Saturday, March 18, 2017

On Work / Life Balance and Supporting Those You Love

Dear Readers,

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm an introvert and I like routine/being consistent more often than not.  Being introverted doesn't mean I'm shy or I dislike being around people.  Rather, it means that I tend to get drained very quickly when I go out and socialize for too long of a period.  I need a lot of down time and quiet surroundings to feel re-energized and to feel like myself again.  And the routine part means that I like being mindful with how I spend my time and am methodical about it.

Like almost everyone, regardless of profession, I struggle with work / life balance.  And most often in life, my largest struggles center around knowing the sweet spot of when is something too much versus too little.  At what point is something acceptable vs unacceptable?  Where do I draw the line?  Much of the time this also might look like a struggle between head and heart, logic and desire.  This, of course, not only affects me, but also those around me, especially my loved ones.

I wrote the following post at my 3rd blog site about how I've come to view work / life balance, my needs, in relation to others, their need for it, and how I support them.  If you read all the way through, you'll see that this post is relatable to anyone regardless of the lens I filter my personal story through.  And if I'm being really honest, it means the post was written as a reminder to myself when I I'm doing too much of one thing vs what I really should be doing.

I've pasted it for you here:

This Will Convince Your Wife or Girlfriend To Let You Play More Golf — From A Woman Who Loves A Golf Addict (Men, Forward This To Your Wives or Girlfriends)

