Integrating Work And Life With 7 Artists, Athletes And Entrepreneurs

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Lean In, the nonprofit organization dedicated helping women achieve their career goals, has changed the national conversation with its insights on work/life balance, and here’s it’s latest: Successfully integrating a career and a family is only possible when dad is as engaged in the process as mom. The career in question doesn’t matter — take these 7 guys. Whether they work at the top of a music empire or the top of Mount Everest, they’ve all managed to become successful artists, athletes and entrepreneurs while also succeeding as fathers and spouses. How? It just depends on who you ask…

TyTy Smith, Co-Founder, Roc Nation
“I can be anywhere in the world and I’ll make sure I’m home on Saturday and Sunday. If I have to be in Tokyo on Thursday, I’m on a red eye and home by Saturday morning. If I’m spending 2 weeks in LA, I’m home Saturday and Sunday and go back Monday morning. Because, if you get used to being away, then it’s like, ‘Well, I handled 7 days. I can handle 10.’ And it gets wider and wider, but 7 days for a kid is like 2 weeks. They look at it differently, and I’m very conscious of that.”

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Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder, Warby Parker
“I’m not sure that the distinction between work and life is as black and white as it used to be. A lot of people join Warby Parker because they’re so passionate about it and they want to be here, so their work/life is blurring more than ever before. When you have kids, does that impact the number of hours you can physically be in the office? Definitely, but we try to make it a place where people want to tell their kids what they’re doing at the office. This year we had our first ‘Bring Your Child To Work Day,’ which was exciting because it was also the first year where we had more than two people with kids in the company. It’s not only awesome for those team members; it adds a little bit of energy and a fun dynamic to the office. Griffin loves coming in to the office because he always gets a lollipop.”

Jimmy Chin, Expedition Photographer And Filmmaker
“It’s not a lifestyle that lends itself to a stable family life, but if I can do it, [you] can do it. And the reason I can do it is because I married an incredible woman who is capable of dealing with me. So, I guess if I was going to give any piece of advice, it would be, ‘Choose your partner carefully.'”

Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary Of Education
“I visit hundreds of schools; that’s how I learn. I talk to kids, I talk to teachers, I talk to parents, I talk to the community and go to concerts or assemblies, those kinds of things. I don’t learn sitting behind a desk in Washington. But I’ll only stay in this job for a limited amount of time and I’ll be a dad forever. Being a dad always comes first.”

Benjamin Watson, Tight End, New Orleans Saints
I remember [New England Patriot] Teddy Bruschi saying that, when he gets home, he leaves football at work. Leave work at work. If he has to sit in the driveway for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 1 minute, he’s going to decompress and let everything go. The highs and lows of football, what happened that day, what happened that week, whether you’re having a good season or a bad season. He walks through that door, and he becomes daddy and husband. That was something I struggled with early in my career. As it pertains first to your marriage and then your kids, when I come home they could care less if we played well or won the game.

Scott Harrison, Founder, Charity: Water
“Charity: water will help a million people this year; that’s 2700 people every day. I’m no less aggressive about trying to increase that number, so maybe I need more help. I’ve been actively asking others to pick up the banner and help me take it forward. There’s a sense of, I’ve been working really hard for 8 years, flying around the world. There were definitely some 80-hour weeks. Now, I want to be a great dad; I want to help people get access to clean water. I don’t want our growth to slow down, so I’m challenging people around me: What can you guys do? And it’s been great to see them step into their own.”

Joey Mazzarino, Head Writer, Sesame Street
“Get yourself a puppet. Just the other day we got this chicken puppet, Chicky Chicky Bach Bach. Chicky makes my daughters’ life fun. Don’t be afraid to get silly, to make something talk. Be a kid with your kids and get into their world.”

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