2022 StackSource Summit Playback: Balance Wheels - A Tool to Help You Achieve a Better Work-Life Balance

Tim Milazzo
August 15, 2022

In the best of times, work-life balance is difficult to strike. It has not been the best of times for many, many people over the past couple of years.

Press play below to hear about how a Balance Wheel exercise can help bring clarity to how you are doing in life holistically, not just work.

Not able to listen? Read the full transcript from Tim’s talk here:

Alright. I'm going to talk about, we're not going to talk business anymore, not really. We're going to talk about something called a balance wheel here. And it incorporates business and it's something that I do every month. And I want to just put it out there as a concept for you. Maybe it's going to be helpful to like one person in this room and that will probably still be worth it. Maybe I'll waste a few other people's time, but I think it'll be helpful to more than one. I found this on probably a viral LinkedIn post and added it to my presentation. It says "what I thought would make me productive". And it's got hard work. Hard work all the time. 24 hours. Like, you're an investment banking analyst and you're working 16-hour days and you have dinner and you dream of spreadsheets. Dan, are you okay? You worked at a big investment bank in New York before coming to us. 

What actually makes me productive? Hard work. Yes. Big slice, time off, sleep, healthy eating, exercise. I tend to agree with that graph. And so the question for all of you is "how are you doing on balance"? I have had moments in the past where I have not done well on balance. I've had moments in the past working on StackSource that I have not done well on balance. They've probably been more frequent than I would like. Some of those moments I alluded to this morning where we didn't have much funding, but we got it done. There were stressful nights when we didn’t have any funding and we got it done. And when we were grinding. There are going to be seasons in life that you go through and you need to grind harder than other seasons. You need to work longer, you need to buck up. That shouldn't be your whole life. It's not really sustainable, it's not really great for you. 

How are you doing on balance is my question for you. I'm starting to ask myself this from time to time. Actually, the way I found this exercise was through, for a little while here, I've been a member of a CEO forum group. I actually joined one in New Jersey. So if you don't know much of my story over the last couple of years in Covid, my wife was pregnant, we found out it was twins, then Zach joined StackSourceand I don't know what you did, they locked us down the next day Zach, and we went into COVID and she was twin pregnant and she was miserable, and then we had two babies crying at home all night. And I ended up joining a group last year. At the beginning of the year, we were in New Jersey. We ended up moving to Florida. But I joined this group a few months. It was like a business owner and CEO forum. The one I go to, and there are multiple ones, there are different organizations, but mine's called the C Twelve group. And once a month I go to one of these forms.

The first thing you do in the morning every time is you fill out what is called this balance wheel. And I joined another one in Florida now because it was so helpful in New Jersey. And the one on the left is actually, that might have been my balance wheel for one month, and I fill it out, and they make you fill this out every month, and you go around the group and with all these CEOs, up to twelve CEOs, C Twelve, it's like you can have up to twelve CEOs at the table and you share learnings and you ask each other hard questions and you get the sounding board and stuff. But they make everybody talk about how they're doing on balance first. There are a lot of driven people. Certainly, when I joined, I had like the smallest company in the group and I'm still one of the smaller, our company is still one of the smaller ones represented with me at the table, but got these high-powered CEOs of 800 people at their company. 

The first thing they do in the morning is talk about how they're doing on balance. Because the idea of the wheel you can't roll for a significant period of time, for a long period of time being out of balance, it's going to mess up the whole machine, the whole car. And so that might have been one that I filled out. It's at least an example of one. This one is geared towards me, marriage and family, personal finance, you'll see some religious stuff in there, and ours is a religious-themed group, as a matter of fact. It's what we believe we're doing with our business as our ministry and as our calling in life. So you'll see something like a walk with God and stuff. 

Here's an example of another one that I found online that was similar ideas. How are you doing as a colleague? This one was for an athlete. How are you doing as a sports player? How are you doing as a mother or father and just doing this? It does a couple of things. It brings some awareness to what parts of my life and my underserving right now, may not matter in the short term, but it could come back to bite you in the long term and it could be draining. I did find an online version that could be freely shared, and I'm going to share it after here. 

