Summary: Few things seem more different than the worlds of work and home. However, it is a myth that we can separate them. Stress in one area often tumbles into the other. Here are some tips for creating a better balance.
Dear Dr. Sylvia,
Yesterday I did what I now call “A Tom Brady move.”
I was so mad at my colleague at work I shouted, snorted a big, loud, “damn it, and walked, charged out of the meeting room.
Thus, this was my variation of throwing and smashing a Microsoft tablet on the ground.
The reason is less important now than the embarrassment and anger I felt.
Work-life balance requires understanding how systems work.
Firstly, let me give you the back story.
My teenage son has been flirting with drugs for about a year now. My wife and I knew about his love of pot and pills and did talk with him. He promised to stop.
Subsequently, we were called to meet with the school counselor and told that the situation was difficult and he needed immediate attention, perhaps even rehab.
In other words, we finally must face the truth and get him help.
Clear boundaries are essential for work-life balance.
We are devastated.
Ultimately, we put on smiley faces, not wanting anyone to know what is happening behind closed doors, and act as if everything is fine and dandy.
Meanwhile, back to yesterday.
My co-worker, just like my son, is a truth denier and procrastinator.
For example, just like my son, my co-worker always makes many excuses for his behavior and promises to do better.
Above all, I want to keep my home situation and work issues separate. Yet, they keep “bleeding” into each other.
Most importantly, I see my son when I talk with my co-worker and vice versa at home.
Everyone must take the time to find a healthy work-life balance.
This brings me back to GOAT Brady and his gorgeous wife, Gisele.
The world knows there are “mosquitoes in the Brady paradise.” I would guess throwing tablets to the ground was due to frustrations with his team on the field and the tensions at home.
Thus, like Brady, I need some help in how to create better boundaries and keep “church and state” separate.
Self-awareness and group awareness are vital for positive work-life boundaries.
Your question is one we all struggle with from time to time, from childhood to adulthood.
For example, how much should we tell each other? When do we keep our mouths shut tightly? What makes a healthy balance?
We talk about work-life balance as if they are chunks of matter on opposite sides of a balance scale.
In terms of relationships, work and home are not nearly as different as they seem at first glance.
Work teams and families both constitute similar systems of relationships.
The day-to-day workings of both groups are nearly the same.
Think of it this way: at work, we have bosses (like parents), co-workers (like siblings), salaries (like allowances), and even performance improvement plans (like a time out).
It’s not surprising that home and work relationships flow pretty naturally into one another.
Thus, when there is a lack of control, there is often a physical/emotional blow-up.
Consider Brady and his tablet, you, and your abrupt leave-taking during a difficult meeting.
Therefore, here are suggestions to keep a good balance between your thoughts, emotions, and actions.
- Have a talking partner: When stress is high, it is essential to have someone you can talk with about the specifics of what is happening. In today’s world, having a coach or therapist is seen as positive, so find someone who can be objective and is a good listener.
- Share the essence, NOT the details, with colleagues: Let work colleagues know you are sorting through some challenging issues, and if you become “short” with them, you will walk away to find calm before responding. The same goes for a work situation to tell your family you are working out the details.
- Focus on your inner work: Rather than set up the blame game trap, begin to change your mindset. You will be amazed at how others in your relationship system start to align with you when you stop pointing the finger at others.
- Set the goal for success and keep the vision front and center: Move to a positive outcome and hold the vision of success in your mind’s eye. Connect with your purpose daily and be grateful for even the slightest positive change. Write in a journal or speak out loud when you are alone.
I want to end with a Tom Brady story about the Super Bowl 51 win. In his words:
“We were down 28-3 against the Atlanta Falcons. You could look at that situation and quit and say (expletive)it. We have no shot at winning.
Or you could say this is going to be a fantastic comeback. When we return from this, this will be a defining moment in our life or pro career.
When you shift your mind to think that way, it becomes more empowering than discouraging.”
And with that, I wish you and Tom great success in finding a healthy work-life balance.
For more about the fine line between family and work, please read “Don’t Bring It To Work” for a complete list of suggestions.
Here’s to your success,
P.S. Our coaches are experts in Pattern Breakthrough Coaching. Click here for a complimentary session to get started.
P.S.S. A simple way to get beyond outdated patterns is by doing the SANITY CHALLENGE. Sign up here to explore your invisible patterns and get into the safe stress zone.