What do you do when you are not doing your job? In this Flash Topic episode, host Timothy Bush brings back Joe Tarnowski, Tracy Hazzard, and Salah Khalaf to talk about finding their entrepreneurial balance. In a world that seems to want more out of us, it can be very difficult to keep track of our life outside of the hustle we do at work. Timothy and his guests share their own thoughts and ways of keeping that work-life balance or what Jeff Bezos calls the “work-life harmony.” They shed light on the many aspects that many working people forget, from morning routines and doing self-reflection to taking vacations. Sharing their own experiences and struggles with understanding whether it is balance or harmony they want in life, Tom, Joe, Tracy, and Salah offer some great things to think about as we proceed with whatever we need to face daily.
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Finding Your Entrepreneurial Balance – #flashtopic
I’m glad to be back. We have a Flash Topic. It’s been some time since we had recorded a Flash Topic. On the panel, Joe Tarnowski, Salah Khalaf is back, Tracy Hazzard is back and myself are going to round out the panel. I’m looking forward to our discussion. Of course, just like always, I’m not going to tell you what that is, but we do have a guest moderator. Joe Tarnowski is taking the reins. He chose the topic. He is leading the discussion. As the only panelist member other than myself who has not missed a Flash Topic, well-deserved. I don’t want to hold it up. I don’t want to stop the progress. Without any further ado, let’s get right into it.
Welcome back to Flash Topic.
Joe: Thank you.
Salah: Thank you. I’m glad to be back. It’s been a while.
Tracy: It’s been a while.
It’s my fault that it has been awhile. Welcome back to Joe Tarnowski, Tracy Hazzard and Salah Khalaf and maybe Tom will join us. We’ll have to wait and see. He’s a busy guy. Before we get going, I want to do a quick memory for Jamie Robinson, who’s obviously not going to be on our Flash Topic anymore. She passed away. I attended her services. She had problems with her kidney that kept getting worse. We’re going to miss her. I’m looking forward to getting somebody new into her slot. I miss her every day. She was one of those people that knew the graphics and stuff that I wanted. I would call her up and say, “I need this or I need that.” What I would generally get back was exactly what I wanted and that’s a little difficult to replace.
Tracy: I know what you mean.
Joe: That’s tough. Sorry to hear that.
On a more positive note, Joe is going to be throwing off the topic.
Tracy: I was wondering why we didn’t have one in email.
We don’t do the email topics anymore. You guys didn’t believe me anyway. We do one topic now. It’s still a Flash Topic but it’s one and we discuss it. Joe is the only other person other than me that has never missed a Flash Topic episode.
Joe: Before we get into it, let me tell you my Gary Vaynerchuk’s story. Over the past few months, I’ve been doing more and more work with different people in his organization.
Before you go any further, for the Big Boxers out there that maybe don’t know who Gary is. Who’s Gary? Why don’t you start there?
Joe: He’s an entrepreneur. He’s a social media guru. His main business now is VaynerMedia, which is a holding company of different ad agencies or social media agency called VaynerMedia. He’s got The Sasha Group, which consults with emerging brands and helping them to experience explosive growth. He’s got a few digital publishing companies. He gets into a lot of things. He’s well-known in the whole entrepreneur set. Probably what he’s most known for is his ability to grab people’s attention through content. He does a lot of content on all of these different social media platforms. I’m sure many of you have probably seen his videos. He’s heavy on Instagram. On Twitter, he’s big. He’s a podcaster.
Any type of media where people are paying attention to, he’s on there in some way, shape or form. I’ve always been a big follower of his. A lot of the content that I do for ECRM is based on the principles that he shares. He’s a big believer in giving away his best stuff. The only thing is not many people will take the time and execute on what he says. I’ve done that and it’s done wonderful things for us, for ECRM as a company. I’ve always been a big fan of him. When they launched The Sasha Group, which is aimed at small brands, I reached out to them to see if they can start speaking at our sessions, which they have. I’ve also gotten in touch. I was dealing with The Sasha Group.
I also have a former Gary Vaynerchuk employee writing columns for us. I was hanging out with this guy, Zane, who’s on team Gary Vee, which is the team of 20 or 30 people that do Gary’s content. Zane happens to live in my neighborhood six blocks away from me. He moved in. I took him around my neighborhood, introduced him to everybody. I’m on my flight getting ready to board my plane to Orlando. I’m wearing my Gary Vee sneakers. He’s got a deal and he’s on his fourth line of sneakers and somebody tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and it’s DRock who is his videographer. He points at my sneakers like, “Thanks for your support.” I’m a big fan of DRock too because he’s the one that gathers and collects all that content that Gary uses for everything.
It turns out they were on their way to a keynote. Gary was getting on the plane. I caught up with the bolts of them after the flight and got to chat a little bit with Gary. It was cool. It’s a great way to start my vacation. I let them know what were the things that I was doing with his guy. The main thing was I wanted to thank him for all the content and all of the advice he gives out for free on how to optimize your content. That was the main thing was to thank them for that. It was pretty cool way to start my vacation.Routines are important to combat decision fatigue. Click To Tweet
Tracy: Joe, I’m sending you my video that I made about our new microphone because it’s my Gary Vee story. Our new product was inspired by a failed interview with Gary Vee.
