Last month I briefly mentioned that I don’t believe in work-life balance. I believe in what we call at Achieved Strategies an Integrated Life Philosophy.
Before I get to what an Integrated Life Philosophy is, let me explain why I don’t believe in work-life balance. The pursuit of balance between work and life frustrates me. It is discouraging. It is unrealistic. In our world where we spend the majority of time at work, at least most of us do, we’re already in a deficit in finding balance between the two worlds. The amount of time we spend at work makes it convenient to slip into a false belief that work defines us. Yes, there are some who believe work defines them. It is, however, not the sole purpose for living. If it were, how dismal.
We all have other interests that make up the sum of who we are. An Integrated Life Philosophy is rooted in labeling the roles you hold in your life. The many roles you hold in life are weaved together and nurtured when needed. They are not pulled apart as equal parts forcing us to find ways to balance work and life.
By identifying your roles in life it allows you to more succinctly identify what role is not receiving your attention. For example, my roles in life are partner, son, brother, friend, president, consultant, learner/student, writer, spiritualist, and so on. When president becomes my predominant role, I know my role as partner, son, and friend need to be nurtured. I shift gears and unplug from work and my role as president.
I must confess that I have asked those close to me to call me out when I am not integrating the roles I have in life. My dad will most certainly call me on not spending time with him. And I’m good with this. And when my conversation with my family and friends is solely about work, I know I’m over-nurturing my role as president/consultant.
So why is this distinction important?
From a work perspective, all leaders need to honor the many roles employees hold in their life. Additionally, to understand that when each role is tended to, the quality of work and dedication to it is likely to increase. We need to see more of this awareness in our leaders. And from a non-work perspective, life becomes more fulfilling when your other interests are pursued and other roles are nurtured.
An Integrated Life Philosophy acknowledges that we all are masters of our destiny and taps into the freedom inherit in that belief.