People with busy work lives often find themselves sacrificing other aspects of their lives to meet the demands of their work. Your social life, your own health and fitness, your family. All may be at risk of being sacrificed.

Sometimes it seems that professionals at the absolute pinnacle of their career have only been able to achieve such heights by making the type of sacrifices others would find unacceptable. The reported ruthlessness and unrelenting ambition of Kerry Packer and Steve Jobs comes to mind.

If a legacy of enormous professional success at the expense of a loving family and good friends is not one you wish to leave, you may be asking the question: is it possible to have success without the sacrifice?

I believe the word ‘sacrifice’ should go hand in hand with the word ‘balance’. By now, most of us have become bored and a little frustrated with the elusive concept of ‘work-life balance’. I think this now famous TED Talk goes a long way to restoring the concept’s credibility. From time to time, we all have to make sacrifices in our lives. When an office deadline is looming, work may be all you can fit in for a few days, or even weeks. When your child is sick and needs your care and attention, client meetings have to be cancelled. The trick is to acknowledge and accept that every day (or even every week or month) is not going to be perfectly balanced. That is an impossibility. Our lives have natural ebbs and flows. The skill lies in being able to recognise when you are out of balance and to take steps to realign. It doesn’t mean dumping the office project part way through, but it does mean taking an extra long weekend away with your family when the project is finally complete.

Sacrifice is unavoidable on the path to success, but when you or those around you start to resent that sacrifice, something has to change. Be aware of what you’re sacrificing and remember to adjust and restore the balance when you can. In the meantime, rest easy: there will only ever be one Kerry Packer.

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