Once you guys were done talking, did you guys hug it out?
Salah: We didn’t hug it out, but I got a selfie with each of them. That was my Gary Vee story.
Do you know interestingly enough with as much time as I spend on airplanes, I never see anybody? I never run into anybody. I never see anybody. I’m always expecting to see somebody. I’m always expecting, “I’m going to see somebody I know or somebody that not necessarily know personally.” I never see anybody. I don’t know why.
Joe: I was bummed I didn’t upgrade to first class on my way here because I upgraded on my way back. I would have been up there with them.
Tracy: Then you would have a really great time. I’m at LA. I always see the celebrity settings are common.
Joe: Tracy, you have them.
Tracy: It’s when don’t we see one?
Joe: We have them in Bentonville, Arkansas too but to come in at a Walmart private airport for events or every year we have the shareholders meeting. They bring celebrities. In the holiday meetings or the annual meetings, they do bring celebrities always. We’ve had our share of meeting.
Tracy: That’s when you have to be careful that you’re not all flying and talking while your competitors are all in the next seats. It happens. I’ve been there.
Joe: I can tell you stories about that. Lots of good stuff like forgetting your profit and loss statement on a plane.
Tracy: I’ve seen that. I’ve seen binders get left behind and presentations.
I will tell you that I have plenty of children flying in and out of Orlando. There’s no shortage of kids. When they say, “Anybody traveling with small kids need extra time boarding,” half of the plane lights up. Joe, why don’t you get us started? What’s the topic?
Joe: The topic is what do you do when you’re not doing your job? I want to focus on all of those that work-life balance or more appropriately, the way Jeff Bezos considers it as work-life harmony. What are we all doing to achieve that work-life harmony? What are our morning routines? How are we taking care of our bodies? What hobbies do we have, self-improvement, vacation? What are all those things outside of work that we do that makes us better at what we do? What compliments it well? That’s what I’d like to cover. I don’t know who wants to start? Tim, why don’t you start off since you’re a panelist now?
Tracy: Tim always goes last, so let him go first.
Joe: I’m a big fan of morning routines. I’m a big believer in routines in general. Routines are important to combat decision fatigue. Tim, do you have any morning routines?
Honestly, I wish I was better at any routine. I want to say that I have something that I do every single morning that other than coffee that makes it happen. My schedule, whether it’s talking to people in Australia or early in the morning or late at night or calls that I have to make, my routine is not super set in the morning. Honestly, it’s a challenge that I have and it’s something I want to fix because I’m still in charge of my own schedule so I can create a routine. I will tell you one of the things that I do, probably 80% of the time, is I take about a four-mile walk with my dog almost every morning.
It’s about 80% of the time, I’m at about 80%. My dog doesn’t do anything right. My doctor will say, “No, you can’t take a walk with your dog because that’s not a real walk because they stop to pee. They do this.” My dog is a nightmare. Until I put his walk collar on, it’s like he’s a soldier. I don’t know what happens to him, but he’s perfect. Once we put the collar on, I can walk as fast or as slow as I need to. He is a total rock star. As soon as I stop, he sits right down and we go again. Walking with my dog is like a vigorous walk. I get a good exercise.
Something else that I do in the morning and this is pretty consistent, I write some gratitude down. It’s not super regimented. I don’t have lines that I fill out and answer questions, but I try to start my day with a little bit of gratitude because I have a tendency to look at my schedule or look at the things that are coming up. If I don’t look at gratitude first and I tend to look at my schedule but maybe feel like things are closing in on me, when technically based on my job, my career and where I am and where I live, there’s a lot to be grateful for before I start thinking that I’m too burdened. If I don’t spend some time with gratitude, I’ll start whining about that I have too much to do. Those are the two things that I do pretty consistently. I’d like to do more. I’d like to have a set time that I get up in the morning and get after my day at a certain time. I haven’t made the decision or the choice to do that. Jocko mocks me every morning at 4:30 with his morning Instagram, with his watch. He has a watch picture for every day of the week. He posts that each day.
Joe: Do you find your international business throws you off kilter a little bit with that? Sometimes I would imagine you have calls that are out of hours.If you start the day off being thankful for what you have, it puts things in a better perspective. Click To Tweet
That makes it hard to get a routine. I call different parts of the world at different times of the week and travel in general. Going to Brazil at the beginning of December for ten days, we’re doing two cities. By the time I get back, it will take me some time to get reacclimated. I was in China for ten days. Coming back from that, I felt hungover I think is the best way I can describe it. Come 4:00 in the afternoon, I would hit a wall. I try to schedule all my calls and the people I’m talking to the best I can, so we know what’s coming up. It doesn’t make for a consistent routine.
I read about people out there that have this consistent and wonderful routine every day. Maybe those people don’t have families or responsibilities because I do a lot of other things. I cook every night. I do things to help my family. It’s not always about me first thing in the morning. I don’t have three-solid hours that is just about Tim that I can do some mindful meditation, some Tai Chi, maybe have a sip of tea. That doesn’t exist for me. I’m working on it to get better at it and I know that I can. That’s my morning routine. Are we doing morning routines first and we’re going to swing back around?
