“You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.”
- Zig Ziglar
One of the most elusive destinations for leaders and organizations is “life-work balance”. Everyone is trying to solve this problem. So are we.
We have a bunch of tools and have helped a lot of leaders make progress in managing their time and schedules. In fact, one of our informal metrics has to do with how many leaders we have worked with that have achieved enough margin through their owner-to-team-lead transitions, that they actually take Friday or some other day off.
If they were filling those days with more Netflix or some other less fulfilling recreation, I might not be as proud of that, but they are using it for health, relational growth, mission, and even strategic thinking. They are not only doing the sort of things that make a difference in the world but are improving who they are in ways that make them even more productive and impactful in the four days they do show up to work.
Back to the idea of “life-work balance”. I think one of the reasons that it is so elusive is that it is the wrong objective to be striving for. Even our folks that are grabbing an additional day off still spend more of their waking hours working than they do anything else and more time with the people there than any others.
It will never be in balance.
It is like Andy Stanley would differentiate: this is not a problem to be solved, but a tension to manage.
The real destination is not to find “balance”, but to achieve “harmony”. What we really want is for neither of those two key domains of our lives to be in conflict. We want them to work in tandem, one serving the other and making us better in both.
One of the leaders we work with told me that this was the best season of his life. He said that the progress he was making at work in his leadership role was allowing him to enter his home more refreshed and available for his family and life there. Because that was improving the quality of his non-working life, he was returning to the office more invigorated and less depleted than in prior seasons.
He was not only achieving life-work harmony, but there was a synergistic effect occurring where he was actually better in both…because of the other!
Does anybody else know what that feels like? That is the kind of elusive destination we should all be striving to gain. That is a battle worth fighting and a hill worth climbing.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret, I think it is virtually impossible to achieve unless you first get your professional life and company in order first. There is too much time spent there, too much carryover, and too much identity tied up in it. It seems to just mercilessly and endlessly spill over into the rest of your life…
Unless you systematically commit to a path toward changing things.
Work/life can find harmony.
One can serve the other.
Both can be better because of the other.
One leader I know hikes every Friday now. He strengthens his body, clears his mind, thinks more strategically about his life/work, and even drags others along who need that type of experience. He often sends me a picture of his feet, resting on some rock in some beautiful place at the end of his hike. How good is that?
Another is going to be spending a couple of days a month this year in another state walking ministry/business leaders through the process he has found so much success with his own company. He has found so much margin and success in his business that he is paying it forward with a bunch of other leaders. How beautiful is that?
These are the sort of things that become possible when life and work are in harmony.
Have you been striving for life/work balance?
Does life/work harmony seem to make more sense?
What are you going to do differently this year to arrive somewhere different than you arrived at the end of this last one?