The thinking seems to be that in order to enhance our personal well-being we need to cut back on our work. Or if we want to make more impact at work then our ‘life’ will inevitably have to suffer. Work and life are seen as some kind of zero-sum game: if one goes up the other must go down.
But, writing in the Harvard Business Review, Stewart Friedman argues many truly successful people have achieved greatness at work, not by giving up on their families, communities, and private selves, but by fully embracing these aspects of themselves.
He gives two examples — a consultant and a soccer champion — both of whom embraced the passions of their personal lives to enhance their performance in their work lives, and (perhaps more importantly) vice-versa.
How did they achieve this? Simply by being clear about who they are, what they love, what their priorities are, then acting with integrity to allocate time for their whole selves, not just part. Acting with this clarity and integrity then enhances all.
Sigmund Freud taught us that life is not separate from work: life, he said, is work and love. To be and feel whole we need to allocate time for ‘work’ and time for ‘love’. And when we integrate the two then we achieve synergy.
Inner Leadership provides a series of tools to help you think this through and achieve the mix that is right for you. These include:
- identifying other people you admire
- finding your purpose and values
- getting clear on what it will take for you to have lived a worthwhile life, and
- taking the time to connect more deeply with who you are and what you care most about
Inner Leadership then helps you put your priorities into practice, starting from where you are now, with the understanding you have now, so that you can learn and improve as you go forward.
Perhaps that is something you could think about this weekend: what would it look like to take a step towards achieving not only better work-life balance, but work-life enhancement…