Joe: We’ll do morning routines and the we’ll jump around to some of the other topics. That gratitude thing is important. Too many people take for granted how good we have it to get to like people in other places. If you start off the day being thankful for what you have, it puts things in a better perspective.
It’s been a game-changer for me. You think that you’re grateful for what you have, but if you think about it, a lot of times we start getting grumpy about certain things. You have to correct yourself. By starting off the day, talking about the things that you’re grateful for, it makes it easier to shovel off. Maybe when something comes up, what do they want to talk about? It’s easier to say, “No worries. I’ve got time for you,” when you started it off that way.
Joe: Tracy, morning routine?
Tracy: I’m not a morning person. I have more of an evening routine than I have a morning routine. Tom and I, we’re the perfect co-parents because Tom takes the mornings and I take the bedtimes. We’re a perfect match for each other that way. Lately, my morning routine has been dominated by a dog jumping in bed and giving me massive amounts of kisses and distracting me. We got a new puppy. She’s a pure-bred Cocker spaniel. She looks like Lady from Lady and The Tramp. She totally looks like that. She makes me slow down. I love that. I have this little sweet morning, where she’s like, “Stay in bed a little longer and pet me because look how cute I am.” That has changed the pace of my morning because usually it’s derailed by girls rushing out the door and getting on phone calls and massive amounts of email before all my interviews start for the day. That’s the whole routine is impacted in a speedy morning.
For me, the evening routine is my routine. That’s where I have a practice of doing a lot of reading, which is my personal time, personal reading, things that I want to read, things that I’m interested in learning, checking out. That’s what I do in the evening because Tom falls asleep, like literally falls asleep by 9:00 when I put the girls down. By the time I come down, he and the dog are dozing. It’s all my time. I don’t have to hear anyone. I don’t have to talk to anyone. I can do my own thing. The last thing that I do before I get myself ready for bed and everything. The last thing that I do before bed that I’ve made sure it’s a nightly thing, this is based on working with a mentor, I reread my vision statement for the next three years every single night. That’s the last thing I read before I go to bed. It includes gratitude in there. It reads like a story. That’s what our vision statement is. Each of us have our own, but that’s my personal one.
It’s a personal vision as well as my company one. What I’m finding is when I wake up, I had this massive amount of ideas and energy that are incredibly valuable. You know how you get those lashes of ideas overnight and you wake up and you’re thinking, “That’s so great?” As you go and vet it over the day, you’re like, “That was not a great idea. I should not be distracting myself with that.” Instead, my brain is filtering them out to bringing me the one that’s perfect, the one that solves a problem that I’ve been trying to solve or figure out a piece of a path. It’s been fantastic for me. Some of the best ideas I’ve had, I vet them and give them to Tom and share with him what we’re doing. We’re like, “This is a key part of our strategy. This is amazing.” It has helped me filter through that in my brain. It’s my routine.
Salah: How long is your vision statement?
Tracy: It’s about two pages long.
Salah: Do you have them memorized?
Tracy: Not yet. Every so often I’ll finesse it. You’re like wordsmithing it along the way. I suspect probably in another week or so, I will.
Joe: There’s a lot of science behind that. I’m thinking about something, a product problem you’re trying to solve, thinking about it hard before you go to bed or before you go for a run or before you do something that’s completely different from it. When you return to it, your brain is working on it in the background.
Tracy: I’ve always been a firm believer in that, like creative thought and when our ideas for products and all of those things that I do more time thinking about it than I do drawing things or that. It’s always been my practice anyway and how we move through our ideas and our innovations so it fits perfectly with where I wanted to go. When it was suggested to me by my mentor, I was like, “This is perfect for the way I want to do things and I know this is going to work.” It immediately was a snap fit for us.
Joe: I’m the same way when it comes to content. I always say I don’t do writing at my desk. I do type it out my desk. I do my writing when I’m wandering around and walking outside or something. I’m a very active thinker. I need to be moving around. Sometimes if I’m working on a longer-form story, I’ll gather all my notes from my interviews and everything. Before I go to bed, I’ll read through it and I’ll forget about it and go to sleep. Start fresh in the morning and I find that connections are being made while I’m in bed. Salah, what about you? You start off with some baklava?
Salah: As you may or may not all of you know, my work-life balance story has taken a different term because I had to change and do things because every day is a different day. I don’t know what’s going to happen. As you may know or may not know, my oldest son had an aggressive head and neck cancer, mainly in his tongue down his throat, down his armpits. Long story short, it’s an aggressive type. I’ve had to deal with a lot of changes. Suddenly, my day is not the same anymore. My day is, “Which hospital are we going to be in? What kind of cure there is out there? Which surgery are we doing? What doctor are we seeing?”
That’s in addition to my heavy load and the work I do. I’ve had to live with a huge change. My morning was walking right when I wake up. I’m a morning guy. I love to wake up and do my exercise early morning. If I don’t do it in the morning, I’m going to do it in the afternoon or at night. It’s me and the way I get used to doing, get up in the morning and what I do in the morning. That changed quickly because now I get up thankful, one, for my son for being still around. Then also thankful for God and thankful that we have health and we’re still around to take care of my son.