But the question to go through an exercise like this, first of all, is what is important to you in your life? Making money is like, it's a bad ultimate goal. It might help you get to certain goals. You might want your lifestyle to be a certain lifestyle. You might want to be able to afford a certain house or a certain but it's not about just the money at the end of the day, if the money is not serving you, what do you really want out of life? First of all, it's like what you kind of have to do as a pre-work to do a balance wheel at all. Do you want to have a good family life? Do you want to have fun? Do you want to have recreation? Do you want to play softball once a week? Do you want to, and so here are some I said for Capital Advisors, and maybe a couple of these are Capital Advisor themed. How are you doing on your relationships and your pipeline development? Zach would say prospecting. How you're doing on prospecting could be one an aspect, but whether you're a Capital Advisor or not, what are the things in your life? A few of these should always be there. 

You cannot have maximum output without having some input. One of those inputs is rest. Another input is health and nutrition. You can't just not exercise for ten years and think that you're going to be okay and think that you're going to be performing at your best. Mental health and physical health are very tied, but what's important to you, environment is another one I put up here. That's another one that got screwed up for a lot of people over the last couple of years. I started working from home in the last couple of years. Has anybody else started working from home in the last couple of years? A majority of us. 

Nathan and I were working together in the city and a couple of other people there, and then we started working from home in New Jersey, in Covid. I ultimately have moved down to Florida and I work from home there. Thinking about how is your environment? I might have a slide on the environment. Do I? I might not. Well, I thought about having a slide for the environment. For me, part of having a healthy environment is actually not working from home all day or not all week. So I drive to coffee shops and bring my laptop once in a while when I need a little bit more of that. I'm not a super extrovert. If you take a personality test, I'm a little bit more introverted. But sometimes you have to be around people and that's part of creating a healthy environment for me. 

I did find this tool, the balance wheel; that I do monthly and I share it with the people in my group. So it's not just me filling it out. There's this idea of if you do it with accountability, it's more powerful. It's more powerful to say to people how you're doing and to be honest with them and to get it out of your own head. But I did find a free tool. Now, I don't have an immediate suggestion for everyone on who should you share this with, and honestly, it's probably not going to become an official part of StackSource saying like, “we're going to have balance wheel groups here and there”. Maybe it is, I don't know. Maybe a lot of people are going to feel really strongly about this. And it could be. Honestly, it could be. But having some people in your life, at least one person that you could bounce this off and say, how am I doing on these different areas. 

I did find a free tool and I grabbed a version of it. I'm going to email it around after the summit so you can grab the example version if you'd like, and you can go through it. In addition to how are you doing? There's one other aspect to it. How are you doing as your current where would you like to be? It may not be realistic to be a ten on everything. I've never scored a ten on any I usually don't give myself a ten on most things. I did go through an exercise a few months ago of saying, well, what would a ten look like? What would a ten look like for personal finances? What would a ten look like for family? What would a ten look like? What am I trying to live up to? And then you can set goals. Well, I'm at a five for marriage and family right now, and that's not where I want to be. I want to be at at least a seven. And then you can start to put together, how can you get there? And like a business plan, you can make a plan around, what does a ten look like? And maybe if you have a spouse or partner, it could be having a weekly date night. Maybe there's a little bit more to having a ten than just a weekly date, but maybe that's a start. Maybe you don't have a weekly date night. Again, some examples here. All of these examples will be in the sample that I'll share. 

The idea is to customize it. And then if you think about where you are now, you can actually put actions, well, I'll do this and I'll do it by X date. And this is where the accountability comes in too because you can have someone that holds you to, hey, did you do it? Did you take a vacation by August 1? Maybe somebody here just needs to take a vacation by August 1. Maybe it's me, I don't know. I'm going to add it to the new sales.Stacksource.com. If it's not up there already, it will be added just as a resource, just as something that could be helpful. There's a lot to do. 

We talked about strategies today, we had some motivation today, we had some examples today, and we had some learning today. If it feels a little overwhelming, pick some things to start doing first, think about balance, and think about how are you going to attack this. If you want to do really well for years at a time, I think this is going to have to be part of it. Something for balances. You don't have to do a balance wheel. Maybe for one person here. You adopt a balance wheel and start doing it monthly or quarterly. But think about balance. If you don't think about it, nobody going to think about this for you. We will check in on your work performance. We're going to check on your pipeline numbers, we're not going to actively check in on how you're doing, did you have enough fun this month Andrew? We're not we're not going to check in on that. This is something we all have to do for ourselves. So this is how I do it. I use a balance wheel. I do it once a month, and I share it with my CEO group. And for your consideration.

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