Most of this unhappiness, conflict and stress I see in the workplace and life these days comes down to an inability to establish healthy boundaries. By their very nature boundaries define us and indicate what are willing and not willing to tolerate. They are also a means to carve out what is important to us. Without boundaries you are simply making it up as you go along and dealing with life reactively without a compass.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate more benefits of time off. Sure, when I was younger, I liked going on vacation, but it was just a chance to blow off steam and have fun. When my kids were little, it also allowed me to spend quality time with them. Now that I am […]
Leadership is about embracing personal responsibility and putting in the effort needed to be successful. Recently I have been having a lot of conversations with my clients about work-life balance and the need for boundaries. I am always sympathetic to their need to live a fuller life. I also try to remind them that they […]
I’ve witnessed a disturbing trend lately amongst many entrepreneurs. They want to work the hours of a successful person without yet attaining actual business success. I think all this talk of work-life balance has people a bit confused. It you want to run a business that supports a flexible lifestyle, you can certainly choose working for yourself as an option, but financial success usually requires very hard work especially at the beginning. You can’t enjoy the experience of having climbed the mountain without having done the hard work to climb it in the first place. You can’t be all things to all people including yourself; you must make some tough choices about how you spend your time.
I’ve always thought that the whole concept or work life balance is a bit of an illusion. It’s difficult for me to imagine someone who has a life that is always completely in balance. Things don’t always work out this way. It’s like the idea of a 50/50 partnership or marriage. Rarely do both partners put in the same amount of effort all the time. What you hope is that in the end it all balances out properly. I view my life in the same way. There will be periods when some things take precedence over others and that’s okay as long as it doesn’t become a lifelong habit. However, there are certain aspects of our existence we should be paying attention to all the time (to varying degrees as needed). We ultimately ignore any of these items long-term to our own detriment.
When was the last time you had fun at work and truly enjoyed yourself? Are you able to laugh at the absurd or ridiculous or do you take it all too seriously? Can you let your guard down? Do you enjoy the company of your colleagues or prefer to keep them at a distance? Are people naturally drawn to you or do you feel isolated? When you show up in the morning do you feel optimistic and relatively happy or tired and downtrodden? Are you able to keep your work in a proper perspective? Can you take most things in stride or are you easily frustrated? Do you make an effort to enjoy what you are doing or just consider it a job? Can you lighten up the mood in a room or are you always ratcheting up the level of intensity?
Today is a national holiday in the U.S.A.celebrating the life and work of a great man – Martin Luther King (MLK). For many of us that means a three day weekend and this is a good thing. While I hope you spend some time today contemplating the words and importance of MLK, I also encourage you do embrace the time off. Instead of worrying about work or the lost time, allow yourself to enjoy some family time and/or moments of fun, rest, and relaxation. No one should work all the time even if you love your work.
There are way too many things competing for our time as adults. It’s easy to get lost in the fog of responsibility and fall behind. If we are honest with ourself, we end up using our time very inefficiently and often make it up as we go along. As a result, there is usually some level of imbalance in our life as we prioritize what is most pressing or convenient. The problem is that gaps unattended only grow with time and at some point the chasm becomes too difficult to navigate. The very thing we value most, our own independence and freedom, becomes victim to the personal stress created by not being disciplined about our decisions, time and activities. Paradoxically, we end up with the outcomes we most wanted to avoid.
Very few of us ever attain, what would be termed, sustained and lasting success. Instead, we bounce up and down (sometimes sideways) in search of the seemingly elusive goals of career success and personal happiness. In my experience, these two objectives are not mutually exclusive, but intertwined and critical to an individual’s sense of self worth and meaningfulness.
While there is nothing wrong with enjoying your success or happiness, you must be careful about resting on your laurels for too long. What got you here won’t necessarily continue to propel you forward or guarantee continued success.
Works is not an end in and of itself. If you truly are passionate about what you are doing, it is also not just a means to an end either. It is simply an important part of defining who and what you are as an individual at any given point and time.
Everyone needs to unplug on a regular basis and focus on being their non-work self. My experience has always been that the best leaders are never one dimensional. They live vibrant personal as well as professional lives.