Interested in Subscribing to our blog?
Work Life Balance: The Formula
Most Cameron-Brooks blog post topics address the junior military officer to business transition. I am mixing it up with this work-life balance post. The Cameron-Brooks Team asked me to write a personal post.
Last year, I held a leadership panel discussion with Cameron-Brooks Alumni on career management best practices. One of the panelists, Mike DeBock, explained he could not manage his career well unless he had balance in his life. He explained he follows the principles of the 5 F’s for balance. The 5 F’s include Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness and Fun. Mike has been wildly successful as an executive with NextEra Energy. You can watch and listen to the entire webinar here, where Mike and two other alumni share best practices in their personal and professional lives.
A Cameron-Brooks team member asked me to write a post on how I implement the 5 F’s in my life. So, here it goes.
I have prayer time every morning. I find that this centers me and connects me to what is really important. Work is stressful, and this time brings me back to my true purpose and what must be the center of my life. I also do my very best to make Sunday a day of rest and worship with my family. Additionally, I try to connect with people in my church, going to coffee during the week and sharing what is happening in our faith lives. I also try to share my time and talents through volunteer activities.
Early in my career, I had a difficult time prioritizing family, yet it is critical to work-life balance. Six years ago, I became intentional about relationships with my immediate and extended family. My parents and in-laws are aging, and my children are starting to leave the home. To be intentional, I first focus on my marriage. Fortunately for me, this is easy because my spouse, Susan, is so patient and available. When I am not traveling, we make it a priority to have dinner together even if I am home late. Most mornings, we are able to have at least 10 minutes of coffee together before I leave for work. This time brings us closer and ensures constant open communication.
I have one daughter in New Jersey and another in northern Indiana. We make it a priority to travel to see them. We also prioritize traveling to see my parents in Wisconsin and Susan’s family in Arizona. Adding all of that up, we don’t have time for the beach resort or European vacations. We are making a trade-off to have more time with family. Those more luxurious vacations will have their time.
I have two more children in high school and have only a few more years before they move on as well. They are so active it is hard to keep up with them, but I do simple things like making sure I get to their cross-country meets and have donuts with them afterward.
Speaking of family and being intentional, I am actually writing this post from my brother’s house in Minnesota. I flew here this morning to watch my niece and goddaughter play one of her last volleyball games. Being intentional and focusing on relationships.
I have lived beneath my means and made it a priority to save for the future as soon as I got my first paycheck from the Army. I save in the company 401(k), a personal retirement account, an emergency fund and college savings. For those of you who are younger, I cannot emphasize enough the power of compounding returns over time. The more you save now, the more likely you will have the financial means for retirement and larger purchases later. Additionally, as soon as Susan and I had children I saved for college. I am a lot less stressed about the cost of college than my peers because I saved early.
Susan and I also find ways to share our financial blessings. This also brings balance in our lives. Yes, of course, we also use our finances for fun. We enjoy a bottle of wine, improving our home, travel, good books and fitness activities. Like a well-balanced meal, we do a little of everything with our finances, and that keeps us healthy.
Most of you reading this are younger than me, and fitness probably means something different to you. Now that I am almost 50, I ask myself, what do I want to be able to do when I am 80? I want to play golf and still hit a 250-yard drive (though straight and not a slice like now), kayak, go for long walks, be able to get off the floor by myself, carry my own groceries, travel and more. To do that, I need to take care of my fitness now and be consistent. I do a mix of weight lifting and cardio 6 days a week and walk 18 holes or more of golf a week.
Exercise also provides many mental health benefits. My advice – figure out what you want to be able to do in 30+ years and start an eating and exercising plan now that supports those goals.
Most people describe me as serious and intense. When they think of fun, I am not the first person on their minds. For many years, I even struggled to have fun on vacation. I am sure my picture is next to the term “Wired Tight” in some Urban Dictionary. With age comes wisdom. I needed to find fun and more balance. I caught the golf bug about 3 years ago. Just in time for the pandemic! I not only enjoy the game, I really like the new people I have met at the local course. I also like reading good books, watching shows (romantic comedies or something like Ted Lasso) and sitting on my back patio with a glass of wine with Susan. Fun makes life a lot richer!
I did not incorporate the 5 F’s into my life until recently. I encourage you to consider how you can use this model to help you find balance in your life. The big takeaway for me is to be intentional. What is your intention with your Faith? Finances? Family? Fitness? Fun? Once you have the intention, then determine the layout of the actions you can take in each area to become the best version of you.
Cameron-Brooks is a Military-to-Business career transition specialist who partners exclusively with Junior Military Officers to launch rewarding careers in Corporate America.
We invite you to call us at 210-874-1500, check out our website, or follow us on YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. We have been helping JMOs launch successful business careers for over 50 years, and we have a wealth of resources including:
- “Master the Military-to-Business Transition” Webcast
- Transition Guides
- PCS to Corporate America Podcast
- Cameron-Brooks Blog
- One-on-One First Call Coaching