traffic every weekday – that’s enough to leave anyone drained! To combat this reality, first and foremost you need to understand your sources of energy. The emphasis on ‘your’ sources is important because it varies for every individual.
These energy sources may be found in one or more of the ten facets of life:
- Personal Development
- Career Development
- Work & Business
- Building Relationship
- Fun & Adventure
For example, physical exercise is a great way to harness positive energy. Building relationships with like-minded individuals is another way to recharge energy levels. Many people find travelling to be an activity which relaxes and has a rejuvenating effect. The bottom line is that you should be spending time on activities which energize you on a regular basis, so you have enough energy to produce your best work, while experiencing balance. To ensure that I don’t leave this important task to chance, I use a time tracking tool I invented to track time spent in each facet of life and it enables me to reflect and review my activities, in order to make changes when necessary and consequently live my best life daily.
Basically, living life the best way you can entails finding balance and finding balance involves making conscious decision to fill your fuel tank regularly, so you don’t breakdown.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Spark magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.