The ultimate balancing act... work/life - By Sam Allen; PGC

Work/life balance? What is that? Something myself and many others, maybe even you have been searching for.

I am a husband. I am a father. I am a leader. I coach basketball.

I love what I do and do what I love. I am truly living the dream.  But living the dream can be hard too.  It’s fun, exciting, challenging, frustrating, fulfilling. I am working on figuring it all out.

Back to that more in a moment.

I am blessed to be a husband to an amazing woman. My wife, Sarah, is everything I could ever want in a wife. She is smart, kind, caring, beautiful and loves me more than I deserve.

I have three amazing kids. I know everyone says that, but really I do. I have two sons that are seven and five years old. We recently welcomed our daughter, Katie Grace, into this world. She is four and half months old.

I GET to work for one of the premier basketball organizations in the world, PGC Basketball. There isn’t enough time for me to tell you how incredible it is to be around our PGC staff, who are so committed to excellence and growing each other, athletes and coaches around the world through the game. On top of that, I own and run Blue Collar Basketball, a basketball training business I started five years ago, fulfilling a dream and vision I had for years. We do player and skill development for middle school through college-age kids. We also provide off-season programs for high school and college teams, and have travel ball teams in our BCB organization.

My plate is full but I made that choice. Some days, weeks, months can be overwhelming. I can feel like the walls are closing in on me. I have moments of feeling like I am a “jack of all trades” but master of none.  At times I question if I should be more to fewer people.  I often teach athletes and fellow coaches the “less is more” approach. I sometimes find it hard to take my own advice, and I am working on that.

I used to always have people tell me, “You work so hard” or “You are the hardest working guy I know.” For years, I took great pride in this and I quietly was fulfilled by those comments and observations. Since Sarah and I started having kids and with maturity through time and experience, I have realized I want more than that. I still want to be known as someone who works hard and I want my kids to have great work ethic. I just don’t want that to be my sole or top quality as a man, husband, father and coach.  I want to be someone who makes a positive impact on those around me. I want to be a great husband, father, teacher and leader who possesses characteristics of love, care, compassion, passion and service. I am working on all these. I am always becoming these qualities.

Work/life balance.  For me, here is what I have learned. There will be times when there isn’t balance. If I had a 9-5 job and didn’t work weekends, then I guess I could have it. My schedule would be set and I could build my life around it accordingly. I would know my holidays and everything would be neat. Well, again for me, my life isn’t and has never been that way. It’s messy and complicated. And that’s okay –we have chosen that. I have stretches of time where I work early mornings to late at night and then travel on the weekends and I just don’t see my wife or kids much at all. I aim at stealing a lunch with my wife or taking my kids to a training session or practice that I am visiting for work purposes.  There is danger in playing life this way. There is always another email, text, phone call, tweet or post that I can do.  Like most in today’s world, smart phones can be both our greatest asset and liability. We can lose the ability to be present with human interaction from the people we love the most.

So, what do I do?

1) I tell my kids and wife every day how much I love them.  I hug them, kiss them and tell them sometimes daddy works hard because I want to make a difference in this world and provide a certain lifestyle for my family so that we can live and give unlike others. 

2) I put my phone away. A few years ago, when I pulled into my garage, I started leaving my phone in my car so I wouldn’t be tempted. I would not allow myself to get it until the kids went to bed or after Sarah and I had meaningful conversation.

3) I remind myself to be a husband first. It’s easy when you start having kids to put your kids’ needs at the center of the family. I have learned both through experience and mentors that you have to put your spouse first because the stronger your marriage is, the stronger your family is. By putting your marriage first, your kids will be better because of it. My wife and I still struggle with this as we love our kids so much.  However, if you forget to be married and focus on the marriage, the family will suffer and that is when difficulties can happen.

I am a husband. I am a father. I am a leader. I coach basketball.

And that is the order I want it to play out.

Sam Allen

@coachsamallen - twitter

sam allen.jpg