We often we craft our lives around our business or career, rather than crafting our business or career around our lives and what is really important to us. This is evident from the high rates of depression and anxiety in Western society. We’re not happy and in part this is caused by doing things that conflict with our values and because we often sacrifice relationships with the people who are most important to us.
We’re often focused on the wrong things. We don’t focus on what really matters. We’re often focused on the bright shiny object, the thrill of the chase, the dazzle of the dollar or whatever else it may be. The fear of missing out (FOMO) drives us to Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp. We can fritter away the hours checking status updates and emails, yet struggle to make it to our child’s soccer game or a meeting because we’re too busy. We can spend hours scrolling through these pages on the pretence of keeping up to date, however when we need to exercise, network or do things that do really count, we can’t find the time.
I speak with employees and business leaders daily, and what comes up in conversation all too often is the sacrifice they make for their professional life. They believe their work has taken over their life, the demands are too much to handle and they don’t feel fulfilled. They have lost control. When I ask, ‘Is it worth it?’, sadly the common response is, ‘No.’ That’s the problem right there.
As Simon Sinek very aptly says “It’s not just the what or how you do things that matters; what matters more is that what and how you do thing is consistent with your why.” It’s your why that really matters and what you do should align with this.
So take a moment to ask yourself this question: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?’
Unfortunately, we wait to ask ourselves this question until someone close to us is diagnosed with a terminal illness, is facing a life threatening situation or when we experience the loss of a loved one. By then, it’s too late. We have the opportunity now to ensure that what we’re doing is worth it, and if today were the last day of our lives we’d be happy doing what we’re about to do because there is a purpose to it. It will take some work, self awareness and courage but we can certainly make changes to ensure what we are doing is ‘Worth It’.
As leaders, we often search for the ideal work–life balance and complain that we don’t have balance at all. Are you really out of balance or are you striving for the unachievable?
I don’t believe there is such a thing as work–life balance anymore. Thanks to technology, there is no defined line between the two (many people who write on this topic say the key is to integrateour two worlds). You must make this life work foryou, not againstyou. Disrupt your thinking around ‘traditional working hours’ and craft your life to include adequate professional and personal time. It’s time to make the hours you have available really count.