Yes, that’s the question – how important is your life, and how important is your work? How many people put their work first, and their life second? So that instead of work being a part (even if an important part) of their whole life, work becomes the main criteria/filter through which other things are considered – e.g. family engagements, rest, personal health, friends.
I’m sometimes astonished when working with senior executives to discover that they’re considering the priorities of their work as the primary importance over their time with family or friends. It’s as if work has taken over the whole landscape of perception and they see everything else through the filter of work. This is an unhealthy trend both for the person and the organisation and that I have observed in many multi-nationals and professional consultancies.
It is only when their firm turns on them, either through redundancy or ‘re-organisations’ and they are ‘cut’ that they feel the betrayal of the unspoken contract that they thought they were performing to, but which the organisation was not.
My counsel to re-establish the healthy relationship between individual and organisation and create a better ‘work-life’ balance is to review the following:
Why do you work? What is your purpose for working?
- Is it just about the money – or do you have other reasons for doing what you do?
- Does your life have meaning and purpose beyond delivering projects at work?
- Do these reasons inspire or motivate you, or do they create a burden that weighs you down?
- If you received the same income from other sources, would you still do what you do?
What is your vision for your life?
- Do you have goals that are important to you that relate to your whole life, your well-being, your family and your future?
- If you were financially independent and did not have to work, how would you enjoyably use your time?
- Do you have the possibility of drawing energy, motivation and meaning for your life outside work?
What principles or values do you have that inform how you will do what you do?
- Are these clear in you?
- Can you explain them to others – e.g. your partner, friends or those you lead/manage?
- Are these organising principles that enable you to make decisions quickly, that form a framework of reference that can help and support others?
Are you living a life in integrity with your purpose, your vision and your values?
- Are you taking actions to make real your goals and move forward in those significant areas?
- Whose values, vision or purpose are you living, if not yours?
- Are these another person’s eg your partner, CEO or your organisation’s?
I have to remind executives that there was life before work and there will be life after work and their primary responsibility is firstly to themselves, secondly to their families and thirdly to their work. Because, unless you’re healthy, well-resourced and in good spirits with an ongoing, replenishing process that sustains you, you will not be of any use to your work, to your family and to yourself.
And, as I’ve stated before, unless you act in integrity with your purpose, your vision and your values, it is possible that your behaviours may lead to self-sabotage, feeling lost or stuck or worse, illness or burn-out.
If the questions above are too hard to answer, you’re vague, woolly or unsure of your answers, but are worried that you’ve put too much emphasis upon work, then consider working with a coach to hold your feet to the fire to help you determine answers to these very important areas.
For on the other side, when you connect to your inner self, the deeper, real reasons why you do what you do, you will experience a blast of energy, confidence and commitment that will shock you. Your life will become meaningful beyond the norm of everyday thinking and you will naturally deliver better results, for yourself, your family and a far greater positive impact on your peers and employees.
If you’d like the assistance of an expert coach to conduct you through the above self-reflective process to gain your ‘life-work balance’, call us.
30 March 2017