Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

Escape From Excess – The Key to Life Balance


Here is a New Years Resolution we all can strive to attain. In my early childhood years, I can vividly recall my mother stating, “everything in moderation”. Although it was, and still is, a commonly used expression, it was not until later in life that I took the meaning to heart, and realized how important that phrase would become in regard to balancing the many different facets of my life. How many of us take that expression seriously? We all need too. When excess in one area of our life takes precedence over all others, the rest suffers. There has been a societal acceleration towards an interest in learning how to implement the work-life balance equation into our lives. Why is this? I believe this yearning for balance is a result of several factors.

One, the speed and amount of information that we as human beings are required to process everyday consumes much of our thoughts, energy and time. The velocity at which technology continues to advance will only add to this information download that we must contend with.

Two, the deterioration of society’s understanding of what it means to be successful continues to inundate our mindsets as a result of media influence. For example, if the media emphasis is directed towards only one aspect of life, such as money, then other areas our life suffer in regard to their perceived importance. Just reflect on how greed has consumed our society in many respects, and the horrific consequences that have occurred to our social and economic stability as a result.

Third, the inability for individuals to self-discipline, prioritize and time manage properly their daily activities. Without some form of time management how can one have the ability to allocate the appropriate time and energy to the aspects of one’s life that need to be addressed? If I do not organize and implement some form of structured approach in building balance, then chaos and disorganization reign supreme.

Do you know anyone who is obsessive with a certain aspect of his or her life? How about someone who buys too much, drinks too much, exercises too much, video games too much, sits on the couch too much, pretends they are something they are not too much, eats too much, mows their lawn too much (oops, caught myself), works too much, and many other things too much? We may enjoy what we obsess on, but it is imperative that we ensure the obsession does not create excess stress because we neglect other aspects of our life that require attention and responsible actions. I sincerely believe that it has been the need for excess, from corporate executives, politicians, and even elements of our own citizenry that has created the economic disaster and democratic disintegration we are presently witnessing in our society. On a national scale, I believe if we do not take a step back and re-prioritize societal values, stress the importance of substance of character rather than the possession of things, and stop encouraging excess to substitute for our own insecurities, we are on a path of self-destruction. It is up to each and every one of us to encourage personal responsibility for our lives, strength of character for our children and recognition that we cannot ignore an understanding of the importance of balancing the many aspects of our lives. So what can we do?

Well, let me be sequential once again. One, answer what are the aspects of your life that you feel are important to fulfill your life? Are those life priorities financial, physical, spiritual, familial, social, emotional, and/or career oriented? Two, how are the priorities of your life prioritized? Are they in balance in regard to the time dedicated to succeed at those items you feel to be important? Three, are there aspects of your life that are suffering? If the answer to question three is “yes”, then you are on the path to becoming aware that there is action to be taken. The most important action step for those who believe the balance topic to be important is to acknowledge that you may not be in balance in the first place. Too come to grips with this awareness will provide the motivation to take the steps necessary to bring about greater happiness, contentment and an wonderful realignment of the basics that bring to fruition personal fulfillment.

Questions For Life


During interactive portions of my training much of the audience participation occurs as a result of questions I ask them directly. I am sharing several of those questions with you because of the potential impact they may have on your life when you answer them. The first is of the most importance and that is, “What do you want to be remembered for?” If you are able to respond with an answer to this question, then hopefully you are living a life that is a reflection of that answer. I speak to numerous CEO groups where most of the members are responsible for many employees and millions of dollars. It is always interesting to observe the internal struggle they encounter when posed this question. The answer is so important, because if I have no idea what I might want to be remembered for, then what is the purpose of the life path I am traveling? It is interesting to note that I have never remembered an individual, and the positive impact they have had on my life, based on what they owned, or how much money they had. It has always been the character, values and example the individual has demonstrated that remains the most meaningful and indelible memory of that person.

The second question is, “Why do people follow you?” I am not asking you to think of characteristics of leadership that you feel are important for leaders to be effective. If that was the question, you could provide a plethora of responses. What I am asking is, what leadership characteristics do you possess as an individual that inspires others to respect, admire and look up to you? Is it your passion, fairness, empathy, attitude, determination, and/or kindness? It is extremely important to take a moment and reflect on your behavior traits that positively impact those around you. If you do not know what you do well, then how can you build upon your personal and professional strengths and attributes?

A final question is, “How do you motivate others?” More specifically, “How do you motivate your children, friends, colleagues, employees, and the person you are in love with?” The way you motivate others is you make those around you feel valued. When we walk through the front doors of our place of work do we feel like valued people or just personnel? When my children come home do they feel like valued young adults or just kids? When I see my wife after a week on the road do I make her feel like a valued human being or just a number? I will share with all of you if I treat my employees like personnel rather than valued people they are less motivated to work hard and go the extra mile. If I treat my children like kids rather than valued young adults they are less motivated to listen to their father. If I treat my wife like a number rather than a valued human being she is less motivated to support me, or my career. Without question, the work place is more productive, a family more harmonious and a society more humane when we all take steps to make others feel valued. Take a moment or two to make those around you feel valued. This can take place with something as simple as expressing an amount of appreciation for their efforts, or sharing with them an acknowledgement of a leadership characteristic you believe they possess. I have turned around the low morale of organizations by having colleagues share with one another positive attributes about each other. As a result those who have been on the receiving end of those comments are more dedicated and committed to the organization and their colleagues, because they feel valued and needed. Take a moment at the dinner table some night and ask the children to share a positive attribute about their sibling. I will guarantee you those siblings will be more committed to, and bonded with, one another after that interaction. Enjoy the pleasure of motivating and encouraging those around you. It is forever appreciated

Friday, August 14, 2020

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