It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Jason Groupp!
Howdy folks! I hope youâ€™re having a great summer! Here in NYC I feel like weâ€™ve had a bit more rain than in the past, but all in all itâ€™s been a very pleasant season, albeit a fast one! I feel like we were just celebrating Memorial Day, and now Iâ€™m suddenly busy preparing for Photoshop World in just a few weeks! Yikes! If you come see me speak, I promise to fill your head with loads of information about OCF (Off Camera Flash) geekiness, but today Iâ€™m going to talk to you about that moving target we call the work/life balance. So if youâ€™re here today to learn about the difference between an f/stop, and the bus stop you should move directly to this class. ;-)
â€¦.youâ€™re still here?! GREAT! Letâ€™s talk about that work/life balance. Come in a little closer, Iâ€™m going to let you in on a secretâ€¦closer, closer. Sorry kids, whomever told you can have a wonderful life filled with happy, joyous days with your family AND run a fruitful, cash $$ money business while you skip and run into the distance riding a unicorn over the rainbow is either a lunatic or has just figured out the right pharmaceutical medley to keep them happy while theyâ€™re most likely screaming on the inside.
So why go on this rant you ask? Why am I trying to crush your mellow? In the words of Lynn Cartia, â€œIâ€™d like to take this moment to bring it WAAY down.â€
For those of you who donâ€™t know me, my name is Jason Groupp, and Iâ€™m the Director of Education and Membership for WPPI/Rangefinder and PhotoPlus Expo/PDN (Oct 29 – Nov 1).Â I am also a photographer of 25 plus years, mainly weddings with a smattering of commercial and editorial work over the years.Â Going from my studio every day to an office has been one of the weirdest, most jarring experiences of my life and has forced me to make some lifestyle changes, while at the same time trying to manage the artist ego inside who needs to stay creative, andâ€¦oh yeah, I have a beautiful wife, and two nutty children ages 5 and 7. Managing three different lives at the same time, clocking nearly 55,000 miles on United this year, trying to be the best Dad in the world AND desperately trying to find the energy to be creative has proven to be a phenomenal challenge. Did I mention that I like to workout at least 4 days a week?
Thereâ€™s a scene in Goodfellas where Ray Liotta is trying to manage all these errands, and still put on a face that heâ€™s in complete control. He keeps complaining about this helicopter flying above him and this weird feeling like something is going to go wrong, and it does. Of course heâ€™s crazed out on drugs, and thatâ€™s part of the problem, but at a certain point his work/life balance comes crashing down to a halt in epic proportions. He failed.
Okay, so Iâ€™m hoping most of you donâ€™t have DEA agents flying over you watching your every move, but Iâ€™m sure most of you have felt like Ray (minus the drugs) at some point in your lives. We all have that moment when we think we can outsmart reality, and it all comes abrupt stop, and realize itâ€™s time to change.
Now donâ€™t beat yourself up! Iâ€™m here to tell you itâ€™s okay. Wait, if I did I would then be that crazy person who tells you can have it all. You canâ€™t. But thatâ€™s OK. Iâ€™m here to tell you itâ€™s OK. ;-)
This past weekend I had one of those moments. My wife and I do a great job ofÂ â€œdividing and conqueringâ€ as we like to call it. This includes general errands, dropping/picking up kids, play dates and stuff like that. A typical weekend includes early morning runs, followed by trips to the dry cleaner, supermarket, and some kind of kid-friendly activity to finish the day off. However, this past weekend there was quite a few more adult things that needed to be done, including calling several contractors, replacing tires on both cars, finding a new mechanic, and coordinating multiple birthday parties drop-offs, etc. Â As we sat eating our breakfasts Â my daughter says, â€œOMG, thereâ€™s a cat stuck in our tree.â€ Sheâ€™s got a great imagination, so we laughed, but then she repeated, â€œNo really, thereâ€™s a cat stuck in the tree!â€
With that one sentence, I knew at an instance, this would be the thing that completely derailed our weekend. The next several hours included phone calls to the police, animal control, fire department, and of course visits from our neighbors, all offering advice that was completely unhelpful. I looked at my wife and said that we donâ€™t have time for a cat stuck in the tree! â€œWe have all of these errands to run, plus I have to write an article (this one!) for Kelby, plus I was going to edit some images later.â€ She smiled at me and said â€œYes, but thereâ€™s a cat stuck in the tree.â€
At that moment I realized the stress of trying to get it all in wasnâ€™t going to happen, my plan had failed, and that was okay.
Hereâ€™s ten things I do to help keep my sanity, none of them get me to achieve a work/life balance, but helps maintain a large enough bucket to keep the water out of our sinking ship.
1 â€“ Recognize the warning signs. At some point you know you canâ€™t get it all done, and you have to let it go.
2 â€“ You canâ€™t be good at everything all the time, but you can be good at what you are doing right now. Focus! Focus is the key.
3 â€“ The â€œPlay like a champion todayâ€ Notre Dame football motto can apply to everything you do. Prioritize, and conquer. When youâ€™re food shopping, do that, â€œIâ€™m shopping like a champion today,â€ â€œIâ€™m buying tires for my car like a champion today.â€
4 â€“ Be present for your family. This is the hardest one for me. You can still drag your kids around to do the errands, but make the time to look into your kidsâ€™ eyes and listen. Too often I find myself on a business trip missing my family feeling guilty about not spending enough quality time with them. The cat stuck in the tree really made me think about how our lives need to be more balanced.
5 â€“ Call in sick once in a while! Do it!
6 â€“ Throw something out! Or donate it to someone who wants it. Clearing out clutter is awesome.
7 â€“ Call your Mom. Well that doesnâ€™t achieve a work/life balance, but she wants to hear from you.
8 â€“ Kill your television. Thereâ€™s nothing good to watch on it, and you are wasting too much time looking at it.
9 â€“ Go read a book. It will keep you sane, and it will keep your brain alive.
10 â€“ Make some plans to do something fun. John Lennon said, â€œLife is what happens when youâ€™re making plans.â€ GO MAKE SOME!
Iâ€™m not sure if this was a helpful article, but it was cathartic for me to write. Now and again there comes a time in your life when you get a cat stuck in the tree and Iâ€™m here to tell you itâ€™s OK. You are not going to find the balance; all you can do is manage the fallout. Trick is to manage it like a champion. Itâ€™s OK!