3 Tips For Balancing Work & Family

Contributed by: Julie Steck


It doesn’t take a long conversation with Adam Steck to realize he’s cut from a different grade of metal and runs his business accordingly. Adam values the family, he values Godly principles and he doesn’t just wear them as cute bumper sticker or symbol over his door to help bring in business. He intentionally integrates them into the culture and practices of Southwest Metal Systems. The principles apply immediately upon the hiring date.

Let me give you an example. He told me about a conversation he had with a potential new Team Member, almost in an attempt to scare the guy off. He said, “If I ever feel you have your priorities out of line, I feel an obligation to bring that to your attention.” Now, before you think he’s got all his Team Members trembling in their boots while the boss-man’s breathing down their shirt, let me say he goes about this accountability with the utmost delicacy, humility and integrity, and with the person’s best interest in mind. His hope is that on the flip side of the conversation, the person he’s talking to will take the steps necessary to keep the #1 priority the #1 priority.

It was after he shared that conversation with me, coupled with our upcoming 16 year wedding anniversary on the 31st that spurred me to “interview” my husband in hopes of revealing more of the principles Adam founded and currently runs this company on.

I sat down with him one night and our conversation went something like this:

#1: Work Hard and Know When to Go Home.

Julie: “Why do you feel an obligation to hold them accountable if their home life isn't healthy?"

Adam: “The expectation is for you to lead your family well. We work hard, really hard, but when it’s time to turn it off, it’s time to turn it off.”

Julie: “Why is that the expectation?”

Adam: “Because, if things get out of balance in your personal life, it can’t help but spill over into your professional life. Yes, you have to be able to segment the two, but there is fluidity between them. If something isn’t right in your home life, it will affect your performance. We work as a Team here, and I don’t want anyone feeling like they’re on an island by themselves. If they do feel alone in their struggles, even personally, there’s a breakdown down in the Team that we need to address.

Julie: “What are some principles you adhere to in your personal life that help to keep priorities in their proper balance?”

Adam: “I remember when we first started Southwest, I tried to take-off on Saturday. The kids called it ‘Daddy’s day’ and looked forward to it every week. Now, there’s value in hard work. You need days where your hands ache and you feel the pain of your toil. There are times you have to go in early and stay late and work on ‘off days’ but those should be the exceptions, not the rule.

I know my Papa worked from sun-up to sun-down. Sunday was a day of rest because physically, you had to. But in all that, my philosophy is to figure out how I can work smarter and not always harder. You may not be able to take a Saturday off. It may be writing notes to your children, or lunches at home. I knew my wife and my kids needed quality time and I wanted to be there.

#2: Learn to Trust.

The other principle is to trust the Lord. So many things are just outside our control. We easily manipulate and massage events to go our way, but it’s a never ending battle of passing trucks on the interstate. Just let me pass one more truck, one more, then I’ll settle into the speed limit. There will always be one more truck to pass, one more thing to do. Sometimes you just have to commit to settle in or exit the interstate.

Julie: “What is a marriage tip that has stuck with you these 16 years?”

Adam: “Someone once shared with me a mental image that my bride is a gift from God. I will have to return her one day back to the Father and give an account for the shape she’s in.”

#3: Share a Single Focus Point

Julie: “What would be your best piece of marriage advice today?”

Adam: “If you will both focus on a single point, automatically you will grow closer together. For me and Julie, that focus point is Jesus Christ. He’s been our bearing point and it’s hard not to grow close together when we grow closer to Him. We can be on opposite sides of the campground, but eventually we’ll meet and be in unison together when we focus on Christ, our focus point. It’s hard work though. Also, in your work/life balance – don’t let work derail the focus point of your marriage.

I’d like to add a catchy, thought provoking conclusion here, but I think Adam’s words say it all. Thank you for reading. I hope you learned something, either about Southwest Metal Systems or about the delicate workings of home and work life. May God’s Grace and Peace be with you and your family!

To learn more about the Steck family, you can visit Julie's blog at www.juliesteck.com.