It’s a lot of gratitude and thanks that we’re still able to do that. The toughest thing is to go through this with your son having these difficulties, especially a healthy son. What do you do during the day? Everything is centered. Tim, thank you. You’ve been following up with me all along and you understand what I’m going through and what you’ve been through in your personal life. It’s been a change to balance things out. It’s the toughest thing to do is wake up on a twelve-hour surgery. What do we do?
My work is consistent of me. Thank God for smartphones, iPhones and so forth. That’s has been my go-to work. It’s my iPhone because I’m sitting either in a hospital room or a clinic or tending to my son, but I managed to find time during those times to run my business. How do I do it? There’s no way I can plan my day either maybe late at night when I get to the hotel room. Because of my son’s situation, I’ve had to be in hotels. I have to manage things completely different. Things are out of order, out of shape. This is not the norm but I have to adjust.
I do my work. I answer emails. I do everything when I leave back to the hotel where I’m staying or on my iPhone if I can and when I can. Thank God for a few people I know who stepped in to help everything I need, things delivered, done, invent and build with Walmart. I’ve had good, reliable people that are friends that have stepped in and up to the plate and gave me the support that I need. A lot of thank you and a lot of thank God during the day and at night 24/7. You adjust accordingly.Balance is temporary, harmony is sustainable. Click To Tweet
My exercise is off and on. If I’m in a hotel, I try my best to get up and do the exercises that I do in the morning. For the past few months, I didn’t. I decided, “I need to get back in shape because I feel like I’m out of shape.” I started back into my exercise routine. Thank God the business is running. I’ve had the opportunity to travel two days only on business to New Jersey and do a presentation for a group of the US Korean of Chamber of Commerce and back. Other than that, everything is in between for me. I do find the time to jump in and have that one hour. If my son is in chemotherapy that day, I’m on laptop, either next to him or in a room somewhere within that center taking care of business and taking care of my son. It becomes top priority when it’s your son, when it’s your family. I manage and I manage this here. Thank God people understand. I didn’t have to go to a lot of meetings. I’ve had to cancel a lot because I’ve had to balance out and make sure my son is getting the attention he needs to get from me and my wife. Clearly, it’s not just me.
Joe: We wish him and you the best. You bring up an important point is that no matter how organized or how many routines we have, life sometimes takes precedence and sometimes we have to adjust on the fly.
Salah: That’s what I’ve done. That’s what I’ve had to do. Talk about work-life balance, this is one of those that just come your way and you start thinking, “I had a routine before. What I do in the morning, what I do during the day at night, things were going.” Things were flowing but when the going gets tough, the tough gets what? You have to adjust accordingly. That’s what I had to do. Thank God every day for a good health and able to do what I do.
Joe: That’s why it’s important. I mentioned before that it was Jeff Bezos that said it’s not so much work-life balance, but more work-life harmony because you’re never going to have that exact balance. It’s going to swing a little in one direction one time. Sometimes it’s going to swing in the other direction. You have to go with the flow.
Tracy: I said that on stage a few years ago. I said that to someone, they were asking about how we have work-life balance because I work with my husband. I said, “We don’t because balance is BS.” I said the whole words on the stage. I instead said what we strive to do is harmony because harmony means that someone could have to take the drum solo because your voice is gone. You can’t do it. Harmony is more the point because it’s an entire group of you. It’s your whole family pulling together.
Balance is temporary. If you’ve ever tried to hold a yoga pose or I was a ballet dancer as a kid, standing on the point of your toe, you can’t do that forever. It’s not sustainable. Harmony is sustainable. When I think about it, that is what I talk about it all the time. That is the goal because it’s achievable. It’s beautiful too. Your energy altogether is greater. I always think of my favorite musicians, the ones who do beautiful harmony are way more amazing to me. I can listen to them again and again than anyone who’s all on their own. There’s none of that harmony going on.
Joe: I am a big morning routine person. I try to establish as many routines as possible. Both my morning and the structure of my day so that I don’t have to use up mental energy figuring out what I’m going to do. I try to make everything routine so that I don’t have to think about it. Unless it’s disrupted for some reason, mornings follow the same exact balance. I get up in the morning, usually around 6:00, 6:30. I have a coffee while I write two pages in my journal, which is something I’ve been doing since 1994 before journaling became a thing, as a brain dump of everything that happened the day before, any thoughts that I’m having at that point. It’s a self-reflection.
When I’m done with that, I’ll do my workout of the day, which is either one of several different workouts that I do. I super-hot shower, three-minute cold immersion. In other words, I shut off all the hot water and I let the ice-cold water run on me for three minutes, which definitely wakes you up. What I found with that, because it started, it was 30 seconds and I couldn’t handle more than that. In addition to jolting you awake, what I find is doing that helps me stay focused on a task more because you’re standing on an ice-cold water, you want to get out of that. You will yourself to endure it and relax and that makes it easier if you’re trying to focus on something else. I find it works. Have you ever tried that? Has anybody ever tried that?
When you’re under extreme cold weather, you have cold plunge or cold shower, it pulls in all the blood from your extremities and move towards your heart and toward your brain. You can think a lot clearer. You get a lot more oxygen. As you step out of it, you’re sending oxygenated blood back out to the extremities of your body. It’s supposed to be good. I can’t stand it but let’s say this also that the cold water in Florida is not that cold.
