4 Steps to Create Better Work-Life Balance

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There is a lot of talk right now about finding a balance in life. It takes courage to explore how happy you are in both your personal and work life. With a little bit of soul searching you can come up with some new insights about creating that elusive work-life balance.

When trying to achieve a balance in your life, the best place to start is by examining your own values. It is important that you first know and understand your own personal values and decide how you can bring more of your true self to your work place. Being in touch with your purpose and understanding your values will lead to greater inner clarity and thus have a positive ripple in both work and home.

Several years ago made a phone call to the customer service department at the local cable company. As I was making small talk with the gentleman that was helping me, I asked how his day was going. He replied that it would be great at 5 o’clock because that is when his real life began. Now of course, I am not for sure what type of day he was having or his background story; what was clear to me was that he was experiencing mission misalignment between work and his personal life.

I also struggled with this through my career until I ventured out on my own 27 years ago. Prior to starting my business, I worked in a sales position selling dictation equipment. I would justify to myself that I was making a difference by helping people save time and be more efficient with the dictation equipment I was promoting. But in my heart was a sense that my mission at work was not aligned with my life. After lots of soul searching that lead me to take steps to change direction, I am now aligned with my mission and values. The bottom line for me is that my mission is to make a difference and it is congruent in all my actions and thinking- in both work and life I have learned that while it may not always be possible to love your job as a true expression of who you are, it is important to your own satisfaction to find some common ground between your values and strengths in both places. When searching for inner clarity to foster a better “work-life balance,” think about the following:

  1. Get clear on your strengths. Ask yourself: Who am !? What am I good at? What energizes me and brings me joy?
  2. Decide if your workplace is a good fit for your strengths and values. Are there opportunities within your work environment for you to use your strengths? Is the mission of the company aligned with your values?
  3. Think about your non-negotiable values. For instance, is it honesty? Making a difference to others? Recognition? Money? Autonomy? Working as a team?
  4. Make a change if needed. That may mean staying at your current position while refining or strengthening those areas that reflect your values. Or perhaps, if there is a value misalignment, consider seeking a new work environment.

With all of the recent talk about achieving work-life balance, we have learned that separating life and work is virtually impossible. Balance is is about integrating them into a whole- an expression of your total person. The secret lies in finding a way to integrate the two so that you can live the most authentic life possible while encompassing both work and life balance. When you bring more of your true self to your work environment, your real life will shine through from the inside out.

Look for one of our future blogs that will take you through discovering your core values and mission. In the meantime, focus on one thing you can do today to celebrate what is right with your world. See how that influences the way you see the world. We would love to hear your thoughts and reflections.

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One Response to “4 Steps to Create Better Work-Life Balance”
  1. Katherine says:

    Ellen–
    I’m embarrassed to say I have just now read this issue of your blog. It is terrific! Your next to last paragraph expresses in words what I have felt all my work life. Thank you! This is what we all need to seek: integrating our work and life so we can live the most authentic life possible. Beautiful, my friend.

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