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Work life balance

After discussing having a career versus a job, and creating your career, now it’s time to talk about finding that desired balance between work and your personal life.

It is one of life’s truisms that you get out of what you put in and if you want something, you need to work at making it happen.

Recently we’ve talked a lot about developing a career (see Part 1 and Part 2 of this series) but what about your personal life?

If you have that nagging feeling that there is more to life than you’re getting or giving – it’s probably time for a rethink. Circumstances that might look gloomy (losing a job or reduced hours), often provide an opportunity to ask questions around what do we want – where do we want to go – what is our purpose/our why in life? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? What’s your passion?

For many of us life just goes on and we don’t necessarily take the time to take a stock-take of where we are at. Is it where we want to be? If not, why? Is there anything specific you can put your finger on? Of course, circumstances once again may dictate that what you truly want in your life isn’t happening at present. That’s hard – there isn’t really any other way to sugar coat it. In these instances, unfortunately, it is just about looking for what you can control and making headway with those aspects of your life. And I know, sometimes this is much easier said than done.

But for those who are just passively existing as opposed to consciously living; taking the time to engage with how you visualise your life looking and whether you are on the path to making it happen, can be a good thing.

A great exercise to help with this is to think about how would you like your eulogy to read (I know it’s a cheery thought… Not!). How would you want people to remember you? If you want to be someone who gives back (or pays forward) and is considered to be generous and kind and giving, but at present there is no aspect of your life that allows for that – then can you make changes to start creating those paths? If you want to be known as someone who values family over everything else but you spend every hour working, again what can you do to make changes?

This is your life, and whilst of course not everything is within your control; you need to recognise what you’re in control of and take the reigns. You

One important thing to remember is that there are phases in life and in careers. There are times where there can be an absolute emphasis on career, and there can be times where things are more holistic. There’s no prescribed formula for any of us, and so long as you are living your “why” – it can be a very circuitous route that is still fulfilling or one that it is very driven.

My life now resembles literally nothing like my life seven years ago. Back then I was all career, career, career. Enter two children. Since then, I have pivoted and created a lifestyle that enables me to fulfil my passion of being able to make the workplace better. By having two businesses, time to write, time to be with my children and family, being able to give back and having time for me – in short, I have a much more holistic (and satisfying) life for myself. It suits me, and it suits the way that I am prepared to work, the hours I am prepared to work and the income I am prepared to earn at present. It works for me, but for others, it may be a path filled with too much uncertainty. But there will be a path and an equation that works for you and will mean you can create a life you are proud of and a career you want.

Take the time to think about what you really want and why – work out ways to get there and set about trying a few things. Always remember that you’ll probably take a few wrong turns (and that’s ok). The wonderful thing about the age in which we live is that it’s very forgiving of trying out new approaches and opportunities. Mis-takes are rarely the same as failures if we learn from them.

Tammy Tansley is the author of Do What You Say You’ll Do, a book for emerging leaders or those reinventing their leadership style. She runs a boutique consultancy that specialises in leadership and creating great cultures, and is co owner of Help Me HR. She is also mum to two mischiefs.

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