Tracy: It’s good for your hair too. It closes all the follicles in your hair so that it gets less frizzy and all of those other things. It holds all the conditioner and moisture in. I do it but not three minutes. I have to say it’s that cold rinse on my hair and I’m out of that shower because I like mine super hot too.
Joe: I was listening to Aubrey Marcus Podcast and he had Wim Hof on there. You know that guy that runs in the Antarctica with barefoot and all that. One of the things they mentioned that it does also is it triggers the fight or flight reflex. It releases norepinephrine, which is good at reducing inflammation caused by chronic stress. It helps to counteract that as well. I feel very refreshed when I get out of there. My day is broken up in two routines. The first half of my day is creating content. Then I have lunch. The second half of my day is all the other stuff, whether it’s administrative or calls that I have or expenses, all the stuff that I could do. What I find is I have that first half of the day of intense focus when I’m creating things. The second half of the day when your mind, your ability to focus is not as strong, doing phone calls perks me up. When I’m talking to other people, it revitalizes me. For me, I found that combination works.
Joe, how does your routine work on the road?
Joe: I may not do the journal part only because I leave my journals at home. There is some private stuff in there, so I don’t want to lose my journal on the road. The journal part is usually skipped, but all the other components, that I’ll do. You’re absolutely right. In Florida, the cold water is warm. Chicago is good for the cold water. Otherwise, I try to do the same thing. Depending on where we are, at one of our programs, we may have to get up a lot earlier. I may do my workout in my room instead of downstairs in the gym, depending on how late we were out the night before, how much time I have. Otherwise, all the way until the shower is the same. Afterwards, the day is divided into creating content and all the other stuff. It’s chaos.
I don’t see you at the sessions anymore. We used to have time to chat, but you’re too busy for that now.
Joe: I filmed 21 video interviews in two days. Our hotel was 45 minutes away. I had a 45-minute trip at both ends and I still had to squeeze in all of those videos. He’s right. The video thing has taken off so much that I’m usually all day in the video room filming a speaker’s bio, suppliers, all that stuff. The good part is that’s where all of the content comes from. That’s my pillar content. You turn those video interviews into everything else, whether it’s blog posts or small snippets of videos for infographics or whatever. It all comes from those interviews. On the road, it does throw a little wrench in the works of that routine.
Joe: We can talk about hobbies or vacation. Let’s talk about vacation. What do you guys do for vacation? There are two different types of vacations, couple of days off here and there or going for a week or two weeks and doing something. What is your vacation to you? Let’s start with that.
Tracy: I can’t remember. That’s the real problem.
I travel a lot on my own and I go to some cool places, but I’m by myself. A vacation to me is when I have my whole family there. We do like to get away. A lot of times, they can tag on to what I’m doing. I was in New York for four days and so they came and tagged on to the last two days of that over the weekend. For the first time ever, we’re meeting up with my sister and her family for Christmas in Tahoe. We’re doing Christmas week away from the house, which we’ve never done. We generally always try to do one week at the beach. We’d do a beach rental for a week. I’m a big water guy, so whether it’s lake or beach or when I’m next to the water, I feel better.
Tracy: Me too. That’s why I love being in the beach too.Find something that you're passionate about that you could do so that you don't feel bad putting everything into it. Click To Tweet
Speaking of routines, when I’m on vacation, I run an ocean kayak. I always go out early onto the water. Watch the sun come up on the Atlantic Ocean to me is the best part of my day. I’ll come back in and grab a cup of coffee and go sit down at the beach. Generally, still all that time nobody’s up yet. That’s all a me time. Especially on the Atlantic Ocean, if there’s a storm or whatever, there’ll be some good shells out there that I might grab. From June to almost to November is turtle laying season. When you’re out late at night, you’ll get to see the turtles coming in. In the morning, you get to see where they laid their eggs. If you’re lucky enough, you get to see a nest hatch and the little guys making their way down to the water. To me, Joe, anything that I can do on, around, in the water with my family is a vacation.
Salah: I’m with you there too, Tim. We all agree this is the way to go. I made sure we have enough time to travel overseas and do stuff or go somewhere on a vacation while there as well. That entails either beach or somewhere on the water. Things change. Each of us have life-changing things and you begin to think, “Where do I go now for vacation? When do I do it? How do I plan it? When do I plan it?” I have to say absolutely beach is a way to go. Being on a beach, that’s probably the best way.
Tracy: My issue is that I’ve got young kids, five and ten. They don’t get enough of me because I do travel a lot. I did a lot of speaking events, so that means a vacation gets to be determined by them. It means our vacation is more intense than my day job. I look forward to coming back to work because if you’ve ever had to go take a couple of kids around Disneyworld, it’s intense and that’s the way my girls. My girls are like, “Let’s go to Disneyland. We’ve got to see Star Wars. Mom, why haven’t we seen Star Wars yet?” I’m like, “Because it is up the freeway. However, do you know how many people are going to be there?” Talking them into something that is more reasonably is not possible because it’s like, “I am a mom to myself. It’s mom and dad. It’s our time. They’re going to do what we want them to do.” I’m happy to indulge them at this age. It dominates my choice in what happens. That’s why I say I’m not sure what vacation looks like because I feel like I can always use a vacation from my vacation.
