Randy Siegel builds the people who build organizations.
Organizations hire Randy to transform high-potential employees into a new generation of leaders. Randy gives them the leadership and communications skills they need to rise through the organization.
CEOs hire Randy to help them become more charismatic leaders, spokespeople, and ambassadors for the organizations they serve.
His work is based upon a proprietary process that facilitates self-discovery to clarify personal perspective, true purpose, and professional image.
For more information, contact: Randy@buildyourleaders.com
Postcard from Asheville, N.C.
“It’s an experiment,” I told friends. This month, I rented a small loft in the artists’ district of Asheville to serve as my studio/office. I am doing it to separate work from my home life.
Before, I had a home office. I loved working only steps from the kitchen, but I found that I was working all the time. Not good for a new relationship, I am told.
I love my work. For me, it’s a vocation, if not a vacation. But I have other priorities in my life now, and I want to make space for them.
I am new to this off-site office idea, and sometimes I slip. Just last Sunday, I sneaked back into my home office to send out a quick e-mail. Some habits are hard to break.
Despite these challenges, I love the new space. It’s fifteen minutes from my house and in an old warehouse on the river. My office has exposed brick, high ceilings, and beautiful wooden rafters. My art surrounds me. Best of all, my Dalmatian Lucy can join me. (There’s a canine obedience school close by that I keep threatening to send Lucy to.)
I hope my experiment succeeds. If nothing else, it’s tangible proof of my intention to craft a better work-life balance.
Work-life balance is a huge issue for many of us. This month, we’ll take a closer look.
Creating Balance in Your Life
Cell phones, Blackberries, pagers, e-mail. Work has invaded our personal lives. Add in grueling commutes, managing a household, attending school, raising children, work and time pressure in the shrinking workplace, and dealing with aging parents; it’s no wonder we complain that our lives are out of balance. They are, and we are not alone.
A recent study of more than 50,000 employees from a variety of manufacturing and service organizations found that two out of every five employees are dissatisfied with the balance between their work and their personal lives. Whether the problem is too much focus on work or too little, when your work and personal life feels out of balance, stress — and its harmful effects — is the result.
One school of thought says “Relax! Balance is bunk.” These naysayers claim it’s far better to go ahead and embrace imbalance. But anything important, and anything done well, demands our full attention and that may mean a demanding child, an unhappy spouse, or angry employees or coworkers from time to time.
Achieving perfect balance is probably impossible. There are times in our lives that balance is simply not possible. But I do believe we can achieve greater balance, even if it’s not absolute.
Some coaches have built entire practices on life-work balance issues. While I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, I have developed a series of questions and exercises that my clients have found helpful.
I encourage clients to examine wants versus needs. First, we identify what they feel is missing from their lives. Then we divide this list into wants and needs. Wants are those things they would like to have in their lives, and needs are those things that they truly need in order to survive. By completing this simple exercise clients see how they often confuse wants with needs.
I then ask a million dollar question: “If you had only three months to live what would you be doing?” As difficult as it is, this question is easier to answer than the next, “Assuming those things are important to you, how could you place a higher priority on them?”
Some clients respond better to the “life pie.” I ask clients to draw a circle and divide it into seven equal pieces of pie:
2. Physical (exercise, diet, and appearance)
3. Fiscal (comfort about monetary issues)
4. Emotional (friends, family, and romance)
6. Leisure (travel, hobbies, play, etc.)
7. Mental and Intellectual
Next, I ask them to fill in each slice to indicate the degree to which they are fulfilled in that area. The outer rim indicates “totally fulfilled” and the inner portion indicates “lacking.” For example, if a client’s spiritual life is mostly satisfying, he would fill in most of the slice labeled spiritual. By looking at the entire pie, clients see place a dot in each slice to indicate the degree to which they are fulfilled in that area. The outer rim indicates “totally fulfilled” and the inner circle “lacking.” By connecting the dots, they see where their lives may bey are out of balance.
Balance begins with baby steps. For example, if your spiritual life is minimal, even sitting still for five minutes or visiting a church or synagogue can be helpful. If your physical side is lacking, consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or if your leisure slice is out of whack, you may want to schedule time for something you love to do.
One overwrought client wanted to exercise and spend more one-on-one time with her husband. She came up with a plan to invite her husband to walk in the neighborhood with her after work two nights a week. He loved the idea. “I cannot tell you what a difference those walks have made to my mental health,” she reported.
How about you? What baby steps could you take to better balance your life?