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This business episode teaches professionals how to balance their work and personal life.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • "There's no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, you make them and they have consequences."
  • Lesson Nugget: Be on the same page as your loved ones about what you need to accomplish in your work to achieve your goals.

pluralsight.com for balancing life and business, business mentors


-My name is Clay Clark. And today I'm joined with a business mentor who has been very successful during his career. A guy who started with nothing and has now built up just an empire of multiple businesses. He has 200 something employees, he's a successful venture capitalist, he's a successful optometrist.

His name is Dr. Zoellner andas a businss mentor he's going to be teaching us specifically about how to find that balance of faith, family, finances, relationships, and just keeping your physical body in shape. It can be challenging when you have a lot of things going on, but he's going to teach us specifically his methodology, his strategy, and his system for maintaining a balance of life in all those areas.

At Thrive15.com, we believe that knowledge without application is meaningless. So as you're watching today's episode, go ahead and take the time needed to ask yourself, what do you need to do to specifically apply these principles in your own life and business? Otherwise, today's episode may just prove out to be more meaningless than putting your iPad on shuffle and then skipping to the song that you want. Dr. Z.

-Hey, Clay.

-Hey. Awesome to see you, my friend.

-Always a pleasure to be around you.

-I-- I usually enjoy when our encounters involve a candle here and then some large chairs.


-There's a certain glow here.

-Yeah, the rich mahogany leather and the--

-It's incredible. I feel like we're in a castle here. So here we go. We're going to get into it. We're talking about the balancing act about faith, family, finances, relationship, and your physical body.

-Oh my gosh. The secrets, the secrets of life.

-So Dr. Z, rumor has it that you own and invest in at least one company. Is this true?

-That would be true.

-And I--

-I have five start-ups that I started up that I own. And then I own a piece of or advise or am a part of about five others, so.

-So strong rumor-- you also have a incredible wife of 30 years, who just turned 30 too. A weird deal.

-I-- do the math. It's kind of-- yeah, it is weird.

-It's hard to figure that out. But she-- so 30 years you've been married, though.


-Three kids.


-OK, so let's be real. When you started your first business, take us back in time. You're kind of financially struggling. You're living below your means. Is there a time that you ever thought you wouldn't make it?

-No. You know, I mean, there were maybe times that I questioned what I was doing, you know, because the first year out of school, I worked for the people. And, you know, whenever you know you're really an entrepreneur in your heart, you know, that that's your make and model, that's your DNA, working for other people can be challenging, because you know, you're kind of going, man, I wouldn't do it this way or I would do it that way or oh, he's an idiot or that's not good.

You know, as you go through it, you look at it and you go, what am I doing, what am I doing? I remember oh yes, I'm doing this because I have no money and this is a job and that's how you make money.

-So you get a job, you live below your means.


-You're basically-- but you're financially in a tough spot.


-Now Jack Welch--

-Out of college. You have no money, grew up poor, so I mean, I'm-- yeah. I'm sitting there just scratching and clawing.

-I love that you love Jack Welch. And I'm going to read you one of his quotes. This is-- for those of you who don't know, Jack Welch is one of the top CEOs of all time. This guy took over GE when they were just sort of floundering. And then he took it to the next level. Unbelievable.

And he says this, "There's no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices and you make them, and they have consequences."


-You agree with that?

-Yes, just the-- just the other day, I had a young couple in here that I've been kind of mentoring and coaching on. And we've been buying and flipping homes and doing some other stuff. And so he-- he asked me the question that most young, or a lot of young men that I'm mentoring ask me.

They go, when do you know you've worked too much? When do you know that your-- you need to be home? When do you know that it's not OK to skip a soccer game? When do you know that fill in the blank.

And I looked at him and I said, well here's the good thing about it. Since you're married, you're going to have someone called your wife that's going to let you know, because that pendulum will swing over here and you're going to work, work, work. And then all of a sudden, you're going to hear this little, come home.

-Well, it's usually not that exact tone.

-Well, true. And then you come home.

-Do you ever get in the dog house?

-Oh yes, of course. But it's-- the thing about it is it's that balance. And you're never down the middle. You know, you're always askewed one way or the other, it seems like. And your family will-- is very good about letting you know, hey dad, remember us.

-OK, so here are some-- some people watching this are from the Judeo-Christian background. Some people, let's say some guys are Buddhist. I don't know what the deferral religions are.


-But in the Christian Bible, it says, God created the Earth in six days-- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. And Sunday he's off. That was the idea. He took a day and rested. I know a lot of people that say, well as a Christian, that's the work ethic. We work six days a week, because that's-- they kind of bind to the sixth day principal.


