Life Works

The other day I was asked to speak about “Work Life Balance” and the more I thought about this topic the less comfortable I became with it. I began to think more about the words and what they are saying and this is what came to me:

“Work / Life”

Implies that work and life are separate and different things and we are either working or living

“Balance”

Implies that we have to precariously balance on some magical tight rope between work and our life

Therefore I decided not to talk about “Work Life Balance” and instead I chose to talk about “A Life That Works”. The more I thought about my reason for being uncomfortable with the original topic for the talk, the more I thought about the power that the words we use every day have on us and the way we experience our world.

How would it be if you had a life that worked for you? If that was the case, how would you talk about the things that you do within your life? I was once told about an actress who noticed how she was speaking about her work to her children. She was concerned that her words – perhaps her thoughts- did not portray an aspiring (great) role model. When she said to her children “I have to go and make this movie”, she recognised that by speaking this way she was implying that she had ‘no choice’ and that it was a chore. The real truth was that she was going to do something amazing, and at the same time hang out with really cool film stars. So…. she made a significant change to her words, from:

“I have to go and film a movie”

Changed to:-

“I get to go and film a movie”

What a difference a word makes!

I wonder how you talk about what you get to do every day. Do you speak about it from the perspective of all the positives or do you use less than positive language? How different would you feel about your life if you chose to describe everything as if it is a gift and a pleasure?

Work provides so many positive things for us practically and emotionally and additionally, provides a sense of achievement, purpose, identity, and of course income. Notice that income is lastly quoted. Why, you may ask is income last? But let’s not get off the original topic, perhaps another discussion for another time. Most of us also enjoy our non-working time and value this and would not want to be without either, so the key here is maybe not so much about having a different life but simply having a different life experience.

Sometimes it is not so much about changing your life as changing your attitude to your life. I wonder what impact it would have if you simply chose to talk about your life differently?

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called STRESS, Working hard for something we love is called PASSION
Simon Sinek

Which would you rather experience?

Ok so how do you make the shift?

  1. Think about all the positive reasons you choose to work. If it is simply money then ask yourself: What is the positive impact that money allows me to have or give?
  2. If your personal life is jam packed, think of all the reasons you have created that out flows from this or….If your personal life is less full, focus on all the wonderful benefits of that this provides in time and energy.
  3. Actively appreciate what you have by choosing to speak of such things in a positive way.  More. Importantly, notice how different you begin to feel. Try to perceive how this changes the way you act and feel:   

Do this and observe the difference it makes to you and to others. Notice how different you begin to feel and how this impacts the way you experience your world. You may even begin to notice that things start to feel easier and other people respond to you differently too.

Of course this is just one element of creating a life that works but it is a great place to start and once you are working from this new positive position you may find it a lot easier to make other positive changes and adjustments.