Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mr Miyagi was wrong

If you know me well you know that I am a huge Karate Kid fan. I love the movie actually, I'm into the whole series of movies. And yes, I did like the new Karate Kid movie with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. Anyway, there are some good life lessons in the original Karate Kid movie. Wisdom from the old mentor Mr. Miyagi is worth considering and I have had one quote stick with me.

You remember the scene where Mr. Miyagi reminds Daniel about balance in life?


I use to think balance in life was key. I have to balance family and work and ministry and take care of myself. And all of those areas have areas that have to be balanced. It is difficult and many times a number of those areas would topple over because I could not balance any of them properly. But in my head balance in life is key. I had to make sure ‘all the plates kept spinning’ in order to accomplish what needed to happen.

Then it happened. I realized Mr. Miyagi was wrong. Balance in life is a myth.

I was in a great conversation a few weeks ago with a friend that opened my eyes to this. Looking at everything I am responsible for as a husband, father, technical director, let alone just my person. I would never be able to find balance. Balance by definition is equal distribution of amount to each area. No wonder I never felt like I was ‘winning’.

I had a lot of things I was consistently juggling but was trying to believe I was balancing them. Trying to both balance and juggle made me fail at both. Once I realized that I should have been juggling, I found freedom. I had to focus time where needed and constantly shift priorities to let that happen.

Juggling by definition is keep (two or more objects) in the air at one time by alternately tossing and catching them. Juggling is simply the manipulation of time and space to create the necessary patterns during a routine, or anything else in life for that matter.

Around The Crossing we call that ‘ebb and flow’, shifting our time and priorities around seasons of our ministry calendar and personal life. To be successful at this you have to have a good grip on your calendar and know what the day and week have ahead of you hold, and focus on one day at a time while you constantly reshuffle and reprioritize. You have to make sure that your ability to set boundaries is also up to par.

That may mean, in the tech world, if we have a long week of installing a system or have an event or seasonal worship experience coming up, we may have to drop some other responsibilities at work and even spend some long hours away from home to accomplish the goal. But then after that goal has been met, you must shift and reprioritize so you spend some extra time at home with the family and taking time to rest up the week after.

This is a biblical concept. Going all the way back to Genesis where on the seventh day God rested. He refocused his priorities. Consider Jesus, you see him pull himself away from people and ministry to grab time by himself…shifting his time and refocusing his priorities.

This whole juggling concept is freeing but you must figure out what your priorities are. For me it should look like this: God, wife, children, work and ministry. It is much more about spending quality time than the quantity of time. This forces you to be more disciplined and intentional about the time focused on each.

I would love to hear how you are putting this into practice in your life….or are you just realizing that Mr Miyagi was wrong too?

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8 Comments:

Blogger Todd Elliott said...

Great word, Bill. Unfortunately it is difficult to say no to all the great things we get to be a part of. I recommend that every tech person reads a chapter from Jack Welch's book "Winning" entitled "Work-Life Balance". It is full of great ideas and philosophies for balancing out your priorities.

April 5, 2011 at 12:24 PM  
OpenID wtelliott said...

Great word, Bill. Unfortunately it is difficult to say no to all the great things we get to be a part of. I recommend that every tech person reads a chapter from Jack Welch's book "Winning" entitled "Work-Life Balance". It is full of great ideas and philosophies for balancing out your priorities.

April 5, 2011 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Todd Elliott said...

I'm just going to keep filling up the comment section.

April 5, 2011 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Bill Swaringim said...

thats alright Todd, I have room for ya here. Just stop repeating yourself.

April 5, 2011 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger Isaiah said...

Thanks Bill!
That actually made a lot of sense to me. I, too, have struggled with finding a balance between the different areas of my life. But if I try to juggle them and shuffle and prioritize, life might get a little easier.
Isaiah

April 5, 2011 at 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

I appreciate this way of thinking. I am not great at multi-tasking (I blame God for making me that way :)
This juggling analogy gives me comfort - I am not failing at multi-tasking, I just do one thing at a time!

Thanks for the words.

April 6, 2011 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

I've also found Andy Stanley's "Choosing to Cheat" fairly inspiring about setting priorities in both work and personal life. As a tech it's so easy to get swallowed up in what we do, especially because it's fun. Having gotten married, I had to strike a balance. Being single it never really affected anyone but me, but now I have to look at it differently. Thanks for inspiring us to keep priorities in line.

April 8, 2011 at 1:41 AM  
Blogger Bill Swaringim said...

marriage changes everything, doesnt it Jason? "Choosing to Cheat" is a great read to help keep reminding us of those priorities.

April 8, 2011 at 11:51 AM  

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