Work/life balance is something we all must manage.  Some manage it better than others do.  Regardless, the challenge never disappears for anyone.

When Joseph Pitt Hyde III was CEO of AutoZone, he struggled with work/life balance.  In 1996, diagnosed with prostate cancer, he seriously reevaluated how he was managing his work/life balance.  Fortunately, Hyde conquered his cancer and took a few lessons with him.  Hyde describes how he changed (Dinah Eng “Interview: Putting AutoZone Into Drive” Fortune, August 12, 2013, pp. 17–18):

Back when I was 26, the business consumed every waking moment, and I missed a lot of things with my two older children.  After leaving AutoZone, I made it a point to take my younger children to school every morning, and attend their activities.  I spend more time now with my wife, Barbara, the older children, and their kids.” (p. 18)

Hyde encountered the cancer scare before he decided to make meaningful changes in his life.  That happens often . . . unfortunately.  I say “unfortunately” because it is saddening when people require a frightful experience to put their lives in perspective.

I think a better way exists.  That way is to wake up every day and newly appreciate the people around you, your opportunities, and the gift of your life.  That mindset can make the difference between a life of fulfillment and a life of regrets.

Hyde took home another valuable lesson from which we can benefit.  This lesson involves time management and significance.  Hyde gained a better understanding of how important it is to major on the majors and minor on the minors:

If you spend 80% of the time on the big things, and 20% on the small things, life will be much more meaningful.” (p. 18)

To do this successfully and consistently, you have to know what your priorities should be.  Sometimes you have to think long and hard about your priorities.  Sometimes you have to change your priorities.  Nevertheless, if you can establish correct priorities, then that 80/20 rule will pay big dividends.

I admire Hyde for the changes he made.  I think they were good changes.  However, shouldn’t we all make those changes before the cancer scare?

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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