Photo: Tom Hill

Photo: Courtesy of Abaco Beach Resort

With Americans working longer and harder, it's no wonder that striking a work/life balance has become an increasingly important goal.


Finding the time, commitment, and energy to fuel your personal life not only makes you happier and healthier, but it’s likely to increase your productivity on the job, too.


Take inspiration from these four people, who have managed to strike a balance between successful day jobs and rewarding after-hours lives. They are proof that quality of life soars when you play every bit as hard as you work.


Escape Beneath the Sea


Andrew Sweeting has been working in the hotel business in the Bahamas for 20 years. It sounds like a sweet gig, and it is, but it is still work – hard work.


“People in this industry don’t generally last more than two years on the island. They race back to the mainland like scalded cats,” laughed Sweeting. “People really do get burned out working on a small island, even though it looks like paradise.”


He is the managing director of Abaco Beach Resort, which has 89 rooms, two restaurants, and a 198-slip marina – the largest in the Bahamas.


Sweeting lives on the property most of the time. The nature of the hospitality business is that it’s unpredictable, meaning he’s on call around the clock. “It can swallow you up, if you let it,” he shared.


At one point a few years ago, when the business was undergoing restructuring, Sweeting learned the importance of carving out time away from the job. “The stress level was so high, and I felt confined here. I had to do something about it or I’d explode,” he said.


Sweeting took to escaping beneath the sea, scuba diving as deep as he could. “It’s how I found some peace,” he related.


Today, Sweeting makes mini escapes part of his daily ritual, tapping the asset right in front of his desk: the ocean. He jumps in his boat, and, for three or four hours a day, he skin-dives and spearfishes, oftentimes bringing back lobster and fish for his dinner.


Sweeting credits these outings in the ocean with the balance that’s been vital to his sustained success in the Bahamas. “Other people work out to keep their sanity. I do this,” he noted. “I wouldn’t be nearly as effective if I didn’t have this outlet that I’m passionate about. I can go into the water in the worst mood, but I come back with a big smile on my face.”


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