-Other people I know from different-- I know one group of people, they were actually Asian Americans and I talked to them. And they work seven days a week.


-And they live at the-- they physically live at the business.


-No issue with it. That's just their cultural thing.


-So in your mind, what is the number? Six days?

-Well, I think--

-Seven days? How often were you working when you started?

-Seven days.

-Seven days?


-What was your wife-- what was sweet Carrie saying? Was she saying, hey, you know. Was she there with you?

-Go make it happen. Go make it happen, cap'n.



-She was encouraging you.



-Because here's the deal. She knew that me working and me-- every day I worked, we were a day closer to our goals.

-So you both had goals.


-You guys talked about them.


-OK, so even though when you're working hard, do you take time-- do you take her on dates? Do you take her on dates?

-Yes. We try to do date night. We have done habitually date night, you know, all of our life.

-That's awesome. That's awesome.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Lesson Nugget: You must balance work, family, and personal life or them will suffer.
  • Ask Yourself: Do I set aside time for ongoing learning?
  • Lesson Nugget: Schedule a specific time for your priorities in life, and let everything else fall into the free times in between.
  • "Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving." -Albert Einstein


-So how did you strike a balance alternately between faith, family, finances, relationships, and your physical fitness? Against faith, family, finances, your relationships, and your physical body? I mean, walk me through a typical day for you. What time, old school, when you were starting the business were you waking up?

-Oh, you know, 6:30, 7:00.

-And what time were you getting home?

-6:00, 6:30, 7:00.

CLAY CLARK: OK. So you were gone about 12 hours.


-You come home--

-Well, I mean, when I woke up, I didn't leave immediately. So that's when you're waking up, is what you asked. So I'd go to the office at 9:00-ish. You know.

-So do you schedule time to work out? Just kind of going through the five here, did you work out at all?

-Yeah. Well, actually I played some sporting events, and that to me was my workout. I was never a big, like, go to the gym and plug a Jane Fonda VCR tape in.


Little old school for some of you. But I played soccer. And then my wife got me into a little bit of tennis, and that was my-- I enjoyed it. It was a release. And then it was competitive, but yet it also kept me in shape.

-Did you too play against each other.

-At tennis?


-Oh, yeah.


-Yeah, she was good. She took private lessons, and then she dragged me out there, and she just whooped me.

-That's kind of a good self-esteem thing for her, just beating the heck out of you.

-It probably was.

-OK. So you scheduled time on that schedule, and then you were working seven days a week. You were scheduling time for fitness. Were you scheduling time for relationships? I mean, were you talking to friends and staying in touch with people?

ROBERT ZOELLNER: Yeah, as much as you can. I mean, obviously you know, you have that-- whether you draw it out or not-- but you have that thing of, you know, OK. This, no matter what, is going to get taken care of. And then the remaining time left, you're going to do this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this.

And I used to have, back in the day I would have one night a week that I would call it guys night. And any of the guys that wanted to spend time with me, we did it Monday night. It kind of started with Monday night football is what it kind of evolved into. But Monday night I had a core group of guys, and we would get together every Monday night. And if you didn't make it, you know, we didn't change it. It was Monday night, you know?

-Dude night.

-Dude night. We'd get together and we basically would go someplace and watch the football game. We'd go hang out, of course, when football season wasn't-- you know, we would go hang out, talk, laugh, share life, you know, talk about problems, and just be buddies, you know?

-So you scheduled time for relationships. Again, we have spirit, mind, body, relationships, finances. So you've got the body, you've got the relationships, you've got the finances there. You know, what about your mind? Like, time to develop ongoing learning. Did you schedule a time to do reading at that time or to study?

-I love to read. And I would, you know, in the early days, I wasn't that busy at the office. And so in between patients, I loved to read. And I'd always have something there to read and to stimulate my mind. Teasingly, would tell my wife, you know, I had a couple of favorite spots in the house. And then those spots would be overtaken by my children or somebody in the house, you know? So then I've have to go to spot B or maybe spot C. You know, my little spots that I had.

So I figured out that I had to have one more spot than I had kids, you know? Because then that way at night, everybody could have every one of my spots. So I always found one spot that I could go to and do a little decompression and do a little reading, and just relax a little.

-Now I know that we're not on the Thrive spirituality channel here, but I know that everybody watching this has some views. Some people are atheist, some people are agnostic, some people are Protestant, Christian, Jewish, whatever. But everyone has different views.


-But I think you have to schedule a time to develop that.