If you’re going to go to Disneyworld, you’ve got to come here and that way we can plan, we’ll take the boat out on the lake and we can supplement the days at the park with a day out on the lake.
Tracy: Disney is my first choice because it is here. That’s also another thing. I know you guys have lots of other things down there. I also do so many business trips to Florida that it’s not the place I want to go. I want to go someplace new. Tom and I, one thing that we do that is only the time for ourselves, our anniversary is in January every year, but we haven’t done this every year. We’ve only done this probably a few years or something like that. We’d go to a beach hotel that’s local so it’s in town because otherwise we only have so few days.
January is always a busy month with events surrounding things. We only have a few days to ourselves. The last thing I want to do is take the time to travel somewhere. It’s across town. We’re in a hotel. It overlooks the beach. Nobody wants to go there in January, which is funny because it’s so beautiful. You’re not going to go jumping in the water or anything, but you can hear it, you can see it. It’s my absolute favorite thing to do. We never leave the room, go out on the balcony and maybe go to dinner. That’s about it. That’s my two days of peace I look for every single year. That would be my choice. As you were saying, Tim, it’s the water. There’s something so calming about the water that is important to me.
Joe: I’m not a vacation person. I’m more of a long weekend person. During the summer when most of the ECRM crew is taking their vacations, that’s the busiest time for me because we have so many sessions in June, July, August. Because I travel so much to some pretty cool places for work, I’ll slip in extra days here. Let’s say I’m at the Phoenician in Arizona, I’ll take an extra day or when I was in Budapest, I’ll take extra couple of days. What I started to do is I pick a place and I would do three or four days where I could go off the grid, away from emails, away from phone calls. Being that I have no flights, no pets, no kids, when I’m home I’m going out.
When I do this week or the four or five days, four nights that I’m doing this week, I don’t even drink. During my birthday, I didn’t even have a drink. I go to clear my mind, get off the grid a little bit and chill out. The place is not so important. This place here chose me. I got an offer in the mail, an American Express Sheridan promo that was $299 for five days, four nights. It’s three full days because I arrived on Monday afternoon, I leave tomorrow morning. I got the gift card for sitting through that thing. It was a vacation. I use miles, but I didn’t leave the place. I didn’t go to the Disneyland or World or whichever. Which is the one over here, Tim? Is it Disneyland or World?
It’s World here.
I didn’t even go to Disney World. I wanted to be here. I would work out in the morning. I would sit by the pool for a few hours and read, have lunch and do some more reading and writing, my own writing or tinkering and trying out different things. For me, the vacation is the opposite. I had those couple of days peace and quiet. It doesn’t matter where I am. The point is to get away from my normal environment and have some peace and quiet, not setting the alarm or anything like that. It’s a little bit different than a traditional vacation, but for me that’s iconic work.
I don’t think there’s anything that I would label as traditional anything anymore. You were mentioning Jeff Bezos and when I read that piece, I felt like what he was meaning by harmony was stop fighting it. Figure out how to work within what you have to do. I know that I’m going to have to work late on these nights and so I’m not going to beat myself up about it and feel bad about it. I’m going to understand. I’m going to make that up with my family some other place. I’m going to make sure that I do make it up. I got from what he was saying is stop fighting in trying to reach something that’s unattainable. Figure out how you can make it work in harmony with what you’re doing.
Tracy: Tim, that’s true. This is what I’ve been saying to everyone. Tom and I in January have been married many years. People are always like, “How do you do that and work with your husband every single day?” I said, “This is the thing. We stopped fighting a long time ago. We have to have a date night. We can’t talk about work.” We stopped that a long time ago. We said, “If you want to talk about it, we’ll talk about it. If there’s this moment where the other one is overloaded, we know each other well-enough to know now is not a good time to talk about anything, let alone work right now.” Unless it’s life or death, we’re not going there.
We came to this place where there is no guilt about when we choose to work or when we need to or when something’s booked. One of us has a late-night phone call, the other one picks up, puts the kids to bed. It works out like that for us. There’s absolutely no guilt in that process anymore. It’s way different than it was when I raised my oldest, that was different. There was a lot of mom guilt, all this other stuff that I felt for all the travel. I was working on somebody else’s schedule, not my own anyway. It was a little bit different because there was no choice in there.
Not having that at this stage in life, it makes it so easy because when you asked before, what do you do when you’re not working, Joe? That was the starting question. I was like, “What do you do when you’re not doing your job?” I’m always doing my job. I might not be on a phone call but I’m always thinking. I’m always forming. I’m always visualizing. It’s always a part, whether it’s more on a subconscious level or not. Feeling bad about that like that’s imbalanced or something, why would I feel bad about it? I know I’m building something big and worth every minute of that time because it has a purpose and it has a goal. It’s creating a secure life for my family. There are all these things in there. When you drop the guilt part of it, that’s an a-ha. There’s harmony right in that.
