There’s something we hear a lot from potential clients here at Coachwell. When we talk to people about the idea of coaching, I often run into this obstacle. They say things like:
“My personal and professional lives are in totally different camps, so why hire a coach?”
I understand how it might feel this way but in most cases, they’re more connected than you think.
When I was a pastor, working overtime to care for the needs of others was something I did unquestioningly. My personal life and vocation had no boundaries, and that felt normal. I underestimated the impact on my family. After all, pastors should be available 24/7 right?
The people I loved felt the impact of my imbalanced priorities. But at the time, I saw it as “unavoidable” or “part of the job” while in reality, it was a lack of discipline and personal leadership.
You wouldn’t believe how common this problem is among leaders. In the U.S. specifically, we think that overworked is normal. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be!
Just take a look at these mind-blowing workplace stats:
- 212 million vacation days were left unused in America which is equivalent to $63.3 billion in lost benefits(“State of American Vacation 2018”)
- 36% of employees working in financial services admitted to giving up on work-life balanceto achieve their professional goals. (Kronos Incorporated and Future Workplace)
- 30-45% of working dads surveyed by a Boston College Carroll School of Management Study assumed that productive employees put their work before family life.
Without question, work-life balance is a big deal to people. But how can we make it easier on ourselves and the people we love by actually implementing it?
Manage your life holistically instead of keeping work and personal goals separate
Founder of The Virgin Group Richard Branson said this in a Quartz article recently concerning work-life balance:
“There should be no difference between somebody’s life at home and somebody’s life at work. If at home, you feel that the environment is important, it should be important in the workplace. If at home, you’ve got friends, you should have an equal number of friends in the workplace.”
He is one of many proponents who believe that our work and personal lives have merged to a degree that it works better to treat them hand-in-hand. They have a yin and yang effect.If one is off balance, more than likely, the other is too. Here at Coachwell, we see this often. If clients are overworked, they are much more prone to forgoing important family events, encountering conflict in their personal lives, or even to rewarding themselves in unhealthy ways like binge-watching TV and eating junk food as a way to recover. Learn more about these and other Enemies of Excellence that are core risks facing leaders today.
Start by tracking your personal goals as if they were professional commitments
This includes scheduling date nights with your spouse, quiet times for reflection and stillness, exercise, and food prep into the calendar. As you learn to manage these areas in your own life, start by bringing them into the workplace and introducing better snacks in the breakroom, offering a gym reimbursement incentive to staff, or including counseling services/emotional support as part of your company’s wellness benefits. Instead of having to sync work and personal calendars or keep setting reminders on your phone, there is professional coaching software that can track everything for you in one place.
Get a mentor or coach to keep you accountable
We all reach a point where change is necessary, but even taking the first step feels overwhelming. We wonder: “How am I going to maintain all of this?” But this fear is an indicator that you’ve already got too much on your plate. Hiring a coach not only helps with balancing personal and work priorities, but provides guidance from a coach who is 10 or 20 years down the path you are currently traveling to help you see obstacles and drive efficiencies in areas you didn’t know were roadblocks. A coach helps through listening and examination of personal and professional spheres of your life to give you a more holistic perspective of what’s working and what’s not.
Here’s what Mary Carroll of Carroll Law Firm says about coaching:
“My coach knows exactly when to support, to encourage, to confront or to gently remind me of the commitments I have made to myself.”
The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone! Get a taste of what being professionally coached is like.
To your excellence in managing work-life balance as one,