If you were asked what’s most important to you in life, work or family, what would you answer? Most people, not all, but most would answer family. And maybe deep down in our heart of hearts this is entirely true. But if it’s true, then why do we spend so much of our time, creative energy, and passion at work? And sometimes we are so spent, we don’t have much left for home.
Many business owners, entrepreneurs, and managers would tell you that they are quite different at work than they are at home. It’s pretty universal. We are typically stronger in one area vs. another. At work, we show up as the assertive, decision makers, quick thinkers, and effective communicators. When we’re at home we often feel like we are just winging it.
Maybe it’s because of the aspect of unconditional love. At home, we can mess up, make mistakes and be far less than perfect, yet somehow we know we will still be accepted. At work it’s certainly not the same. If we mess up, make mistakes, underachieve, and don’t meet our deadlines, there’s an underlying fear, if you’re an employee, that you’ll be fired. Or worse, if you own the business, that you’d go under. There’s a lot at stake. So we go above and beyond at work, in a way that we don’t at home, somehow thinking it will just all work out.
There’s no accident that the divorce rate is what it is. Divorce doesn’t happen overnight, it takes years of taking the other person for granted, not handling issues that need to be addressed, and giving more effort to our jobs than our families for it to finally take its toll. And it does take its toll.
How can we, as brilliant business people, lessen the cost of this way of being? By implementing some of the same strategies that we do at work at home. The first strategy is to develop a context in which to operate from, or in other words a culture for your family. How you will be with each other and how the family will be with the outside world. How to develop this is quite simple. Just look at what makes your family unique from anyone else’s. Look at what had you fall in love with your spouse, and them with you. For instance, you might say “I always loved how my husband spoke up for what was important to him, no matter what.” Speaking up for what’s important to you could be a part of the culture of your family. Come up with at least 3 or 4 of these. All family decisions should be made with this culture taken into account.
Next, your family should always be working together towards something important. I would assume that your company is never in a period of coasting along until the next project comes up, right? Your family should not either. Every couple of months, choose a project that is important for your family to accomplish. Now this could be as the result of an emergency such as an illness in the family, a baby on the way, a particular financial situation, a child’s grades that need attention, etc. Or this could be something that you simply want to put your energies into such as an exciting vacation, a new home, or a move.
Once the project is decided upon, then each family member should have a part in making it happen. All decisions would be made based on whether or not it will support the main project. Saying no becomes easy and guilt free once you know what’s important and where you want your energies going toward.
Once you accomplish this project, chose another one. And it’s really important to make one project the most important one. If you make several projects important, you might end up being mediocre at all of them vs. successful at one.
Applying these few simple strategies will soon have you feeling more balanced than you could have ever imagined, with the goal of this being able to feel more peaceful inside about your life.