Taking it all very personally…

Last week’s antics by a variety of players – board members of an embattled, publicly funded corporation; our federal government and of course Charlie Sheen – had me once again thinking about change (and political and pop culture parallels). Change is hard, especially when you’re in denial TCHC, Stephen Harper and F-18 bro! It’s even harder when you’re expending lots of energy compartmentalizing yourself into ‘work’ and ‘life.’ There is no work and life. There’s just life, and life includes work.

Isn’t it better to have your whole self at the ready when you’re managing through change? Why divvy it up? Kelly asked herself that same question, and here’s where she landed…

A couple weeks ago, I joined a Friday night badminton league at my local community centre. Badminton was good fun in high school and to my delight – it’s still good fun. And, I like my exercise thickly disguised as something I actually enjoy.

When I mentioned my badminton commitment to a work colleague, her reaction was confounding. “Badminton is great for your work/life balance,” she said.

Huh? Since when did work and life become mutually exclusive? When did we decide to divvy up work and life in two piles? Is there some sort of difference between one’s work and one’s life?

For many people, work defines their life and life defines their work. The subject of balance is really non-existent. Not such a bad thing really. Work is part of what makes us whole – whether you’re toiling away on a spreadsheet or shovelling the driveway. Work is an important and real part of life.

I think work/life balance is a crock. There’s only “life” and it plays out where ever you go, and in whatever you do. You can strive for a balanced life of course – but it takes work, and you need to work at it.

For me, achieving a balanced life starts with my personal relationships. It means building solid, meaningful relationships with the people I respect and adore. This includes family, friends and work colleagues. I wince when I hear “It’s nothing personal, it’s just business.” When you spend a good chunk of your time at work – it’s impossible not to take it all very personally. And I always do my best work for the people I care about.

Life is personal – at work or at play. If you’re not convinced, read Linchpin.