I’m going to say something that’s socially unacceptable.
I enjoy my job so much that I’d rather work than play. Spending time creating and growing my business are more attractive than hanging out with my 2 kids. And my boys are pretty awesome little dudes.
This is a first for me and it pains me.
You see, during my corporate years I was pretty darn good at achieving work-life balance. I never felt guilty about it. Sure there were coworkers that thought I should at least pretend to work longer hours than I did, but I ignored them. I refused to create an unnecessary prison and I was much better off for it. I managed to keep my upbeat optimism while they sat in their cubes wishing they could leave, doing nothing but "looking good." Sure I put in a few 70 hour weeks, but not many. After having kids I made it a point not to open my work computer until after my boys were asleep in bed. Frankly there were many evenings my laptop stayed in the bag all night, never touched.
And maybe because I did not become a workplace martyr, I mostly enjoyed the various marketing roles I had over the years–but not nearly as close to the extent that I like my job now.
So what's the big deal?
My kids are noticing it.
"Mommmmmmmmm, did you hear me?"
I get this pretty regularly as I daydream about my next step, my next move, my next creation.
They notice that I’m not really present in their world and this present-but-absent momma pains my kids as well.
The other day Cole, my 7 year old, used one of my own coaching tools to reprimand me. I guess I’d spent too much time in front of the computer that day and he had had enough.
I use a wellness wheel that highlights 9 dimensions of health. I ask my clients to rate their level of satisfaction in those 9 key areas. If you google wellness wheel you will see many different manifestations, my favorite was developed by Michael Arloski, PhD. It’s my go-to.
Just for kicks, pretend you’re my client and let's do it together now.
Rank your level of satisfaction in each area of your life (a score of 1 to 10, where 1 is not at all satisfied and 10 is extremely satisfied).
Health + Wellness
Fun + Recreation
Once you have marked your number in each area, connect each number to form an outside perimeter for your circle. The end goal is a large smooth circle, looking like a bicycle wheel. Side note: I have never seen a perfectly smooth large circle. But that doesn't mean it won't happen! The large smooth circle is something to work toward. It’s a dynamic goal. Your relationship with each of those 9 dimensions will always evolve and improve as long as you’re intentional and you stay present.
I have clients fill this out twice—first in our initial session and a second time during our final session. I don't let them look at their original scores so that we don't bias our results.
A FEW QUESTIONS TO PONDER
How smooth or bumpy is your life? (Does your circle look like a circle?)
Which areas of your life need attention? (These are the areas with the lowest scores.)
What areas of your life are you willing to address now, soon, later? (How are you going to prioritize?)
It always feels pretty amazing to see how much good can transpire in a short period of time.
Check out the transformation that occurred for one of my clients. She rolled up their sleeves, faced her fears and gave the program her all.
Can she still experience more satisfaction in life? Heck yes! I believe that she will. And she now has the tools and self-efficacy to keep the momentum going.
So back to Cole. What did he actually do?
He took a print out of this document and said, "momma, you know what score I am giving YOU? for FAMILY? (as he pointed to the family dimension of health on the wheel) I’m giving you a ZERO, because all you care about is your work and your computer!"
Wait...An F?? A zero would be an F. That was not a grade I wanted to receive.
How could that be right when I had been giving myself a 10 for that dimension?
There was disbelief. But I just made you your favorite dinner is what immediately came to mind. I thought I was making enough space for all the things that mattered. But he didn't see it that way. In his way he was telling me he needed 'more.' Or better put, he needed 'different.'
Talk about a wake up call.