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Perhaps it is as Sheryl Crow sings in Soak Up the Sun, “It’s not having what you want – It’s wanting what you’ve got”
Cisco cuts about 5 to 10% of it’s workforce every year. This seems to be out of synch of 9 Lies. Why is this still happening?
Many thanks for sharing the insights…
Off Balance On Purpose is a great theme that was mentioned here by Ashley…a book written by Dan Thurman speaks to this idea of purposefully deciding what you need to focus on for your life to be ‘balanced’. Sometimes we have to re-prioritize which balls we are juggling, but we never drop any of the balls that we have prioritized. Or perhaps we feel we shouldn’t ever drop a ball and that kind of personal pressure creates a ‘should’ based life. “I should love every aspect of my job.” “I should be spending more time at home.” “I should finish that book I started reading.” “I should eat better, sleep more, drink less, exercise more…” This phrase ‘work/life balance’ is really just life balance. When taking the time to decide the categories of my life that are of highest priority to me, I will also be choosing those things that I love at 20% or 80% of the time I’m doing them. Can everyone do that? Yes. Can everyone do that by the time they enter the workforce? No. So how do we lead people to come to this place where they are able to identify work that they love? We consider the whole of the person and treat each as a ‘chess piece’ instead of a checker piece. 🙂
Teresa–exactly. Well said! And to get started, we can help our team members pay attention, each week, to what they loved and loathed, and then talk to them about creating more of an imbalance!
I have always believed that you need love your job.Not all of it as that is unrealistic but basically look forward and enjoy enough of it to make you want to go in each day. And if that stops question why. If it’s just a blip then work through the blip, if it’s fundamental then maybe it’s time for a change. Work and life are full of ups and downs but they rarely last for ever it’s how you react to them both that matters and recognising we are all different. What really resonated for me was Marcus’ comment about what they don’t teach us in schools. There is so much focus on learning unnecessary stuff to prove our intelligence and zero focus on teaching us how to be in the world and what the world if really like.
I hope everyone pays attention to what you are saying. We met years ago – as I was “Discovering My Strengths” and trying to ensure that the people I work with could do the same thing. At the time – I realized this was an absolute game changer for me. When my son was killed in action almost two years ago (Sgt Joshua P Rodgers – Afghanistan) I understood how much this idea of loving 20% of my job had made. I have always pushed back on “balancing” work and life. As a working mother, I had made a promise to my family that I would ‘love’ my job. Defining my strengths gave me the language I needed to ensure the work I was doing included moments I loved. When my son was killed it was that BLEND of time at work and time away from work that provided an AMAZING TRIBE to surround my family. Returning to work was not horrible because I LOVE my job. Because I LOVE my job I am able to have AMAZING PEOPLE who are friends when I am at work and when I am not. It is HARD to be friends with someone who is weakened by their job – isn’t it??
Vonda–your story here makes the point much more powerfully than Marcus or I ever could. Thank you for sharing it here. I’m so sorry for your loss.
My “love” for working with human performance issues came from my college years as an athlete. Why did some athletes make it and others catastrophically fail? It is because we as humans spend so much of our time doing and being what we think we should be, that we are not honest with ourselves about what we want and what we love. When we don’t measure up to what we think we should be we beat ourselves up, the gremlins jump on our back and we think we are failures. It is easier to keep plodding ahead than to feel like a failure, it is easier to just give up and say it’s not worth it, its easier to point the finger at our leaders and blame them for not helping us become fulfilled, then to admit we are in control of ourselves. The athletes that excel play for themselves, not their coach, not the crowd. In my coaching now I emphasize we are our own leaders and we need to wake up and take charge of our own lives and discover our real needs and passions and work to fulfill them. Yet we also need to be vulnerable enough to admit what we may not be able to do or don’t like and surround ourselves with others that can and are passionate where we are not.
Brooks–your comment reminds me of the quote with which we begin the book: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” You’re reminding us to learn the lessons about excellence from the real world, and not let our assumptions about what we *should* be doing get in the way. Thanks for the comment!
The idea that spending 20% of your time on the job doing what you love really hits home for me because I’ve recently noticed how relatively little it takes for me to raise my level of engagement at work.If a recruiter had called a couple of weeks ago with a new job, I would have jumped at the opportunity. Today it’s a different story. All it took was a couple of new projects to raise that level. Quantifying myself has never been my thing, but now I’m interested in figuring out if any job dissatisfaction I experience is connected to that 20%.