ROBERT ZOELLNER: You do. And in your own way, whether it's going into your prayer closet, whether it's meditating or whatever, however you find that connection that's really necessary, you have to schedule that into your week, and you have to treasure that. And the way you treasure that is you hold fast to that. And those times were very important for me, and scheduling that. And making sure if it wasn't a daily occurrence, it was at least every other day or several times a week.

CLAY CLARK: Now Albert Einstein, the famous scientist and inventor, he once said, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." And I met with a guy, Dr. [INAUDIBLE]. And we were kind of-- we're entrepreneurs. But my job is being, like, a business coach. Sometimes you have to deal with-- you're helping people deal with life and their business. And I know of a guy who's unbelievable in business, but he spends no time with family.

-He's out of balance. That's not healthy. That's not healthy. I mean, anytime you're skewed that way, it does implode. It does affect you at some point.

CLAY CLARK: Have you ever done that before, where you just totally neglected family for a while, and then your wife just had to put you in, like, a headlock to get you back?

ROBERT ZOELLNER: Yeah, absolutely. You get focused, you get driven, you get, you know, you put your blinders on. I mean, you are doing whatever you need to do to make that business successful. And that's the beautiful thing about having a spouse is that they will eventually say-- and if you're smart-- if you're smart, Clay, you'll list to them.


And you'll get back to the house, you'll make that soccer game that weekend. You'll do what you need to do right then, you know?

But the thing about it is that when people talk about that balance-- you talked about those five things-- when you said that, I instantly saw a picture of something. I instantly saw five sticks on a stage, each one of them with a plate on it. And you spun them. You've seen it. It's a little trick, you know? And you spin the stick, and the little plate spins up there, right? And so you have all five of those, right?

And so, so many times in life what you find is that you're sitting there looking at those five areas of your life. And you wake up in the morning and you go, which plate is wobbling the most? And that's when you run over and you spin it.



Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Lesson Nugget: There is not enough time in the day for everything, you have to decide what you think is important to spend your time on.
  • Lesson Nugget: Learning how to say "No" is a crucial skill to survive a balanced work and home life.
  • Lesson Nugget: Make a schedule for the day and hold off on things that are not top priority.
  • Lesson Nugget: Business owners must sacrifice things on occasion to build and grow their business.
  • Lesson Nugget: If you truly want something, sacrifice the time needed to make it happen.
  • Lesson Nugget: Learn to manage your own time to get to the next level.


-I think this is huge because I know there's people watching this who are saying, gosh, I don't know how to find the time in the day to start my successful business. I want to, but I don't have the time because I go to my kids hockey or ballet or basketball or soccer. And so it's hard to do that. Was there ever a time in your career where you had to crack open the early morning or the late night after the kids went to bed or before the kids went to bed to find those extra hours?

-Yeah, you do. You're sleep deprived. You know, it's funny, but when my wife and I first met and we were dating, we would stay up until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, talking on the phone. We would deprive ourselves of sleep because it was something we truly wanted. We wanted to spend time on the phone with the person you were in love with. So it's funny, but when you are in love with something, when you really, really want it, you will find the time to make it happen.

-Gosh, you know, it's funny, but as we're working on Thrive there's so many awesome people like yourself that we're interviewing, and I literally have been getting up at like 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning almost every day. Because I want to see my kids, and I see my kids at night, you know, but I have to do the research or respond to the emails or whatever.

So these people laugh, some of these reporters that we're talking to. They're like, you emailed me at 2:30 AM or 3:00 AM. That's when I usually, typically get my email done. But like you said, if it's something you're passionate about and something you're in love with, it's not that hard.

-It's not. I mean, I look back on it, and I go, much that's crazy, to deprive yourself of that much sleep when you're in college. I mean, I was studying. I had this, I had that going on. And yet, it seemed so easy to do at the moment. And that's the way it's going to be, is that when people really get that passion, when they really know that they're going to have to do it.

And yeah, unfortunately, there's some trade-offs. Owning a business, there's trade-offs. Owning a business, when you get the call that something's wrong and you've got to fix it, guess what? Sometimes you miss little Billy's soccer game. Sometimes you miss a hockey game. Sometimes you miss those things in life. But that's the dedication to that business that you have to have. It's like a child too, you know. And you're the parent.

-Trade-offs though.

-It's a trade off. And it's a balance. I mean, you've got to balance. And you can't miss every soccer game, I know, because you will get yelled at. But sometimes you do.

-What if I'm an entrepreneur on the other end of this camera over here, and I'm trying to say that I want to be a successful business. owner, but I am not willing to make the trade-offs. I want to be at every soccer game. I want to be-- I'm saying that with my actions. You've met these people. I want to be at every soccer game. I want to be at every church festival. I want to be at every-- I'm going to work out every morning, six days a week. I'm going to-- I'm going to do all these things. What do you say to that person?

