I recently read an article about work and life and trying to “balance” the two, but the whole work-life balance thing is a misnomer.
There’s no such thing as balancing work and life because the two are one and the same. Instead, what’s needed is work life integration.
There’s no such thing as “turning it off” — leaving the work “you” at the office for the home version of “you” because the same person shows up in both.
The same physical, social, emotional, mental and spiritual capacities are present no matter where you choose to show up. And that’s just it — how you show up is a choice.
I once gave a speech to university students saying that they have one right in this world and one right only. It’s not freedom of speech, it’s not human rights and it’s not pleading the fifth.
The only right they have, is personal choice; the freedom to choose to live somewhere that acknowledges free speech; to choose to recognise ethics and morals and to choose to not act belligerently every Friday night when there’s free beer.
Work-life integration works the same way. The only thing anybody must do, at any given time, is make a choice.
When you’re on your deathbed reflecting on your life, I guarantee that spending another few hours at work just to fire off more emails or have (yet) another business meeting will not be at the top of the “I wish I did this” list.
After the second time I was shot (yes, you read that correctly) there was only one concern on my mind because I didn’t know if I was going to die or not: family.
How to choose choice
Still don’t believe you have the “power” to get away from work? It’s not so much power as it is the skill and will—the ability to say yes or no and the will to act on it.
Here are three ways to choose choice and be more proactive in your daily life:
Conduct a self-appraisal
What the mind believes the body achieves. Yes, this is a cheesy saying but it’s true. Focusing on what you can affect first begins with finding your focus.
There are two different types of beliefs that affect your focus – the belief that you control your response to events, and the belief that they control you.
Known as a locus of control, people with an internal locus of control believe they are responsible for their success, whereas people with an external locus of control believe their success is attributed to fate or luck.
When things go awry pay attention to your self-talk, which is your internal monologue. Listen to whether or not you assume responsibility or eschew blame.
Get rid of contractions
Words like “don’t,” “can’t,” “couldn’t” or “wouldn’t” connote negativity because of the “not” that’s contracted. Instead, replace contracted negative words (words that end in “’t”) with their positive opposite.
So, instead of saying “I can’t do…” try “I can do” instead. Along the same lines, choose your words carefully.
While contractions reflect a negative spin, the actual words you choose influence your thinking.
Replacing a self-limiting word like “can” with “will” is a step in the right direction because “will” indicates commitment and direct choice, whereas “can” leaves the door open to chance.
Learn to say no
You can’t possibly acquiesce to all the urgencies of the day, finish everything you want to get accomplished and be stress free – at least not every day.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do; helping leaders and teams navigate chaos but there’s always the stress of work — especially as an entrepreneur.
If I don’t proactively choose where to direct my focus and what to direct it on then the “stress of everything” builds.
Remember, if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.
The best thing you can do is get rid of all those “extras” that soak up valuable time, money and mindshare that you won’t get back.
Choose your focus and decide what you’ll say yes to and what you’ll say no to.
Here’s a quick question you can use to test yourself: Did I make any decisions today or yesterday that somebody one or two levels down could’ve made instead? If you find the answer is “yes,” then ask yourself, “what didn’t I say ‘no’ to, and why?”
Work life balance is a choice. Nobody chooses how you show up except you.
Jeff is a former Navy SEAL who helps business teams find clarity in chaos. He is a contributor at Forbes and Entrepreneur.com, speaks at the Harry Walker Agency, and recently authored “Navigating Chaos: How To Find Certainty In Uncertain Situations”. This article first appeared on Forbes. To get in touch with Jeff, e-mail us at email@example.com or visit www.chaosadvantage.com
Reposted with permission.