Margin Memo #002: The Pendulum Philosophy

I believe in margin, I don't believe in balance...

Read Time: 5.5 minutes

For someone who is incredibly convicted about living a life with margin you’d probably be surprised to know that I am actually quite against “balance,” or some might call work-life balance.

I don’t believe in it.

Now, when I say “I don’t believe in it,” I’m not saying that it isn’t a real thing (this isn’t Santa Claus)…

What I’m really saying is that it is not a philosophy that I am willing to plant my flag on, nor one that I’m willing to allow the men around me to plant theirs on either.

It’s a philosophy that most entrepreneurs subscribe to (or are completely “anti” which has led them to dangerous unhealthy places), yet if you were to sit down with those same people they would tell you that they do not feel this inward peace, clarity, and freedom that comes with a life of MARGIN.

Quite contrary actually… If you want to live an incredible life, including one with TRUE margin and space then subscribing to balance as it’s taught and worshipped in our society is the fastest way to guarantee that you will not live the dream life.

You will not have it all.

Balance tends to mean having equal weight on each side of the scale.

Partially here, partially there.

Carefully watching to ensure neither side gets too heavy causing the scale to “tip” and thus feeling “out of balance”

It sounds good in theory… right?

But it never allows for you to truly experience the depth of either side.

The richness of being all in on investing in your son’s journey from boyhood to manhood or your daughter’s girlhood to womanhood.

While also being able to build, establish, and grow truly life changing wealth in business that allows you to never have to work again (and thus the work you do is what you WANT to do)

All while not compromising on a full life of adventure, fun, joy, and wonder with deep and intimate relationships by your side.

You don’t get it ALL with balance.

This is where my philosophy comes in.

The Pendulum Philosophy

Picture a pendulum…

A weighted ball swinging from one side to the next with force.

The ball swings to the very top of it’s possibility in that moment, feels the suspension, then rushes back toward the middle and over to the complete opposite side all to repeat itself.

Swing, reach a peak, feel the suspension, rush back to the other side.

Swing, reach a peak, feel the suspension, rush back to the other side.

And this repeats over and over and over again.

This is how you build an incredible life.

On one side is the ambition of the entrepreneur
….on the other is the legacy you build as a father.

All in on both.

On one side is your wealth accumulation
…on the other is the cultivation of purpose, meaning, and service.

All in on both.

On one side is your community and deep friendships
…on the other side is your unity with your wife.

Health and fitness… rest and recovery.

Deep spiritual connection with your God… light-hearted enjoyment of creation.

It isn’t balance.

You’re not partially here and partially there.

It is ruthless pursuit of one thing with extreme intention.


In a moment’s time, a ruthless pursuit in the opposite direction towards the other areas of your life.

100% present.

100% invested.

This is The Pendulum Philosophy.

Practical Application

So how do we apply this philosophy or mentality?

It’s simple.

First, you must develop a conviction for the areas of your life that matter.

I’ll suggest five:

  • Mind — 2 parts to mind: Investing the time, energy, and resources to develop an unwavering mindset is one. The other is investing in gaining wisdom. As you fortify this, your “peaks” in your pendulum swings will grow because your belief, experience, and wisdom will allow you to do more.

  • Body — This body of yours is a vessel and a temple. If you don’t take care of it your mental clarity is off, your work is worse, your energy depletion is faster, and even to some very practical extremes… you can’t get your fat ass up the mountain when your kids want to hike and create moments and milestones with you. (Side note: Rest falls under this category. Don’t get it twisted.)

  • Spirit — Your unity with something greater than yourself is what gives you identity. From that identity, a conviction for your calling will flow. From that conviction of calling, you will see the fruits in your life. I will not tell you what to believe, but I believe Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Many men lose their faith, their way, or their connection with God on their path of earthly pursuits, yet everything that you want in life is “in His presence”.

  • Creation — We are men. We are called to create and build. It’s likely in the DNA of every single one of you reading this. Build businesses, create wealth, cultivate community, architect infrastructure… Be a builder and a creator. Don’t be afraid of this “pendulum swing” but also don’t stay here. (This is where many lose their way - I have)

  • Connection — Whether you want it or not, you are the leader of your relationships. It’s not your wife’s job, it’s not your kid’s job, it’s not your friend’s job. You lead and own these relationships. Because when you lead and when you own, you maintain the power to control how deep those relationships go. If you want to be a man of true margin you must be a man with deep connection.

Once we’ve developed these convictions, we must take inventory.

Write out everything that falls under each of these categories, and ask one simple question:

Am I taking ground or losing ground?
(and if you find yourself asking the question “what about neutral?”… you are losing ground)

From there, you act and you don’t settle for any area that is losing ground.

In conclusion…

This whole “Pendulum Philosophy” will only be successful if you are intentional.

Know which areas you need to “rush” into, know when you hit that particular moment’s “peak,” feel the “suspension” because this is your sign, and then rush out of that space and into the next.

This sounds like work, doesn’t it?

It is.

But there is reward in this work.

Sounder Mind
Abler Body
Stronger Spirit
Greater Wealth
Deeper Relationships

Most importantly…


Alright a few things on my way out this weekend.

  1. I know we’re getting deeper on philosophy, meaning, etc. It matters THE MOST. That said, I’ve also built quite a few businesses well into the 7-figures and I have really practical business and wealth building lessons that I will be weaving in along with the deeper stuff.

  2. I want to hear from you guys. Respond to this email and tell me who you are, where are you at in your journey for margin, and how I can best serve you with my writing (and probably soon to be podcast)

  3. Share this on Twitter or LinkedIn if you feel so inclined to help me reach more men

You guys are the early ones.

I’m grateful you’re here.

To your pursuit of Margin,

Joey Gilkey