Dear Golf Addicts & Their Ladies,
Before I met my dear boyfriend, I had never dated a golfer. I was like you, completely lost to the obsession of golf that men have with the sport. As a former outsider, it seemed less of a game and more of a long leisurely stroll, mainly, for nothing. It really seemed as though they were chasing a little white ball over here and over there and in between they were really just wanting an excuse to drink, smoke cigars, and hang out with their buddies. That might be the case with casual golfers. I thought to myself, if hanging out is really the point, just go on a hike with your buddies or we should just have a bar-be-que, throw a little party so all the wives and girlfriends could come too. So you might be wondering why I encourage my boyfriend to play as much golf as he wants.
When you are in love with a golf fanatic, it’s much different. It really is about their drive and love/hate relationship of wanting to improve their swing, their score, and that addictive chase of an amazing shot. It really is about “flow” where they are so in the zone, in the moment, in that space between where something is not so easy they get bored and borderline so hard they want to give up and pull out their hair. It’s that delicate balance of finding that right mix of good technique, a good strategy, vision, and feeling just challenged enough to chase the ultimate personal record which always seems so close, within reach, yet so far away.
If they are not playing every weekend or the entire weekend, they are practicing every single day — chipping and putting on the range, working on their short game. And it’s not just them being gone half of the day, it’s the obsession with the right club or the latest equipment. It’s as though looking at, buying, and collecting all the stuff is part of the obsession too. There’s also re-living with their buddies the best shot they ever hit or that one time when such and such happened, just insert that one same story [right here]. You know, the one that you can never relate to or understand what’s so funny.
To an outsider, golf just seems so boring compared to other sports. Where’s the excitement, the cheering and the yelling, the team camaraderie? No, in golf, if you tag along you have to be quiet, and observe so many rules, and be out in the hot sun or the cold wind. There’s no Jumbotron screen so you can catch all the action, see the instant replays, conveniently placed bathrooms, or 50 different counters to buy burgers, fries and ice cream.
But here’s what I’ve learned even before I met my dear boyfriend. Everyone, and I mean everyone, you, me, we all have something we’re obsessed with — yours might be marathons, crossfit, guilty-pleasure TV, yoga, reading, or your pet. And whatever your drug of choice is, I’m sure your boyfriend or dear husband, at the very least, loves to make fun of you for it. And at the very worst, hates having to hear you drone on about it or even join you when you’ve asked them to be next to you to watch/participate. And when they do agree, that one time a year or every 5 years, you’re so happy, even if they do it begrudgingly. Secretly he is hoping you’d just call your 20 girlfriends to gab about x, y, z instead.
Here’s what’s important to remember. Just like you, your man works. While you have your own career or are putting out fires as a stay-at-home mom and homemaker, or being a philanthropist, your man is out there at the office, out in the field, busting his a** doing what he does for a living. He works 40, maybe 50, 60+ hours a week sometimes. He provides for you, takes care of you, and is there for you in every way humanly possible. Because good men THRIVE on making their women happy, knowing he can please her. This might come as a big shock to you, but they really only live to have your respect. They want to impress you, have you be proud to be with them, and to make you smile. They want to be your superhero. They may not say this or have shown this at times, but that desire to know they make a world of difference in your life is there. If anything, the silent ones need and want this the most. It’s what gives them joy, a sense of accomplishment, and makes them feel like a man. If he can go out into the world and make an honest living and put a roof over his lady’s head or buy her a burger with cheese on it, he feels like a king. If he can make you laugh or share a fear knowing you will listen or feel that the spark between you two is so electric, it makes him feel alive and invincible. It’s YOU that makes him feel that way and no one else.
It’s known that men don’t have a lot of friends, or aren’t as close to their friends as women are with their best friends. It’s known that men aren’t allowed to be as open, emotional, or cry as much as women; it’s why statistically they die at a younger age than women. So trust me when I say he does EVERYTHING for you, in your name, as a demonstration of his love, to see your face light up and your eyes sparkle. Why? Because you are his Queen. You, the love of his life, are his world, his best friend, his confidante, his everything. So you might be asking what does this have to do with golf?!
Because here’s the secret. When you let men, people really, do whatever their heart desires, they get really happy. Your loved ones, they feel valued, validated, supported, and loved. They feel as though you see them for the unique individual that they are. They feel understood, heard, seen and cared for. And when they feel that way, they love you even more. I’m not saying you should do this because of what you’ll get in return. I’m saying you should do this because it’s the right thing to do and what you believe in. Because if you do it for any other reason besides that, he will know, and see right through your act. Be a good person, not because they are a good person, but because you are.
So how do you do it and also mean it? Have your own interests, be your own person, and go out and do something while he is golfing so that you are having just as much fun as he is. In every relationship, you have to have some independence and different hobbies. Otherwise, it just gets boring. Everyone also needs “me time.” You know the saying, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Will the world end if he plays golf on the weekend when he’s working Monday through Friday for you? Is it so terrible that he has the day all to himself to relax and do what he wants to do? What would happen if you happily let him go play as much as he wanted instead of him fighting to get out of the house? Try it one time, see what happens. I know, because I’ve tried it, even before I met my sweet, beloved golf addict.