-Well, you got to decide, do you want your cake? Or do you want to eat it? Because you can't have both.

-That's what it is. It's trade-offs.

-That's what it is.

-Now, as your empire has grown, you say, no, probably. That's probably one of your skills that you and your wonderful wife have had to learn to do, is say, no.

-No, I don't say, no.

CLAY CLARK: No, you don't. You're just sort of open. Yes. Yes.

-You just don't answer phones, your emails or text messages. That's your-- No. Yes, you have to. You have to treasure your time. And you have to be jealous of your time. And you have to understand that time is one thing that you're not going to get more of in a day. So you have to manage it wisely and well. And if you're doing something and you say to yourself, why am I doing this when I should be at Billy's soccer game? Those are those moments that you say, you know, I really need to kind of revamp this a little bit.

-Did you ever do this? During my life-- as we're talking about work-life balance-- one thing that I did that was just stupid, is I volunteered. I didn't mean to, OK? I'm at the homeowner's association. I'm 22. I'm the only guy under the age of 23 living in this nice neighborhood, and probably the only guy under 30 living there.

-I was going to say, under 23?

-I mean, there was probably nobody that age. And they said, we need someone to volunteer to be Vice President. And I remember being like, you know, because I'm ambitious.

-Sure. Conquer the world. One neighborhood at a time.

-Well, I have the DJ vans where we parked all the equipment. And they're conversion vans that have like 170,000 miles on them. And I'm parking them strategically behind my house, so you can't see them. I planted a bunch of trees. But it's in a nice neighborhood, so people are starting to complain.

Well, the president resigns. So now I'm getting phone calls. And I'm answering the phone and, yeah, this is Wendy, someone is parking their car, their vans, their commercial vehicles, they're behind their house. And it's just against the ordinances. Is there any way we could report them?

And endless calls. Gary's calling because someone pooped on his lawn. And it just doesn't end. And then I volunteered for Junior Achievement. So I'm out there working at Junior Achievement where I'm volunteering to teach entrepreneur education at high schools. Plus, I'm doing the homeowners' association.


-And then I start doing some stuff with church. So now I'm just like all over the place.

-How did that work out for you?

-Well, it ended up being a deal where I was like, hell or high water my career is going to take off. But I just didn't sleep. I irritated my wife. I don't think we went on a date for like three years. And I'm not kidding. It was bad. And I just keep saying yes.

-Yes. It's unhealthy. You have to be able to say, no. And you have to be jealous of that. You have to treasure the time.

CLAY CLARK: Does your wife help you say no? Did she teach you to say no? Or have you just been good at it?

-You know, I've been in the dog house too much. I've got to say no.

-Really? OK, you've been in that house. OK. Well, the final thing I would ask you-- and then for the person who's watching this here, if you can just kind of address them on this-- if somebody's watching this and they're saying, there's not enough time in my day-- that's what you hear a lot. I don't have enough time to work out. I don't have time to start a business-- can you maybe talk with him about if they say, I don't have enough time? How you would try to balance that all together?

-You need to cut something out. Because I promise you this, the one thing I can promise you is that you're not going to get more than 24 hours in a day. I mean, it's just math. Let's just be honest, OK? So you have to write down what your day looks like and be honest about that. Write down from the time you wake up, to what you're doing, to the time that you're done.

If you really want to try to capture some time to do something else, other than what you're doing currently, you have to really give that a hard look and say, what needs to go so that I can start my business? Or that I can grow my business? Or that I can give more time to my business? And you have to make choices. Some of them are hard, but you have to do it.

My number two rule in business is you have to be the pig at breakfast, not the chicken. The chicken's just involved. It's easy to have a business and just be involved a little bit. But if you want it to be successful, if you want it to grow, if you want it to become something more than it is today, then you have to be committed to it. And committed to it means that you're saying no to things that you have been saying yes to.

You have to free up that time. Because it's that time and energy that you put into it that's going to help it grow, that's going to be the jump-start of it, that's going to let it develop, that's going to let it go to the next level. And that's what we all want, isn't it? We all want to thrive, and we all want our businesses to do well.

So take a good, hard look. Be serious about that. And then look at the things that you need to get rid of, that you need to wipe off your plate. And then do it. And stick to it. And put that time where it needs to go, and that's into your business, into your ideas. Or to developing or to growing it. And I promise you, if you do that, your business will thrive.

-Hey, thank you for your time, my friend.

-You bet.

-Take care.

-Keep thriving.

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