I’ve been reading the book “How We Lead Matters: Reflection on a Life of Leadership” by Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chairman and former CEO of Carlson. Carlson is one of the largest family owned businesses today and includes a wide variety of travel and entertainment businesses such as Radisson, Country Inns & Suites, Regent, Carlson Wagonlit Travel and T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant chain.
The book is a collection of stories, thoughts and reflections of Ms. Nelson. Forbes magazine has regularly named Marilyn Carlson Nelson one of “The World’s Most Powerful Women It is not the this-is-why-I-am-great book, but rather, the book is a collection of stories and reflections in life of Ms. Carlson.
One of the topics Ms. Nelson talked about in the book is work-life balance. Whether you are a solo home-based entrepreneur or Chairman of a billion dollar conglomerate, balancing family life and work will always be a constant struggle. There will always be an email to send, a paper to write, a customer to call, and a decision to make. It can be tough juggling work, career and family, more so if you have little kids.
I agree with what Ms. Nelson had to say about achieving work/life balance. She admits that she’s not particularly successful at balance, but she is conscious of the choices she is making and rationalized it over time
As Ms. Nelson wrote,
The fact is that home life isn’t balanced … life itself is almost always unbalanced. But you try to keep your priorities. The trick is to make sure you have some ability to know when you and your family are seriously out of balance and be willing to adjust.
Sometimes we say we want balance but we don’t want to pay for it. A man who
worked for Carlson very successfully for several years turned down a promotion because it required travel which would have meant that he would have to give up
coaching his kid’s team. Now, that’s a realistic approach to balance.
Life is long, and in the end, you may be able to have it all … just not all on the same day.