Living a Full Life while Leading a Successful Career

According to that source of all knowledge (no, not Google this time, it’s Wikipedia), work/life balance means having enough time for work and enough time to have a life outside of it. That’s pretty simple, isn’t it?

So, it’s just about being sure you have enough time for both and you have balance. Easy! NOT!

If that was the case, then one needs only to become extremely effective and efficient, be an expert on productivity, time management and read Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People at least once a month. Oh yes, and here are some extra tips – shave your head (guy or girl, doesn’t matter) so you don’t have to waste time washing your hair every day, and only wear slip-on shoes so that you don’t need to waste time tying your shoelaces. Highly efficient! That should save you a few minutes every day so that you have enough time for both work and life, and have balance…

While time management techniques and other similar productivity-focused measures, definitely have a place in our lives (and most people would benefit from even the most basic techniques such as learning to focus on the urgent and important, before the important and not urgent), I would suggest that the emphasis on work/life balance as well as that doing things harder, smarter and faster merely contributes to the problem. Part of the solution is realizing that one never arrives at or is currently in perfect balance. Rather, it is an ongoing journey, a juggling act of priorities that is happening in any particular moment in life. It’s about integration and living life to the fullest in the particular moment in which you find yourself. 

So, how does one determine what one’s priorities are?

The first question to consider is, “Who am I?” This sounds simple, but is actually quite complex and fraught with misunderstanding, societal pressure and personal belief. A key indicator could be how you answer the question: Tell me about yourself? Or your elevator pitch – literally how would you explain who you are, in the 15 seconds of an elevator ascent or descent, to a potential business partner or client.

Second, ask yourself “Where am I going?” Not the destination, but the direction in which you are heading or would like to head. What does it look like? Why do you want to go there? Why should you be allowed to go there? What choices do I need to make to ensure that I get there?

The third question is an ‘implications’ checkpoint – “How does this (who I am, and where I’m going) align with my current role and organization? How does this align with other aspects of my life:  family and relationships, finances, health, etc.?” The answer to this question will determine the next steps, which leads us to the final question – “How am I going to get there?”

The answer to this question will determine the strategy employed to move you further along your journey. You may not get there – wherever ‘there’ may be – but it should take you in the right direction and enable you to love your life more fully.

To conclude, I’d like to suggest that the secret to work/life balance is knowing who you are, what’s important to you, why it is important, the direction you are heading and why, and then making priority decisions on that journey in line with these things. This will enable you to intentionally integrate work and life more fully. Do you know these things about yourself yet?

Career Partners International provides top quality talent management services to organizations of all sizes. Their offices around the world help assessengagedevelop, and transition talent in any industry. To find out more about Career Partners International and how you can maximize your organizational performance, reach out to an office near you or contact us today!


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  1. Melinda Brown's avatar
    Melinda Brown
    | Permalink
    Thanks for sharing that, Brian! I believe work/life balance is a choice. People go through life thinking, "I need to put in more hours / I need to finish this project now / I need to work late", because they don't have any other options - but they do! They can choose to delegate or choose to spend time with their families and reschedule the work dinner, etc. When we know what is truly important to us - we can then make the right choices regarding work/life.
  2. Brian Gardner's avatar
    Brian Gardner
    | Permalink
    Thanks for taking the time to comment Melinda - absolutely agree. And many choices have consequences

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