New chapter contribution in newly released leadership handbook from Fellows in Residence for CLOSR
Author: Elvire Daniels
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It’s the challenge each of us has faced since the day we began our very first job. How to balance work and our personal lives so each can be equally fulfilling and rewarding? On one end of the spectrum, we yearn for a job where we could have so much fun, it would not even appear like we are working. The perfect blend of making a living and experiencing minute-by-minute enjoyment like that of spending each moment immersed in our favorite hobbies and pastimes, the ultimate height of brainwave stimulation and high serotonin output. However, that just is not possible nor even feasible, if you will, in all career choices and workday roles. It may take several jobs before this utopian-like scenario could possibly come to fruition -- if ever.
That said, what can you do now if your current employment situation does not leave you with a natural high 24/7? Take some of those hours and immerse yourself in activities that balance your equilibrium. For what you may sew aside from work now may help bear your passionate fruit in another future job. Either way, it’s now up to you to engage in activities that help you balance your intellectual, physical, and spiritual life, to avoid feeling burnt out. It’s time for self-advocacy.
Intellectually our minds are hungry. Our brains are designed to be stimulated. This process is typically tied to our passions. Afterall, it appears we learn better when we are interested in the topic with our unique sense of immediacy (Mehrabian, 1971: 2007). However, it is no surprise that each of us is built differently. Our incentive and reward system are also built differently (Sun, et. al., 2018). Some are incentivized when their passion or expertise helps lead their profession or when they volunteer to give back to their community (National Volunteer Week, 2020). Consider starting or joining a professional association (< See my earlier blog with ideas) in your field and working with local chapters to contribute and network. Others may feel a sense of accomplishment and ongoing passion by developing a grassroots effort that solves a long standing local, state, or national problem, even if it takes baby steps. Still others are at their intellectual best when passive income grows beyond their expectations (Passive Income Strategies To Erase Your Financial Worries Forever As An Entrepreneur, 2019).
For any outside work activity that can strengthen our equilibrium we must first take stock in how we manage our time. Is too much wasted on perusing through social networks or in the amount of time we spend gossiping or in other activities we know may not be too healthy? Maybe it’s worth investing in a program like the 7 Healthy Habits of Highly Effective People or Families (FranklinCovey and Simon & Schuster Release New Edition of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, With Personal Insights from Son, Sean Covey, 2020). See if your HR may be willing to send you through such a program. If not consider the investment yourself, at minimum you may find either book useful by themselves. By changing how you spend your time inside and outside work, you can spend the time needed to maintain your intellect through passion and your unique personal reward system based on passion.
This requirement is a bit more simplistic than our ability to keep or intellect going, it really is about staying in motion. Indeed, it is no surprise that part of being balanced is incorporating daily activities and avoid being sedentary. I keep track of my commitment to achieving a minimum of 5000 to 10,000 steps and beyond every day. A smartwatch is a great way to track your due diligence to doing just that to the point where the watch will remind you to get up and move and with a smartphone app you can see your weekly, monthly, and yearly progress. The benefits of physical activity help with maintaining stress. Whether you play pickle ball, practice yoga, swim, run, or walk, we all need to keep moving (Workplace Stress, 2016). This requirement leads to the last step in our workplace, home life balance, our spirituality. Spirituality like our intellect and choice of physical activities differs among everyone.
When your religion or ability to practice mindfulness are separate or one and the same, our beliefs and our ability to be spiritual in some way is an important piece of the equilibrium balance we all need. So we must devote a certain amount of time that allows us to connect with this side of our soul. For example, “When we meditate, we make the mind calm, quiet, and still—without thoughts. At that time, we have to be fully aware of the arrival of thoughts and allow no idle thoughts to enter into the mind. The mind is vacant and tranquil, with neither good nor bad thoughts; nothing at all. Our whole existence becomes an empty vessel. When this vessel is absolutely empty, with our whole inner being we invoke infinite Peace, Light and Bliss so it will enter into the vessel and fill it. This is meditation” (SriChinmoyCenter.org, 2018).
Self-advocacy begins when we take stock in our intellectual, physical, and spiritual health. To avoid disequilibrium, we must manage our time wisely, and pick activities outside of our work we gravitate towards with a sense of immediacy. In this fashion, even with baby steps, we can balance our everyday perspective outside of work, lessen the chance of work leading to burnout let alone the newer phenomenon of quiet quitting. No one ever said balance was a metaphor for staying upright all the time. We are bound to fall down here and there. But how we get back up and the time we stay up should be time well spent on allowing us to believe we can move forward with conviction and passion!
FranklinCovey and Simon & Schuster Release New Edition of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, With Personal Insights from Son, Sean Covey. (2020, May 20). Plus Company Updates.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body: Av & Wellbeing. (2022, June 1). Installation, 248, 14.
Mehrabian, A. (1971). Silent messages. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Mehrabian, A. (2007). Nonverbal communication. New Brunswick, Canada: Aldine Transaction.
National Volunteer Week: Discovering your passion. (2020, April 24). Plus Company Updates.
Passive Income Strategies To Erase Your Financial Worries Forever As An Entrepreneur. (2019, December 11). Business World.
SriChinmoyCenter.org. (2018). What happens during meditation? Meditation, para 3. Retrieved from https://www.srichinmoycentre.org/meditation
Sun, C.-T., Chen, L.-X., & Chu, H.-M. (2018). Associations among scaffold presentation, reward mechanisms and problem-solving behaviors in game play. Computers & Education, 119, 95–111. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.01.001
Workplace stress. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.stress.org/workplace-stress/