Yes! Yes! Yes! I have heard it said that ‘people don’t quit their jobs – they quit their boss.’ I have begged people to consider – it isn’t about quitting your job at all – it is about running away from something that weakens you. Finding the language to explain what it is about your work that you love enables you to explain it to others. Fundamentally I believe everyone wants the people they work with to be happy, fulfilled, energized, and innovative. When you have that … to your point … you will not only stay, you will contribute, and make a difference.
My theory on work life balance is that it’s complete BS. By having that mentality you’re telling me that you work and then you live. If you think about it, we work at least 1/3 of our lives and we sleep around 1/3 of our lives, so by talking about the work-life balance you’re telling me that you really only “live” 1/3 of your life. That’s really sad to me.
If you truly love what you do then work/life balance is easier to achieve. For instance (what works for me) is I take 3 day weekends (sometimes 3 day weekends) when i can and then try to take a 2 week vacation at least once, or even twice a year where i can completely checkout and not look at my phone, etc. Otherwise I’m all in all the time.
And I don’t think the 20% rule applies only to work either! If I’m not filling the not-at-work time at least 20% with activities that strengthen me I may be miserable there too. Understanding what strengthens you is NOT a work activity. Explaining to others what strengthens you is critical to your LIFE. What about the vacation motivates you, jazzes you, and makes you want to think differently? If you could identify that … what if you could explain it to others … and pull your tribe into helping you find those same activities at home?!
Work is tough when companies are in denial of processes, procedures and management styles that are not working. Life is tough when your work doesn’t support you mentally and financially.
I am not sure where you are headed but the word balance is perhaps one of the most mythical concepts people seek. They don’t even have a good definition of the thing they are seeking. It reminds me of Zig saying how can you hit a target you cannot even see? Here is where Victor Frankl and his teaching on Man’s Search for Meaning comes in. What we need is meaning. If a major part of our life is draining meaning then it doesn’t matter if it is work life, home life, or even politics, it will break us. If a major area of our life is pumping us full of meaning we can endure amazing hardships in the other areas of life.
John–you’re on the right track, for sure! And I love the Frankl reference. The question that we’ll address in the truth is essentially how do we frame meaning, as opposed to balance, in our daily lives? Thanks for the comment.
Yes!!! People are hiding from the truth … the tools are right in front of us … understand what strengthens you and learn the language to share them with others (Discover Your Strengths), tell other about those strengths (Crucial Conversations), find the people who will help you and hold you accountable to ensuring that at least 20% of what you do is strengthening (Who’s Got Your Back), and finally … incorporate this into the workplace (The Free Thinking Leader Coalition). This isn’t Work/Life … or even Work/Not-Work … this is LIFE.
For me the image evoked by “balance” is one of physical constriction, tightness. I am drawn to “rhythms.” Like in music and nature, life (inclusive of work) changes pace and quality. There is a spaciousness to how I can flow with (or not!) the rhythms of life. As always after these snippets, feeling curious!
Yes–rhythm! Health isn’t balance, it’s rhythm! What are the right rhythms for each of us, and how do we find them?
Marcus and Ashley I’m excited every time I watch a new video, it empowers me to stay on track. I was lucky enough to work for an outstanding fortune 500 Seattle based company and learned many of these idea’s. For the past 20 years I’ve struggled finding companies that don’t just say but do. Leaders that truly understand why and why they are leaders and who they serve. You guys are the change makers spearheading a revolution of change that only the few, the strong and the best brands started exploring 20+ years ago. Its time everyone enjoy work and everyone is empowered to take the world of work to the next evolution.
We are essentially working in 21st century sweatshops. They are cleaner and shinier, and sometimes offer perks. However, as Jeffrey Pffeffer states in his book, Dying for a Paycheck, our workplaces are quite literally killing us. Different ways of organizing are beginning to emerge that are life giving, however. I’ve been quite heartened and intrigued by the case studies that Frederic Laloux describes in his book, Reinventing Organizations. Creating such organizations is no small feat. Yet, when faced with the current reality of stress, illness, and death, doing the heavy lifting for a workable alternative is appealing.