People have struggled to find a work/life balance pretty much since the existence of ‘work’. Determining where your priorities lie and how to actually attend to them can be just as stressful as the demands of your work and life. In a society that is increasingly more connected, creating a balance can seem unachieveable. Stepping back from the idea of work/life balance – the ability to juggle all the responsibilities in your life, pay attention to all your priorities, and not jeopardize any of them – and adjusting your view to a work/life harmony gives the opportunity to re-evaluate what your responsibilities and priorities are. Only then can you proactively make decisions that help them work together to provide you with a better quality of life.
When it comes to recruitment, companies go through a relatively thorough process with the goal of finding ‘talent fit.’ This process hopes to seek candidates who are aligned with the values and objectives of the company, and who offer the appropriate skills and experiences needed to perform well in a role. When candidates who fit these criteria are selected for hire, they generally become better engaged employees who tend to outperform those with less of a ‘fit.’
From the individual’s perspective, taking a similar approach to evaluating employers and your career choices can help to find a better ‘whole life fit’. A whole life fit is an approach to managing your personal and professional life in a manner that brings harmony between the two. Harmony, rather than balance, means that we seek ways to leverage our abilities and strengths from each area of life to positively impact the other.
Work, in the broad sense, should not just be paid employment, but rather, should be viewed as our contribution to society as a whole. Whether we are family caregivers, community volunteers, students, employees, or entrepreneurs, we are performing a task or function that serves the greater good. Our work is something we do out of need, obligation, or opportunity.
Life encompasses our home, family, relationships, interests, health, wellness, and so on. Our responsibility, duty, and enjoyment in these areas teach us many lessons and skills in which we can transfer and utilize in others.
Combined, our work and life make up our ‘whole life.’ What we do in life impacts our work, and what we do in work impacts our life. We develop skills that can cross over and have experiences that will positively benefit others. On the opposite end, our life can creep into our work and create a negative impact, just as work can creep into life. They are so intricately intertwined that thinking that one doesn’t effect the other is like thinking the world is flat.
As such, harmonizing these two areas allows you to recognize, reward, and readjust as needed.
Here are a few tips to finding your whole life fit to create a better work/life harmony:
- Understand your priorities
- Define what and who are important to you, and why.
- Connect with your values
- Understand your values and how they propel you forward.
- Be real, be honest
- Have a realistic view of the opportunities and world before you; be prepared to adapt and flex in order to create harmony.
- The innate qualities that you have that allow you to develop and excel in your skills.
- Interests & Passions
- Appreciate what interests you; seeking the ‘dream job’ isn’t always possible, but finding interest in what you do is possible.
- Skills & Experiences
- Learned and developed proficiencies, often developed through the transfer of training and knowledge.
Some aspects of life and work will intersect while others won’t. Seeking out opportunities that align with this intersection will bring about a whole life fit that allows you to perform better and be an overall happier individual.
Just as companies perform annual evaluations, individuals can regularly assess their whole life fit. It’s a simple exercise that will bring great value. Take the time to evaluate and find your whole life fit.
~Watch for our next post: How can employers embrace the ‘whole life fit’ and help their employees create a better work/life harmony?~