An Ambitious Person’s Brutally Honest Take On Work-Life Balance

We hit rock bottom. Now, we’re happily married 12 years. Here’s what I learned.

Jim was both a serial entrepreneur and a serial husband.

Jim was right.

“So this is how a marriage ends.”

Work-Life Balance

That’s what went through my mind, five years after that conversation with Jim, as I hung up the phone in my hotel room after a lifeless conversation with my wife and business partner Sheena.

  1. Let go of who you were and become something new that you had never imagined before.

But Jim was wrong, too.

Earlier this year, the wife of my partner and investor, Eben Pagan, sent an email that changed my life. She wrote:

The Snowball Principle And How To Have It All

The Snowball Principle is the idea that we can have it all if we’re willing to:

  1. Have Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAGS), but be patient with them.
  2. Replace all-or-nothing sprints with a marathon mentality.
  • Earned a computer science PhD from MIT
  • Obtained a tenured professorship at Georgetown
  • Become a father of three

Key #1: Get the fundamentals right FIRST and make them non-negotiable.

  1. Wealth: Accumulating enough money to live your ideal, sufficient lifestyle without worrying about the future.
  2. Relationships: Building a large, diverse, loving network of relationships with people you feel connected to.
  3. Work: Having a job where you can work on your strengths and passion in a way that gives you autonomy, connection, and purpose.
  4. Learning and Growth: Investing in the knowledge and skills that help you solve challenges in your life and career now and into the future.
  5. Purpose: Living a life full of meaning that matters.

Key #2: Have Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAGS), but be patient with them.

I still have big goals that I’m pursuing, but I’m pursuing them on a different timescale.

Key #3: Replace all-or-nothing sprints with a marathon mentality.

  1. Undervalued the amazing compounding power of long-term habits

On Holistic Success

In nine years, my firstborn will be an adult. The time has passed by so damn fast. Now I wonder to myself, “What kind of adults do I hope my children become?” In my career as an education entrepreneur, I wonder, “What do we want to train the next generation to be like?”

Read More From Me

Over the years, I’ve been a serial entrepreneur, read thousands of books and created programs that have coached over 1,000 people on the fundamentals of learning across disciplines and building a knowledge foundation that leads to a more holistic and successful life. If you want to read more of my writing, visit one of the links below:



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