How do you define success?

yin-yang-symbolJust recently I read an article about Tom Cruise, his work ethic, and how he treats the people on set. It was refreshing to read about a celebrity who seems to appreciate the fact that without those un-famous people, you don’t have a career as a movie star. Aside from his kindness to others, Cruise is reported to give 100% effort, always showing up to set fully prepared and ready to do his job. He doesn’t do anything half-way. He pushes himself to the limit, never settling for anything less than perfection. You have to wonder if his impeccable work ethic comes at the cost of his personal life?

I’m also a hard worker. Maybe a work-aholic even. I have a tendency to take on too many projects and spread myself too thin. I stay up late at night, trying to cram a little more work into my day. I become nervous if I have to be idle, waiting at an appointment, or stuck in traffic. I listen to TV while I work, I rarely watch. Sleep used to seem like a waste of time.

I’ve had to work hard on changing my ways. Is that a pun?

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right? Balance is the key to success, health, happiness, longevity, everything really. If you don’t get enough sleep, your heart and brain suffer. Your health declines. If you don’t get enough excercise, the same thing. If you don’t have your health, what do you have? Not much.

This year, I’ve made it a goal to cut back my projects to those few most important, and say no to anything new until I’m done with the current batch. It’s been a good decision so far, but difficult at times.

Ultimately life is short, and you can’t take any of the “things” with you. All you carry with you is the love of family and friends. The material possessions you leave behind won’t mean more than the memories you make while you’re here.

So, to me, creating balance between hard work and quality time with your family is the true definition of success.