Many people today are concerned with establishing a healthier balance between their professional and personal lives. Some are worried simply because they are working too hard and placing greater weight on professional success than they place on living fulfilling personal lives.
Companies are thinking about this issue a lot today. They are offering seminars and workshops to help their employees. If you read popular magazines, you have seen many articles on the issue.
Yet in general, people are trying to establish a healthy balance in a way that seems flawed to me . . .
They concentrate only on the work aspect of the issue, and not on the personal
There is some wisdom in that approach. If people are working too hard, or too long, they can find help by reducing the number of hours they work, by giving up some responsibilities on the job, or by delegating more effectively. They can find a new job or change career paths and possibly take up less demanding professions.
Here is a suggestion. What if instead of focusing on the work aspect of the work/life balance, we learned to place more emphasis on the personal side of the equation? What if we concentrated on getting much more from our personal lives, by practicing them in ways that are more exciting, more fulfilling, and more Ingaged? What if we became leaders not only in our professional lives, but in our personal lives too?
By fortifying our personal lives, we can establish a healthy balance without weakening our careers. And how strong that can be. How many people do you know today, after all, who want to be less successful in their careers? How many people will succeed at maintaining a work/life balance if they know they have to become less professionally successful to keep it going?
No, we live in a world that is filled with success-oriented people. I am one of them, and I expect that you are too. Success is nothing to apologize for. The secret of building a healthy balance for people like us means becoming just as accomplished in our personal lives as we are in our careers.
And how can we do that? We can do it by applying the principles of Ingaged Leadership in our personal lives, in many of the same ways we apply them in business.
Unlock the Power of Three Things
I would like to explain one very positive approach to Ingagement that I have used in my own family. I call it “Three Things,” and I would like to recommend it to you. Here is how it works . . .
A few years ago, I started to ask everyone at my family’s dinner table to describe three positive things that had happened to them during the course of the day. I don’t think they understood exactly why I was doing that – I probably didn’t grasp the full importance of it either at the time.
At first, my children were a little skeptical, maybe even a little resistant. Their attitude conveyed an unspoken thought, “Oh, Dad . . . why should I have to do this?”
But then they seemed to warm to the idea. Even more importantly, they realized that they needed to be on the lookout for good things during the course of the day, because they knew we would be discussing them at dinner. That expectation created a big change in the way we were all experiencing our days. We were looking for good things, so instead of seeing the world through negative eyeglasses, we began to see it through positive ones.
After all, so many of us have developed the habit of seeing our day in terms of the negatives, and that is what we talk about. We had a bad day at work, the checkout lines were long at the grocery, the train home was delayed, the other drivers were crazy. We miss the positives. But with a simple shift, we can learn to turn around that way of thinking and seeing the world.
Today’s post is adapted from concepts in my book Ingaging Leadership: 21 Steps to Elevate Your Business. A new and enlarged edition will be published soon by Motivational Press. If you would like to know when it is available, be sure to visit this blog often.