Are you ever guilty of ignoring things you need to be doing at home because you are so overwhelmed with the load you’re carrying at work? It’s a common problem. It can feel nearly impossible to keep your life and work in balance.
So we search out ways to balance our work and our life. We ask co-workers and friends for accountability. We set alarms for ourselves to wrap up our day so that we can leave on time. We get up early or stay up late so that we can at least be home for dinner and spend time with our kids before we tuck them into bed.
But even in doing those steps—do you feel ‘balanced?’
In a TEDx talk from 2017 (see it at the end of this post), Michael Walters—president of studio503—urges us to change the paradigm through which we view our work/life balance.
HOW CONNECTED ARE YOUR WORK AND YOUR LIFE?
You cannot separate your work from your life. To prove that work/life balance is the wrong paradigm, Michael starts by asking us two questions. If you were to lose your job today (which many have experienced in the past months)—would that affect the rest of your life? Of course it would! What if you or your wife had a new baby at home—would that affect your work life? Most definitely!
IF YOU CAN’T SEPARATE WORK AND LIFE, IT’S HARD TO BALANCE THEM
We have set up an impossible task for ourselves. We ultimately are looking for a way to be happy. So, we start picking through the various aspects that make up our life to find the thing that is throwing us off so that we can put it into submission. It’s not a good idea to spend less time with our spouses, kids, or God—that won’t make life better. But work! Work is the easiest part of our life to villainize and point to as the cause of all of our life struggles.
But let’s say you take work out of the equation of your life—would you be happy? No. You will find another villain on which to place the blame. So what would you remove next from your life? Your spouse doesn’t always make you happy, right? What about your children—are you going to remove them? If our logic holds, since we got rid of work when it didn’t make us happy, we should get rid of all of these other parts of our life that don’t make us happy. And before you realize it, you have no life at all—and you’re still not happy.
WHAT WE NEED IS A PARADIGM SHIFT
Instead of trying to see work as something that is separate from and opposed to our ‘life,’ what if we choose to look at our ‘life’ as including ‘work’ in it? What if we accept that our work and spouse and kids and faith are all interconnected—one part affecting the whole. There is no balance to be achieved because our life isn’t split, it’s a singular whole.
When you shift your paradigm to this wholistic view, you get four transformative results.
- Grace. “Instead of being hypercritical of every ball and noticing specifically all your shortcomings…you’re looking at the comprehensive sphere. It dilutes the magnitude of each of those things.” You now look at the whole of your life (which now includes your work) and ask, is my life doing okay or is it in need of change?
- Awareness. Now that we are aware that we cannot separate our work from our life, we can step back and see how any of the individual choices we make in one aspect of our whole-life will affect other aspects of our lives.
- Momentum. “If we know that we can take steps, and they can move forward or backward based on the decisions we make every day, it opens up the concept that a step will move to another step and another.” Taking a step in the direction you want to go in life will create movement forward. If we were still trying to balance, we wouldn’t be moving. But with this new paradigm, we are moving forward toward our goal. And once you take one step, it gets easier to take the next and the next. And since in this paradigm all aspects of our life are interconnected, taking a step forward in one part of our life will affect the momentum of the whole. Choosing to spend time devoted to knowing your spouse better will affect changes that will ultimately, and maybe immediately, bear fruit in your work life. Choosing to put dishes away and clean out the sink will rollover into how you interact with your children.
- Empowerment. “If we’re free to not be perfect, [if] we are aware we can make choices that will lead us to positive momentum, we’re empowered to take so much more control of our lives—to live more purposefully.” That indeed is better than ‘life by accident.’
EASIER THAN YOU THINK
This may sound overwhelming to you and you may be asking yourself—’where do I even start?’ It is easier than you think, Walters says. It’s ‘crazy simple.’
‘It doesn’t matter what step you take, what matters is that you take a step…Pick one thing in your life—move it forward. Send that email. Choose fruit. Put the dish in the dishwasher. That will create positive momentum.” That then allows you to not focus on your ‘balance’ but instead on your ‘progress.’
We all need to work on our progress in life. Helping you achieve progress in your goals in life—including work—is what we do at CRS. If you would like some help in the momentum building part of your life, we have powerful ways we can help. Give us a call at (888) 272-7102 or write us here. We can help you take the steps that will bring you joy!