Avoiding Over-Commitment: The Importance of Work Life Balance

Bill Provine shares a story that changed his life

Life is unpredictable, and don’t assume important aspects of your life can always wait.

Better balance in my life happened to me more than 20 years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer. It shook me to my core but refreshed my outlook on what was truly important and internally mandated me to create balance. I use that memory almost daily as fuel to remind me to be kind, be supportive, be open, and be ready for the next challenge.  

A career that spans 30-50 years requires balance to reach peak performance on and off the job. Early in my career, I placed many arbitrary constraints on how I could use my time. The combination of what I perceived was expected, or at times was demanded, of me kept me away from living a fuller life and suboptimized my overall performance.  Some of my most creative and strategic approaches to work challenges have come while I’m in a relaxed and reflective state.

Given the world today with global pandemics, political instability, and severe climate disruption – creating balance, being reflective, being kind, and enjoying each day is definitely a must-have and not a nice-to-have any longer. 

About the Contributor

William D. Provine, Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer, Delaware Innovation Space
William D. Provine, Founder, President & Chief Executive Officer, Delaware Innovation Space

Dr. William D. Provine is the founder and serves as president & chief executive officer of the Delaware Innovation Space where he is presently on loan from DuPont. Delaware Innovation Space is a nonprofit organization formed in 2017 via a public-private partnership with DuPont, University of Delaware, and the State of Delaware to incubate and accelerate science-based startups. In its first five years of operation, the Innovation Space has supported more than 60 startups that have raised over $700 million in funding and supported hundreds of local jobs.

Bill has been instrumental is forging novel approaches to driving economic development and accelerating the growth of new business in the U.S. and abroad. Prior to his role at the Delaware Innovation Space, Bill created new ventures and business for DuPont around the world in areas such as industrial biotechnology, agriculture, advanced materials, and nanotechnology. 

Bill is an active volunteer and has served on many government and university advisory committees domestically and internationally, and he presently serves as a director on the boards for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Resolution Project (an organization that supports social entrepreneurship), and the Innovation Space.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.

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