In his book The Juggling Act: Bringing Balance to Your Faith, Family, and Work, Pat Gelsinger, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Intel Corporation, explores how he tries to balance the demands of career, family, and God. As a result of his experiences that he shares throughout this book, he's devised a business plan that enables him to lead a more balanced life. He admits freely that the emphasis should be on the word “try” as he recounts some times when he got unbalanced by deviating from this plan.
He begins by establishing a personal mission by asking some key questions. What do you want to accomplish in life and how do you want to set the course that will get you there? What are your personal values? He notes that we tend to forget that time is such a precious commodity, adding that we should use this valuable resource in ways that line up with our values and goals.
Once the personal mission is determined, the next step is to establish your priorities in three areas:
- God: How do you maintain your relationship with God? Gelsinger recommends that you select routine areas of your daily life that will encourage and remind you to spend time every day with God.
- Family: Boundaries must be established along with a willingness to make tradeoffs between work and family, so it is clear to your family that they are your priority. Pat recounts in his book instances where he prioritized his family over a pressing work assignment. While this decision was often met with resistance from his superiors, he observes that over time, this decision made his family stronger without jeopardizing his career.
- Work Hard: While Pat encourages people to be a great employee, he reminds Christians that they are not working for an individual or a company, but, rather, they are working for God.
So that one can keep these three priorities in order, Pat recommends creating a network of mentors that can help keep you on track. He recommends being on the lookout for those who can serve as mentors and peers, as well as those you can mentor. He finds that these relationships provide an accountability structure that help keep him on the path towards achieving his personal mission statement.
Once one has these three priorities in balance, then you can be in a position to be a clear witness on your job. Here Gelsinger asks if you should be visible about your faith in the workplace and if so, he offers some suggested guidelines for sharing your faith. He emphasizes that he did not actually share his faith as a Christian until he had proven over time that he was an excellent worker, adding that your stellar work performance will give you credibility should the opportunity present itself for you to share your faith at work.
Questions for personal reflection, online discussion, or small groups:
- What is your mission plan? (If you haven't devised one, what are the obstacles preventing you from creating this plan?)
- What priority do you give to God in your mission plan?
- What are signs that your priorities are unbalanced?
- What do you feel you can do to get yourself back in balance?