Time to get personal. I’m gonna air some dirty laundry here, and I really hope it doesn’t get me in trouble with my wife.
We have a great marriage. And as in every relationship, there are sources of friction. One of the bigger ones for us is work-life balance. My wife is a master at keeping work in perspective. She works hard and is respected for what she does … and she refuses to let her job dominate her life. Family is hugely important to her, as is down time, and she makes sure she walks the talk of her priorities. I admire her for it.
Now, I have a ton of interests. I do personal and executive coaching, I do leadership development, I do this radio show, I conduct a community choir on Whidbey Island, I do volunteer work in sustainability, I engage in my own personal growth … I’ve got my fingers in many, many pies. And to top it off, I’m a perfectionist.
If it weren’t for my wife’s nag – er, I mean, gentle persuasion, I might be working 60 hours a week. And I’m grateful for that persuasion, because it keeps my marriage healthy – and to an extent, my psyche.
On the other hand, I really enjoy my work – pretty much all of it. (With the exception of doing taxes, and any kind of interaction with Jim, of course). I often think that if I put in a half day of work on a Saturday or Sunday, my mental health will actually improve, because my stress level around what isn’t getting done will lower. And I am a male human, and we guys tend to prioritize getting stuff done. It’s genetically programmed into our DNA. And it doesn’t HAVE to be stressful. Stress, after all, is less a function of what happens to us, and more a function of how we respond to it. Something I constantly work on with my coaching clients.
So here’s the bottom line for me … What constitutes work-life balance is different from one person to the next. What matters is living your priorities … and making sure your priorities align with your own core values. And solving that equation is potentially a life-long inquiry for all of us.