Jay Rifenbary

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Work-Life Balance - Take On The Challenge

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What is truly important to you? Would your answers parallel with how you live your life? Do your behaviors reinforce or suppress what you believe to be important? Is what you believe to be genuinely important align with your core values? The answers to those questions will be the answer to whether you are, or are not, living a well balanced life. We are all influenced by the perceived daily necessity to succeed, but in the journey to succeed are you neglecting what you believe to be most important for your ultimate contentment, fulfillment and happiness? What are your priorities in the process of making a decision? Are you taking into consideration the different elements of your life, and the responsibilities associated with those elements when making that decision? Family, friends, work, health, finances, education, and personal growth are all elements that are part of your life’s equation. How balanced is your equation? Wikipedia defines work-life balance as “a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).

An understanding of your core values provides the platform for how to prioritize the different elements of your life. For example, if a core value of yours is accountability and you take accountability for your performance at work, but make excuses for your lack of fulfillment at home, you are out of balance. If a core value of yours is perseverance, and you persevere through a project at work, but do not persevere through the challenges of taking care of yourself physically, you are out of balance. If a core value of yours is empathy, and you display empathy to your fellow employees, but are not empathetic toward your family, you are out of balance. Misalignment of your core values with how you live your life will only create misunderstanding of what is important to you, and therefore create imbalance. Former Chairman and CEO of General Electric Jack Welch stated, “There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.” Those choices are more likely to be correct and beneficial when they are in alignment with your core values.

In addition, each life experience allows you to reframe how you look at your life. The birth of a child, the death of a loved one, the failure of a business, a change in health, the accomplishment of a goal, the marriage of children are all experiences that reframe what you may perceive as being most important. It may appear to be common sense to adapt as we mature and experience the many facets of living, but how many people reach a stage in their life never reflecting on how they got there? This lack of reflection and reframing are other factors that contribute to an unbalanced life. You may wake up one day having worked for years unaware that other elements of your life have been neglected, and now you are experiencing the consequences of that unawareness. Author Michael Sunnarborg said, “A true balance between work and life comes with knowing that your life activities are integrated, not separated.”

Five practical steps in creating greater work-life balance include, * Commit to scheduling and making time to spend with family, friends and those you like and love. No one knows what tomorrow may bring and no one on their deathbed has ever said that they wished they had spent more time at the office. * Commit to exercising physically, mentally and spiritually. It will renew your energy and further your personal development, which adds to greater fulfillment. * Commit to not wasting time and energy with naysayers, complainers, gossipers and excuse makers. They do absolutely nothing to enhance your life experience. * Commit to reviewing, renewing and relating your core values to how you live your life and in turn what is most important to you. * Commit to taking some downtime and relax! Music, art, a good book, cooking a great meal or a vacation no matter how small will make a big difference.

Work-Life Balance is equalizing what you need to do to live a responsible life, with what you want to do to have a fulfilling life.



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