It’s important these days that we show our kids that there is no 9:00 to 5:00 anymore. There’s no real security in 9:00 to 5:00. There are a lot of people that do a 9:00 to 5:00 but more and more, it’s a multitude of different things. My number one piece of advice for kids coming out of college is whatever job you get, start your own gig at the same time. You’re starting to work for somebody, but get your side hustle going right now. That way, by the time your side hustle is making this much as your regular job, you can start to transition if you want to. Don’t wait 30 years working for a company and say, “I started a side hustle.” It’s better if you start it right out of school. Joe, maybe what we could do so we can give some action items to the Big Boxers is maybe one thing that each person feels that should be adopted in life or in the morning or in the evening. What do you think about that? This is your call.
Joe: I like that. In fact, I’ve got something to kick that off with. When I was with, Greg, last time, I was with our CEO and he asked me a question. He was like, “What are your hobbies?” I realized that my hobbies are the same thing that I do for work, writing, creating content. It made me realize that I’m one of those guys that I love every single aspect of what I do. The takeaway here is also to answer the two things that you’ve mentioned, Tim is, find something that you’re passionate about that you could do so that you don’t feel bad putting everything into it. It makes the world a difference when you get up in the morning and you can’t wait to get started on work because it doesn’t feel like work. For me, that’s always probably one of the most important things. I’ve always loved to write and create content and that’s all I’ve ever done my entire life. It hasn’t felt like I worked at all.
There are a lot of people out there that don’t have the opportunity to do something that they’re super passionate about. They have to pay the bills. They have a job. Maybe they’re good at it, but it’s not their passion. Your advice to them would be to find something they’re passionate about and work that in. If it’s not their job.
Find a way of working in or make the sacrifices that you need to so that you can do the thing you love. Live in a studio apartment instead of a two-bedroom. Don’t buy the nicest car, get a used car. Whatever sacrifices you’re going to make so that you can do that thing that you love, and that will make you feel so much better day in and day out. If you’re doing something you love, you’re more likely to put in the work required to grow that into something, whether it’s your own thing or whether if you’re working with a company.
Anybody has seen Bohemian Rhapsody? There’s that one scene when Freddie Mercury, he wasn’t even being called Freddie Mercury at the time. He just had joined the band. You could always see like the wheels are always turning in his head. He’s like, “What we need to do is record an album.” Everybody’s like, “Where are we going to get the money for that?” He’s like, “How much do you think we can get for your van?” In his mind for his passion, there’s nothing zero he wouldn’t sacrifice, including his band members.
Salah: Because this could happen to anybody, have life-changing events, in between everything that’s going on work, life, family, it’s good to enjoy the time to be thankful for what you have, one. Two, I would say in between everything, find the time to do things you enjoy. That’s my message as well. It’s not rocket science, but you have to find a way to enjoy and do the things you like in between everything that’s going on. That takes your mind away a little bit of things that are going on in your life. Be thankful and enjoy things you like.
Joe: Tracy?Things will not always go your way; be flexible and adapt. Click To Tweet
Tracy: I’m a little bit along the lines with what you’re saying, Joe. Taking the time to contemplate, journal it, visualize it, sketch it. I use a sketchbook all the time. Mostly it ends up words in there, but there are pictures all drawn in there too. It’s mixed media. It’s always right next to me. It’s always there. I carry it with me everywhere and I’m always making notes. t’s not even about it. Sometimes I barely review it. It’s part of the contemplation process for me, almost meditative. It’s the writing part and doing all that. Contemplating what would you love. I have an entire podcast company and business because I hated the whole production process.
It was like, “I don’t want to do this. How do I get myself out of this?” As you contemplate the innovation of how you can do things and how you can stop doing things comes to you. That’s where you can move faster when you’re visualizing what you would love, you can visualize how you can get there. There’s this path, it starts to unveil itself right in front of you. Ideas come. People present themselves. You hear something that you pick up an article, you click on something that you wouldn’t have clicked on before because you’re have an active contemplation of that. For me, that’s been the key to everything we’ve done and how we’ve continually move forward is always taking that active contemplation role on everything that I want. It all narrows down into this, “What would I love? Sometimes what don’t I love? What do I want to get rid of where my problems are?” Focusing on that, to moving it to a place so that there isn’t anything in my day that I hate, that I dread. There isn’t anything about it. Folding kids’ laundry, that might be the one little thing. There are always those things in life.
Joe: It reminds me of Leonardo da Vinci, always keeping his notes, both the drawings. I’m midway through his biography. You remind me.
Tracy: Someone asked me on a podcast, “Who from history would I love to interview?” I said, Leonardo DaVinci because of that reason. Sometimes there are these notes and you don’t know what he was thinking when he wrote it, but he was in the midst. It’s an external cognition. I want to know what it means. I would love that.
Joe: He wrote backwards too. He wrote from right to left and in a mirror image.
Tracy: Maybe he didn’t want to share it and didn’t want to share secrets out, Joe.
Joe: He didn’t like the way the pen bled if he wrote the other direction because he was lefty.
He might be only one that thinks that if we went back and interviewed some people from the past that the answers wouldn’t be as exciting as we think they would be. I feel like if I had a chance to interview Van Gogh, he would be like, “I wanted to paint some people and they were eating potatoes. I decided to paint. I wasn’t starting a movement or anything. I just like to paint.” I have two things. One, I’ve already talked about. Unless you’re deathly afraid of it, get around the water. At our vacation, we went deep sea fishing and we didn’t catch much. We all pitched in with the captain and he took us another 50 miles offshore. I won’t get into the amount of fish we caught because it was unbelievable, but I will tell you that the water out there off the coast of Florida, 65 miles off the coast was this deep Sapphire blue like I’ve never seen. It was mystical.
