Work-life balance is tough for everybody including public speakers. 

It’s hard to maintain relationships when you’re always on the road. Nevermind social media, it’s challenging to stay in contact with colleagues and loved ones when you don’t sit still for five minutes. But it’s vital to make time and be thoughtful with travel and commitments. Otherwise, you’ll miss valuable moments to connect.

That’s why I attempted to see people in New York City, this week. Before I spoke to the patrons of the New Museum, I spent an hour with my ex-boss and future nursing home roommate. Then, after I went on stage, I had a late-night dinner on the lower east side with my niece and nephew.

Because I departed from my introverted work-related routines, I showed up to my speaking gig without my notes. Afterward, I went to dinner in a manic haze and had a difficult time falling asleep when I got to my hotel room around midnight.

But relationships are more important than careers. While it’s tempting to invest all of your time and energy into your job, you need people in your life who will take your phone calls, answer your texts, and bail you out of jail. I call those people my “core four” who will always be there no matter the time or distance.

If you don’t have four close relationships in your life, you have work to do.

And I have work to do with my life. Seeing people before and after work shouldn’t feel disruptive, which is why I want to practice being “social” before and after my events. If I’m living a wandering life, I need people around me who make it less lonely. Can’t lecture people about the “core four” if I’m avoiding social interaction on the road.

So, here’s to better work-life balance in 2018 for all of us including public speakers. If you’re lucky enough to have kick-ass friends and family as I do, making those connections gets easier and more comfortable with practice.

Late-night chips and guacamole — with a lot of laughter — helps! 

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