Let’s do a quick math problem together. To play a round of golf, 18 holes, takes about 4 hours. Let’s pad it to 5 hours in case they like to show up early to warm up and practice on the golf range or the group in front of them is playing slow or someone shows up late. If you live in Los Angeles like I do and traffic is horrendous, let’s account for 1 hour of traffic each way. So now we are at 7 hours. Let’s add in another hour in case they eat lunch after 9 holes at the club house. Or even if they play straight through and eat between the holes from something from the golf cart snack lady, let’s keep that 1 hour cause maybe they want to have a nice cold drink and shoot the sh*t with their boys at the end of the day. So now we’re up to 8 hours of your man being gone to drive, play golf, and hang out. That’s a WORST-CASE SCENARIO, that your man is gone an entire work day to play golf.
We can also be very pragmatic. You work, your man works, so Monday through Friday you are each working and contributing to the managing the household and finances. Because your man is obsessed with golf, I’m going to assume he wants to play both Saturday and Sunday. Since there are 24 hours in a day, I think about it like this.
8 hours of sleep
8 hours of working or golfing
8 hours of free time
Granted, that’s a very rough breakdown because we get ready for work and have to commute so that might really only leave about 5 hours of free time each day Monday through Friday, that’s 25 hours. There is also 16 hours of non sleep time on Saturday and another 16 hours of non sleep time Sunday, 32 hours total. That’s a lot of free time. Are you telling me that your man can’t be gone for 8 hours on Saturday and/or Sunday to play golf if it leaves you 41 hours with him? 41 hours is a lot of hours. Being gone for 8 hours is the worst-case scenario because I doubled the 4 hours it takes to play 18 holes. If you have kids, he can play and come back after 5 hour or 6 hours. If he just wants to practice his short game he will be done in half that time. There are very few situations where letting your man leave for golf should be an issue.
If you’re going to have the argument of not having enough quality time with your man, relationship books say you only need 15 hours of quality time a week to have a close, intimate relationship. Quality time is defined as being together or doing an activity together that is engaging and you interact with each other, hopefully without cell phones or disruptions. Going to the movies or co-existing in silence does not count toward the 15 hours. Talking about the movie for 30 minutes afterward does. Catching up on your day over a meal counts, spending time with the kids counts, cooking together, jogging while talking together counts, date night counts, having a cocktail together at home counts. Almost any activity where you talk, laugh, share ideas, and actively enjoy each other’s company, and become closer counts. And those 15 hours can be spread out during the week. It can be two hours each night or any other configuration. The only goal is to have fun or a meaningful time together for 15 hours a week. It’s about giving each other your undivided, focused attention. So short of having a baby or if one of you is a raging workaholic, there is enough time for golf and quality time with loved ones. There is always enough time if, as a couple and a family, you have your priorities in order and do what is meaningful to you both.
There’s also give and take, push and pull in every relationship. So the more you get angry and upset that your man is playing too much golf, the more he will want to play to get away from your negative energy. The more you encourage him to go play, the more he will look forward to coming home to a positive and happy Queen. Encourage him to go play if for nothing else than to have time for yourself to go for a special mommy/daughter or mommy/son outing, a mani/pedi, a nap, or a massage or to take a long bubble bath, and catch up on whatever you wish. Treat yourself while he is out doing his thing and do a trade off. He gets to golf during the day while you go out with your girlfriends and he cooks dinner or watches the kids or tidies up the house at night.
Your man will come home happier, less stressed, and more energized to spend quality time with you. Accept him as he is. It will be easier to love him. While you may not believe me and everything that I’ve written, just trust me and give it time. While you adjust to the idea that if you let him play as much golf as he wants and worry he may never come home, just remember this saving grace. Golf can only be played during daylight hours. Hallelujah!
P.S. Golfers, don’t forget to forward this to your wives or girlfriend. Also, you’re welcome.



***New “rule” - when you ask me a question for anonymous advice and I answer it, could you write an anonymous comment so I know you're the one who ASKED and read the post?   :)

As always, I usually tweet any new posts I have. And anyone can email me questions and I respond only via this blog, not to your personal address.

I also write over at Jobstr.com under Hollywood Executive Assistant.

http://jobstr.com/threads/show/4303-hollywood-executive-assistant

2 comments:

  1. One of the best ways I know to find that balance is to have a find a trusted advisor: someone to cry with over catastrophes, celebrate successes and be a sounding board for those brave new ideas that feel just a little bit risky. A committed mentor or co-mentor can help you stay balanced while also staying on track toward your goals.

    Unfortunately, this sort of mentoring is too rare in the world of administrative professionals, but it's slowly changing.

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    1. Muser at Musings of a High Level Executive AssistgantJune 16, 2017 at 10:51 AM

      Tara - Thank you so much for this comment. I agree that having a mentor is great. They are so hard to find. I think the second best thing is to find a community of EAs which is usually a networking or professional group. Whether online or in person, having that support group really helps, even if it can't be one on one. You're right in that it's a growing trend in the admin world to get a mentor so I hope more companies are on board. I hope you have a great weekend and thank you for being a reader!

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