All I wanted to do was dive into it. Contrast that with maybe there are a couple of companies that you can fly into. The only way you can get to these lakes in Canada is you fly in. A lot of times, nobody has ever been there before. When you’re standing at the foot of a lake, it’s like a piece of glass and you can see all the way to the bottom and you’re out in the middle of nowhere and there’s nobody around you. There’s something about that. If you haven’t had a chance to get in or around the water, Big Boxers, even if it’s going out and jumping in your pool or somebody else’s pool, go do that.
Second, when you’re journaling, when you’re writing, when you’re contemplating, I want you to think about the things that bring chaos to your life. They could be the littlest things. They could be that there are too many magazines on your magazine rack in the bathroom. Maybe you have too many bottles underneath your sink. There’s a ton of things that bring chaos to your life. Sometimes they’re so little that you don’t know how they’re affecting you until you get rid of it. There’s this unbelievable piece every time you walk into the bathroom and there are six magazines in there, you’re like, “It’s so amazing.” One of the things I’ve been focusing a lot on is the things that bring chaos and trying to eliminate those and to spend a lot easier than I thought. Take a look at those things and go get in or near the water and you’ll be all good.
Tracy: It sounds like you’re headed for a Zen year, Tim.
Chaos doesn’t necessarily have to do with clutter, although clutter I think brings chaos. One of my big things is putting things on the back burner, procrastinating things. They build up and then they create chaos in my life or a crisis and crisis is chaos. I work well in crisis mode, but it doesn’t do good things for me.
Tracy: You’re so smart in that, Tim, because we talked on an episode a long time ago about some of our daily practices in business and everything. One of mine is to keep a clean inbox and it’s because of the clutter and the chaos, making my mind stressed. It’s not like I do everything that’s in my email or answer every email, but it’s not in the inbox. For me, that’s the way I removed that chaos from my life. I figured a way to flag it. I figured a way to attract it. I’m positive I’m not missing anything, but it’s not actively in my mind because it sits there everytime I open it.
Joe, you’re going to know who this is because you set me up with an interview. She has that sparkling wine. She told me when I interviewed her was that the second she acts on her email, she archives it and it gives her peace of mind that it’s still there, but it’s just not in her inbox. It’s a lot harder to do than you think because you’re like, “What if?” The second when you search for it, it still comes right back up. Joe, wrap it up.
Joe: Thank you, everybody. Tim, thank you for letting me host this one. It’s been a pleasure. It’s very important some lessons from here. Gratitude makes sure that you’re not taking things for granted and be happy with the things that you have. We expect that things will not always go your way, be flexible and adapt to that. Get near the water. What rang through this discussion was the importance of self-reflection, whether that be in the form of journaling or finding that peace and quiet to think and take the time. Most important from all of this is every once in a while, take some time and slow down a little bit. Thank you, everybody, for indulging me. Tim, I’ll hand it back to you to wrap it up.
Thanks, Joe. We appreciate it, the first other host than me on Flash Topic. You did awesome. Big Boxers out there, if you pray, I want you to say prayer for Salah and his family. If you don’t pray, please send them good thoughts and good vibes. I know that they can use that right now. As always, Big Boxers, thanks for reading. Thanks for making Flash Topic consistently the top ten most listened to episodes on On The Shelf. We appreciate it and we’ll see you next time.
Flash Topic 15 is done. What a good topic, balance. I know that balance is something that is this elusive thing that everybody is trying to achieve. Everybody is going, “I need a better work-life balance. I need a better balance in my life. I need more fun. I need more this, I need more of that.” Instead of trying to capture this elusive balance of people are looking for, I think you need to be happy in the things that you’re doing and be present in the things that you’re doing. When things fall out of balance is when you’re thinking about something else, when you’re doing something different. When you’re at home, you’re thinking about work. When you’re at work, you’re thinking about home. Your attention is not necessarily on the thing that you’re doing. That’s when I think that you’re out of balance. It’s not that you spent too much time here, too much time there. Not enough time over here, not enough time with this person. It’s when you’re with those things or in those things, you’re not actually there.
Instead of looking for balance, we should be looking for presence of mind or in the moment. I’m going to leave you with that. I’m interested in how you manage the work-life balance. Please comment. Let us know what you think, what you struggle with, how you’re handling your work-life balance. We can continue that discussion in our closed group on Facebook, On The Shelf Now closed group. You can hit join and we’ll get you in there. You can check us out on On The Shelf Now Facebook page or you can go to TLB Consulting Facebook page. There are all different kinds of ways that you can get ahold of us.
If you need to reach out to me, you can email me, Tim@TLBConsulting.com or Tim@OnTheShelfNow.com. If you want to book a coaching call, if you want to talk about your business, you want to talk about next year and how you are going to make some changes, feel free to go to TLBConsulting.com, under Consulting, you can book a coaching call right there. I’ll look forward to that. I appreciate each and every one of you. I wish the best for all of you. I hope you are pushing the ball forward each and every day. I’m looking forward to next time we get together. Until then, I look forward to seeing your products on the shelf.
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