How To Fight The Good Fight Your Entire Life

In doing work that matters, longevity is the ultimate goal

  • Justin Zoradi
How To Fight The Good Fight Your Entire Life

I'm not the hardest working person in my industry, not even close. I don't get up at 5:00am to bike 30 miles. I don't drink wheatgrass everyday. I don’t put in 60 hours a week at the office.

I’m ambitious, sure, but my goal isn't to be the best, or even the most successful. My goal is to have staying power. Through rain, sleet, and snow, I aim to outlast everyone.

In doing work that matters, longevity is the ultimate aspiration. Because it is in decades of work that you’ll have the most impact.

How To Fight The Good Fight For Your Entire Life <-- Tweet This

My simple solution isn’t revolutionary, but it’s a lost art in our modern world:

Commit to Ordering Your Private World.

Our "private world" is the world outside of work. It’s family time, it’s gardening time, it’s lounging in sweats in front of the television time. Our private world is a world of rest, reflection, prayer, and of Sabbath.

Want to do work that matters your entire life? Order your private world.

From Gordon MacDonald,

“There is a temptation to give imbalanced attention to our public worlds at the expense of the private - More programs, more meetings, more learning, more relationships, more busyness. Until it all becomes so heavy that we teeter on the verge of collapse. Fatigue, disillusionment, failure, and defeat all become frightening possibilities.”

Ordering your private world means scheduling rest and reflection in the same way you schedule meetings and events.

To order your private world is to tell the rest of us that you’re in it for the long haul.

You’re not going away. You won’t get burned out. You’re here to outlast all of us.

Most importantly, ordering your private world is the intimate connection to the Creator. To stray too far into a public world disconnects you from the life force who put you here in the first place. Our private world should radiate influence to the outside world, rather than letting the outer world influence us.

This quote changed my life forever,

“When I get home after a long day, I go to the chapel and pray. I say to the Lord, ‘There it is for today, things are finished. Now let’s be serious, is this diocese mine or yours?’ The Lord says, ‘What do you think?’ I answer, ‘I think it is yours.’ ‘That is true,’ the Lord says, ‘it is mine.’ And so I say, ‘Listen, Lord, it is your turn to take responsibility for and direct the diocese. I’m going to sleep.’” – Cardinal Dannels of Brussels

The final four words of that quote hit me like a ton of bricks: “I’m. Going. To. Sleep.”

This is about spiritually as much as it’s about biochemistry.

Physicists understand energy as the capacity to do work. Like time, energy is finite; but unlike time, it is renewable. Yet, taking more time off is a foreign concept for most of us. The Atlantic Reports that Americans have the worst work/life balance in the entire world.

Did you know:

+ More than one-third of employees eat lunch at their desks on a regular basis.

+ More than 50 percent assume they’ll work during their vacations.

+ In a study of nearly 400 employees, researchers found that sleeping too little — defined as less than six hours each night — was one of the best predictors of on-the-job burn-out.

+ A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.

+ The Harris Interactive found that Americans left an average of 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012 — up from 6.2 days in 2011.

The list goes on and on…

You start small to order your private world.

I don't do emails on the weekends. Nothing is too important that it can’t wait until Monday. I've promised my wife that I’ll only do 4 weeks of international travel per year. Could I buck those rules and do more, raise more money, be more successful? Probably. But I wouldn't make it through 2014 with my life intact.

Is your goal flash-in-the-pan success? Great. Work yourself to death, don't sleep, burn out, and accomplish nothing. If your goal is long-term impact, order your private world.


How To Be Excellent At Anything - Tony Schwartz

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Comments (7)

  • Deanna Cochran

    Deanna Cochran

    25 February 2014 at 13:54 |
    I love it! I have so much to do and not enough time to do it and I have been working, working, working trying so hard ....and I crashed. I had a huge shift this weekend. I unplugged and slept nearly 24 hours. This coming weekend I am going to do what you do, not answer one email. Can I do it? Yes I will. I won't even look. Well, I don't know if I can go that far.

    I am really getting this message right now and it is right on. I want staying power. I want balance. It's just so hard when you are excited about what you are doing and have ideas to cement, etc. But just like overworking when you are not passionate can drain you, overworking period will drain you and break you down just as much! It does because we were not meant to be on overdrive everyday.

    Thanks for the article.

    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      26 February 2014 at 02:02 |
      Awesome Deanna. thanks so much for reading. I'm glad you got some sleep! The goal is staying power. Thanks
  • Drew


    25 February 2014 at 14:49 |
    This spoke to me. A crucial piece of this is to find an employer who respects and honors the boundaries we set on our private world. But if we don't set those priorities to begin with, we have no problem taking on jobs that will wear us out.

    I will say too that I almost always eat lunch at my desk, but only because that allows me to leave an hour early having not taken that time in the middle of the day. If my employer didn't allow this I would definitely be taking a lunch.

    Great content as always, Justin!
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      03 June 2014 at 05:08 |
      Thanks for reading Drew! I support lunch at your desk to leave an hour early. Good call.
  • Christopher D Lynn

    Christopher D Lynn

    26 February 2014 at 11:49 |
    Justin, great post as always. OPW is one of my all-time favorite books and I think must-own for every leader. You've challenged me to re-read it for the sake of what I might be missing again.
  • Katie


    26 February 2014 at 16:22 |
    Hey, Justin, this is fantastic. I tried to pin this, and it's going to another post. Just wanted to let you know.
  • Dave Arnold

    Dave Arnold

    27 February 2014 at 01:13 |
    Great stuff, Justin! I love Ordering Your Private World by MacDonald. That book really impacted me. You had some good points, some stuff I need to work on.

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