If you “Dr Google” you will be sure to find many worthwhile reads regarding Work Life Balance (WLB). I will also give you a link to some of these. However I also want to encourage you to consider another perspective…….
Below are 3 new approaches to this global problem.
The good and bad news is that I don’t know anyone that has WLB. Why is that good news!? It means that many of us are struggling to achieve WLB, and the bad news is we are failing miserably. My personal belief is this quest for WLB is causing more imbalance, and I think it is time for a new approach.
I see this as the same as the pursuit for happiness. We are doing all these things (go to work, get into relationships, have children, go on holidays, get a massage, buy a new car etc etc) to feel happy and then feel disappointed when the happiness doesn’t last or worse, show up at all! Friends, this is the human condition. Many of us are in this same quest. You are not alone.
Ever said out loud or to yourself…
- I feel guilty when I leave work early
- I feel guilty when I stay at work late
- When I am at home I am thinking about work and when I am at work I am thinking about family
- I get frustrated and sometimes angry with colleagues who don’t work as hard as I do
- I resent going to work
- I haven’t been to the gym in weeks and am unhappy with my physical health
- I never get time for myself, and can’t see that changing
- I don’t respect my boss or Leadership team
- We encourage WLB at my work, and I have none of it.
If you or your team are feeling this way, do you think they are performing at their best?
What is their mood at work likely to be? If this is you, how much more energy does it take for you to get through the day, and how does this impact your mood at home?
In my experience and research over 85% of us have these experiences and over 90% of us think we are doing a great job hiding it. However, and I don’t want to alarm you, but you….we…. are all far more transparent than we realise.
360 degree and multi-rater feedback research tells us, that over 90% of Leaders are actually far more transparent at work than they realise. My experience also indicates that many Leaders struggle to hide a bad day.
So if we are all experiencing a lack of WLB and showing it to the world, how do we solve this problem?
3 New Approaches
1. Change the channel.
I have stolen this from Andrea Huffington (yes she created the Huffington Post). If the channel is “I feel guilty” it is time to change the channel to “I am here and focussed”. Imagine changing the channel on your TV or tablet from watching something intense (for me that is the latest crime thriller on Netflix) to something fun and light (like reruns of Seinfeld or Modern Family!).
2. Be Present.
Notice when your mind transports you to home when you are at work. Notice when your mind transports you to work when you are at home. This “transportation” is not being present, and is making the problem worse. Trust me. If you are at work, be at work. I say this with kindness, no one wants to hear your guilt about being at work. And I am going out on a limb here, but I am guessing your partner or your kids don’t want to hear you are feeling guilty about being at home. If you feel a need to start telling others how guilty you feel, then go home or go to work. Which ever you choose be there with mind and body.
3. Let go.
My recommendation is WLB is an urban myth. I tried to find out who coined the term to have a few words with this individual for creating this panic. What I discovered was the term WLB showed up in the mid 80s, while programs promoting the idea of WLB can be found in the 1930s. Folks, it is time to let it go.
So the long answer to the original question is I don’t believe anyone has WLB perfected.
The better news is, if you can let go of your quest for WLB, your mind is freed to focus on helpful thoughts, ideas and goals. The irony is you will probably feel better about yourself and your choices and probably feel more balance. Go figure!
I hope this post has been helpful to you. Please pass it on to your colleagues, friends and family and let’s spread the word.
Like a deeper dive on this topic?
I am always happy to have a brief chat about where you are at and how I may be able to help.
I help Leaders overcome difficulties balancing work and home. My clients then become confident, consistent and authentic Leaders who inspire others to reach their potential resulting in massive success.
To engage with me The Prosperous Leader Process is:
- Book and initial 15 min phone consult with me to establish if I am I the right person to help you or your Leader
- Yes? We then schedule a 1 hour “deep dive” chat (video conference or in person) regarding the key issues and desired outcomes.
- Allow me to provide a tailored plan
- We execute that plan together