in life

Getting that (Balanced) Swagger Back

“If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tracks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence?” – Liz Danzico

Balance. Today, and every day after, I am going to make a conscious effort to regain that (balanced) swagger back in my life.

I’ve spent the last week of my life being totally unplugged. Not ‘kind of disconnected’ – but literally without Internet and barely having phone service. It’s the first time I’ve been in that situation since, well, ever.

And after camping with Canadian hippies, drinking entirely way too much, and listening to amazing music at the Gorge in Washington State (one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been) – I’ve relearned an extremely valuable lesson. One that can only be learned after being thrust into a situation that truly forces you to live in the moment.

I’m talking about balance.

The kind of balance that says it’s okay to not answer emails after 5pm. The kind of balance that says I don’t need to take on every single client that comes my way, even if it means a smaller paycheck next month. The kind of balance that says I need to get away and recharge more often.

We talk about work/life balance a lot, but it’s safe to say that most of us aren’t practicing what we preach. Most of us don’t know what it would even be like to not have access to the outside world for a week. Many of you would probably gone on withdrawals if it meant you couldn’t see your inbox for even 24 hours.

But here’s what I learned on my tech-hiatus:

  • The world goes on without you. Everything that you think is urgent – all of the issues you think need to be dealt with this very instant, being away makes you realize that people can carry on without you being accessible 24/7. Today, as you approach your to-do list, and as tasks continue to come your way, take a deep breath and think things through before you respond/take action.
  • Live in the moment. About a year ago I had the pleasure of meeting Colin Wright - a real life Carmen Sandiego who travels all over the world as an entrepreneur. As we all talked about our iPhones and Blackberrys, Colin talked about his regular old flip phone and why having an ‘old school’ phone forced him to be much more present and aware, instead of having his head down staring at a phone 24/7.

Being without my phone for the past week has forced me into being so much more aware of my surroundings. The sights, the sounds; I was able to experience everything so much more without distractions – and that clarity and “break” from being wired in allows you to be so much more effective when you are on the job.

In today’s world, it’s damn near impossible to disconnect completely. It takes discipline on your part to hit the off switch and step away. But it can be done. You may be missed while you’re away, but I promise everything will be just fine when you decide it’s time to plug back in.

Todays’ post is part of #Trust30, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself (I’m honored to be one of the authors, with my prompt going up on June 5). As bloggers, we’re constantly writing about things happening around us – but for the next 30 days, take some time to look inward and be a part of this amazing initiative.

Add Your Voice


  1. Love this…..things really will be ok when we return :). I keep tabs on my ego voice, the one that tells me I should do this or shouldn’t do that…..I notice it as much as I can……..and I do more than my ego says I can, and I do less than my ego says I should….and this keeps me pretty damn balanced :).nmuch love!ngina

  2. Great post (as always), Matt! I love that I always know the latest and best blog challenges by reading your blog. You keep me updated. Totally joining in on #trust30. Love RWE.

  3. So true.nnExperienced this first hand the four days we were in the hospital when the little guy was born last summer. u00a0I literally didn’t walk outside the hospital until the afternoon of the third day. u00a0I left to go get some Portillos (if you’re from Chicagoland, you know why that’s the first place I went, heh). u00a0When I walked outside the hospital door, saw the traffic, the people, the cars, it was a surreal feeling. u00a0nnWe had been mostly cut off from the outside world, tending to our new miracle, but the world outside kept going full speed. u00a0Nobody out there had stopped or even flinched.nnAnd we were fine. u00a0Our lives kept going just fine after we left that hospital. u00a0We didn’t fall a few paces back, regress in our goals, feel left out.nnThe world kept turning.

  4. One of the hardest realizations to come to is the simple fact that the world goes on without you. We are so consumed with our parts that we forget that waiting a few hours/days to respond or to act is not going to make or break us. That having balance will make us more effective in our work and relationships and less stressed out overall. Great reminder to take a step back every so often and regain clarity and balance in our lives.

  5. Great post, Matt! We all need this reminder. I’ve been taking weekend internet sabbaticals (aside from Netflix occasionally!) for the past few months and its made an incredible difference in stress levels,u00a0my relationships have improved,u00a0and so has my overall quality of life.