Do you have the right work/life balance?

Quite a few years ago, I worked with an interim consultant who told me a story about when they went on a fly/drive holiday to the US. After traveling from London Heathrow to Las Vegas, they picked up their hire car and headed off out into the desert. The plan was that they would make their way around Nevada, Arizona etc. take in some of the sights, such as the Grand Canyon, and generally take in that part of the world.

At the time they had a really high pressure job, lots of demands on their time and were constantly either on the phone/email.

After landing they did what most busy executives do, got out the Blackberry to catch up on “stuff” that had happened whilst they had been traveling. Apparently this included negotiating their way around baggage collection, immigration, customs, car hire desks etc. all the time constantly on the mobile.

A few miles into the desert their partner wound down their window and without warning grabbed the device out of their hand and hurled it as far as they could into the desert. Despite stopping immediately and returning to the approximate spot where they had parted company with their phone, they couldn’t find it. The partner was completely unrepentant, they were either on holiday to enjoy time with their family, relax/chill and enjoy a bit of life or they weren’t.

Does their work situation sound familiar? Always too busy, always on the phone, never quite feeling that you have work life/balance right? Can’t quite get away from the office, always having to keep an eye on things to ensure you don’t walk back into a nightmare when you get back off holiday?

Are you working to live, or living to work?

Holiday season is upon us. How many times do you hear people coming back from holiday to say that it has given them a new perspective on life? Also, that the break made them realise that their work life balance is out of kilter and something needs to change.

Then what do they do about it? It is usually NOTHING.

If you live to work, as long as that is your choice, good luck to you. However if you work to live, remember that you need to do the living part too. If something needs to change then #startsomething.

There are other things in life and we all instinctively know and recognise this. It is precisely why films such as Pretty Woman, when Julia Roberts makes Richard Gere take his socks and shoes off and walk barefoot on grass reawakening him to natural experiences that had long been banished from his working day, strike a chord with us. They give us a different perspective and remind us if what we might be missing out on – which is also what holidays can do for us too. So you have a choice…. Spend another year after you get back from your break, doing the same old, same old, or you can #changesomething. Holidays are usually the time in our busy lives that we realise that we don’t have our work/life balance right.

Coaching can really add value in this area. When I speak to clients with this issue they usually ‘know’ that their work/life isn’t working for them. However, they hide it in their “busy-ness” and live with it as a niggle in the back of their minds. Does this sound familiar? Well, the good news is that you have the power to choose a different future for yourself, based upon what you really want to get out of life. You simply have to find it… and sometimes you need help.

What about my colleague? She said that after she lost her phone, she had the best holiday with her family that she’d ever had. Having realised this, she came back to the UK and found a different job that better suited what she wanted to achieve in her work/life. This is one of the benefits of change – can you imagine how engaged she is in her new role, doing work she enjoys and spending time quality time on the things she values in life. Isn’t this also one of the recipes for business success?

Enjoy time with your family and loved ones this summer. If you get home and realise something needs to change, and you don’t know how to do it, give me a call. We can either #startsometing or #changesomething together. All you have to lose is the prospect of continuing to live a life you don’t really enjoy.