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Life Balance, Lifehack Show

The Key to Creating a Vibrant (And Magical Life) by Lee Cockerell

Written by Leon Ho
Founder & CEO of Lifehack
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In this episode of The Lifehack Show, we have invited Lee Cockerell, the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World Resort.

As the senior operating executive for 10 years, Lee led a team of 40,000 cast members and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping and entertainment village, and the ESPN Sports and Recreation Complex, in addition to the ancillary operations which supported the number one vacation destination in the world.

One of Lee’s major and lasting legacies was the creation of the Disney Great Leader Strategies, which was used to train and develop the 7,000 leaders at Walt Disney World.

In this episode, Lee is sharing his journey to becoming who he is today, and the lessons he has learned throughout these years in order to live a full life, something that we value a lot at Lifehack.

Check out the full interview video here:


3 Things That Are Important to a Vibrant (And Magical Life)

When Lee was about 35 years old, his responsibilities were growing rapidly because he was getting bigger jobs. With a wife and a child, everything was just piling up and he started to get really stressed out. He was working way too many hours — he was working during weekends, and he was coming in early and staying late. It hurt his marriage as he wife wasn’t happy about that. He also didn’t see his son as much as he wanted to. It was until he took a seminar about time management where he learned about planning and prioritizing.

Lee has shared with us the 3 most important things we should prioritize in order to live a vibrant and magical life with our limited time and energy.


#1 Take Care of Yourself

If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your team, your company, your business. — Lee Cockerell

Every day at five o’clock after work, Lee went to the gym and worked out before he went home. That was his daily routine. He did his best at work but would not overwork himself nor neglect his health and personal life because of work.

Lee reinforced in the interview the importance of staying fit and healthy. Many don’t feel well, and lack energy and motivation to work because they don’t take good care of their health. Getting enough sleep, having a healthy diet and exercising regularly are all crucial to staying energetic in order to achieve what you want every day.

I weigh exactly what I weighed when I was 55 years ago because I want to and I’m about to I’m about to turn 79 years old. I have more energy than anybody because if you do the right things, it works out. — Lee Cockerell

#2 Take Care of Your Family

I sleep better because I have a great family. We support each other. I don’t want to have any regrets that I wish I had spent more time with them. — Lee Cockerell

Lee invests a lot of time in his family. He goes to vacation, spends Christmas and travel together with his family. He prioritizes his energy and time for his family because he knows family is important to one’s fulfillment in life.

I don’t really care where I’m spending my money as long as enough is going into savings because I can always get that back, but where I’m spending my time. You might not get your wife back if she leaves. — Lee Cockerell

#3 Take Care of Your Business

As a highly successfuly business person, his business is surprisingly the last thing on his list of priorities.

Most people who get very rich and very successful end up with divorces and drug use and all kinds of problems… I don’t need a lot of money, I just need enough. I’m not trying to make gazillions. I don’t need a lot I just need enough. — Lee Cockerell

Lee believes that we can always get more money, but we can never get more time. This is exactly what we believe at Lifehack too. To learn more about this, you can take a look at my article The Truth About the Value of Time in Life where I share about the true value of time.

In addition, Lee had a clear priority of what to focus on when he was still working at Disney. He focused on hiring the right people, training them, and treating them right by making sure they had a good culture. Instead of doing it all on his own, Lee focsued on the high-leverage tasks which had the most impactful results in the business.

Schedule the things that are important to you and that’s how time management plays out. — Lee Cockerell

We can’t do everything and we must learn to say no to some things. Prioritizing and focusing on things that truly matter to him is his key to creating magic at work and in life.


Bottom Line

If you have always believed that success and fulfillment in life is defined by your work or career, I hope this interview with Lee can get you to rethink about that.

Life consists of different aspects, and work is only one part of our lives. To truly live life to the fullest, know what matters to you first, and focus on it. We all have limited time and energy, so don’t invest in stuff that doesn’t matter, and only regret it later in life.

Check out the YouTube video above to watch the full interview, and you will learn so much more!

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