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Issue Date: November 2007

Work-life balance?

1 November 2007

The words, 'perform excellently at work' and 'other life priorities' have individual meaning for everyone of us and as a result we will make different choices in how we achieve a work/home balance. So let us start by considering 'What would tell you that you are achieving professional excellence as well as your other life priorities?\Who are the people that would be impacted by your achievement? How would these people describe you if you were achieving both work performance and personal fulfillment?'
John Donahoe, president of eBay is quoted as saying: “The world will shape you if you let it. To have a sense of yourself as you live, you must make conscious choices.” In other words, you have the choice to live your life according to what is important to you or to live purely according to what is expected or demanded of you.
Obviously it is not quite as simple as that, and most people try to maintain a balancing act between what is important and what is expected.
So to achieve 'work excellence' and 'personal priorities' it is essential that you heighten your awareness of:
1. What is important to you, ie, what you value in life.
2. What motivates you.
3. What your natural talents are and how best you can apply them.
4. How you want to contribute to others, ie, how do you define your life purpose.
5. What the demands on you are, and how meeting those demands will contribute to or hinder the achievement of success as defined by you.
In an ideal world, how we behave should be an authentic interpretation of our values and principles. What are your values? Consider your behaviour at work and home and describe in which ways your behaviour illustrates your values. Also consider what inspires and motivates you. In what way does the mission of your company inspire you? What are you really good at naturally that also energises you? If you are passionate about and talented at the work you have chosen, you will experience effectiveness and efficiency (excellence) at work. This will energise you and contribute to your overall fulfillment.
Reflect upon how your friends and family support your endeavours at work? What are you doing to contribute to the lives of the people that are important to you in your personal and professional capacity? Consider in what way your professional life serves the important people in your personal life and in what way your personal life contributes to the success of your professional life. Share this understanding and facilitate acceptance.
Your values, passions, talents and purpose provide you with your compass in life. This you need to match against the demands and expectations of others. List the things you understand are expected of you and consider how these are aligned to your compass and where you would like things to be different.
Is your life congruent? Does the same compass (values, passions, talents and purpose) steer your personal and professional life? Embracing your built-in compass, and accessing it when you need to balance what is important with what is demanded, will enhance your ability to make the right choices and achieve both professional excellence and personal fulfillment.
My approach to answering questions:
As a coach I always work from the liberating stance that my client has the answer to an issue and is the best person to structure a solution. Coaching stimulates thinking and helps you to view things from different perspectives.
I intend to respond to the questions posed to me in a way that will support these principles and will facilitate you, the reader, in finding the best answer. How I respond will stimulate your thinking, impacting your way of looking at yourself, people and situations rather than providing you with the answer.
Mary Gardner
Mary Gardner
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