That uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach is often caused by you not living true to your core values. We think that work/life balance is the key to solving all of our problems. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. What's brings you "balance" will ultimately be up to you. The feeling of being out of balance is caused when your life gets out of alignment with your core values. So before we can determine what changes you need to make to get back into proper alignment, you need to understand your core values. Go back and visit this exercise to have a better understanding of your core values.
If you haven't done that, but want to continue reading, just understand that your core values fall into one of four major categories; Faith, Family Fitness, Finance. Each person will value these a little differently so the order might be different. The point is that each of us, through a combination of our habits and belief systems, have these core values built into us over the course of our entire lives. By the time we are adults we have certain fundamental beliefs about how we think the world operates, our own personal explanation for why we are here. Your priorities will still adapt over time (marriage and kids will change a person's priorities and scheduling). But as our schedules and life changes become more busy, we begin to get an uneasy feeling when we drift away from living a life true to our priorities.
This is why the career portion of the equation is so important. As we progress in our career and earn more responsibility, there is a real possibility that our family time will suffer. But that doesn't mean you should necessarily spend less time at work. Very often, the key is creating a more satisfying life, both in an out of the work environment. When people say that they want work/life balance, what they are really looking for is more fulfillment out of life. Maybe because we spend so much time there but for some reason, we have created the idea in our head that this should come through work.
Very often, the key is creating a more satisfying life, both in an out of the work environment.
In Off Balance, Matthew Kelly describes how the feeling of "work/life balance" that we think we are seeking is actually fulfillment. What we really want, is to know that our lives have fulfillment and that we are having some impact on mankind that is greater than ourselves. Feeling that your life has meaning can either be achieved through your work or in other areas of your life. If we were able to create more satisfaction and fulfillment outside of work, I don't think we would be so quick to place blame on our jobs for the loss of work/life balance.
Companies have spent countless hours and millions of dollars trying to help their employees gain a feeling of work/life balance but this energy has been misguided. If we focus on gaining that fulfillment outside of work, the work itself becomes a tool by which other areas of our lives are possible. I applaud those that have jobs that already gives them fulfillment and satisfaction in life. One of the most noble things you can do is to dedicate your career to a life of service of others. But, for those that might not work in the medical field or community service, you can shift your focus on work/life balance from your career to your personal life.
By regaining the alignment with your core values, you begin to understand that your career is simply a resource for financing the other areas of your life. When you shift your focus away from work, to your personal life, you begin the process of creating a fulfilling life built around the things you value. This will also allow you to create your own identity, instead of allowing yourself to be defined by your current roles.
All too often, when people strive for work/life balance what they really mean is just less work. I want us to begin to focus on the other side of the equation. Work/life balance isn't about less work. we should make the emphasis on more life. And so that is what we will continue to focus on here; MORE LIFE. My goal is to help you find ways to better manage the struggles of your life so you can live a bigger, more fulfilling life outside of work.
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