Yes I did. Surprising…huh?
Building a business that serves your life has been my mantra for over 15 years. It’s been my life mission longer than that.
So how can I possibly say you will never achieve Work Life Balance?
Well you can’t, and won’t, as long as you perceive work as the enemy. If work is always the enemy than you will always be in a battle to get more life which represents less work.
In North America we see work as something we have to do. We see work as something less desirable than something we would rather be doing. For example we are one of the few countries in the world that strongly advocates “retirement’ from work after 40-50 years of laboring. We have government systems and incentives to promote that idea.
Let’s work a job or business we hate, save some money for 40-50 years so we can quit working and do something that we like to do. Isn’t that the message?
Media and communications flood our minds with a similar message. We are continually enticed with ideas and opportunities to be doing something other than work. Work is demonizes, leisure and retirement is glorified.
As a result, we have an internal battle that exists within us that can never be settled. You will always want more ‘life’ less work.
But here is the funny thing…once someone does retire they end up working or doing something that they enjoy doing. Few sit on the couch, drink beer and watch old reruns of Brady Bunch or the Simpson’s. They volunteer their time at church, a non profit organization or something. Some immerse themselves in some hobby. They are engaged. They are doing something that brings them joy.
In otherwords, they simply replace their activities with some other form of work.
Here is the point – work is good. It is honorable to work. Work can be joyful. (okay, I think I just heard someone say they just threw up in their mouth). But its true. Consider history.
Only over the last 150 years or so was there even a clearly defined distinction between work and life. Work and life was so closely integrated in our lives we rarely thought about the idea of going to work. We lived in rural areas and worked on the farm or ranch. We lived where we worked. If in the city we often lived upstairs from the shop or establishment that we ran.
Work is something that has and will always be a part of our lives.
Now I recognize that sometimes when we discuss Work Life Balance we are referring to being able to establish a balance between other interests and our work. We don’t want to spend all our time working and not be with our families for example. I get that. Many of the folks I support in the Level 7 Implementation Process are seeking to be able to successfully balance their time so they can be with their families, travel and relax more.
One thing they have all learned through the Level 7 System is that rather than figuring out a way to get away from their businesses, they have created businesses, work if you will, that they enjoy and contributes to their lives, not diminish it or suck the life out of them.
They have discovered the secret to the Work Life Balance – Make work fun. Make it a joy.
In order to truly establish a Work Life Balance requires we do two things.
1- Change your attitude about work. It is an honor and privilege to work. It is a way of making an contribution to your fellow man…the village if you will. And if you are doing what you are gifted and compelled to do…it becomes a gift to mankind.
2- Change the environment. Sometime we allow ourselves to get sucked into doing the work that we shouldn’t be doing or best at doing. As a business owner, leader, entrepreneur, you ought to be engaged in building a business – not working in it. If you are stuck in the tactical…day to day grind…you might be less satisfied. If you love being the technician, then sell your company and be a technician. You will enjoy it more. Regardless, you must find and do the work that brings you the most joy.
For employees – This applies to you too. Change your attitudes about your work. Work with your manager or company owner and have a conversation about doing what you love to do. Chances are you are well equipped for the work you are currently doing. Choose to do it well. Choose to do it with excellence. Continue to work at improving yourself.
Once you stop fighting the battle between work and life and recognize that WORK is LIFE and it brings life, then you have made the first step in truly achieving what you really seek – a rewarding and productive work environment!