What is Work/Life Balance?
Inherently, we all feel like we are on this planet to accomplish something. And most of us realize that this “accomplishing” has multiple facets. For instance, we may want to succeed in our profession in some way; while we also want to succeed at being a good mother. Unless you are a machine, you want to succeed at most of these facets of your life equally. In some cases, people will feel like they have failed so much at one of these facets, they will write it off all-together and focus on whatever aspect of life they feel qualified to handle. They then end up quite lopsided.
We either tend to work too much and not focus on family or we tend to focus on having fun, but never have enough money to do what we really want. This “lopsideness” is what us coaches refer to as a poor work/life balance. Ironically, the more lopsided you get in life, the harder it is to perform at any areas of life. Because deep down inside, you know that you are not living life the way it is meant to be lived.
Facets of Life & Work
Most life coaches are familiar with “The Wheel of Life”. On this wheel are eight sections which represent eight different facets of your life including: 1) Personal Development; 2) Spiritual Awareness; 3) Fun & Enjoyment; 4) Relationships; 5) Health & Aging; 6) Personal Finance; 7) Career & Profession; and 8) Family & Parenting.
The facets can be described differently, but they represent different areas that people want to succeed in, if they want to succeed in life. I want to quickly introduce you to each area, and explain why it is important.
Most people want to grow in some way. They want to change themselves for the better and this striving is one of the activities in life that gives us fulfillment in life. You have often heard people say that life is not about the achievements, but it is about the journey. In order to have a journey, you have to be dissatisfied to some extent with where you are and want to move to a different place. This growth is “personal development” and it is a key to being happy.
Our secularized world has downplayed the importance of a spiritual awareness resulting in a very materialistic world in many respects. Most mature people understand that true happiness is not contained in a material possession or physical experience. Great earthly experiences are certainly fun, but they do not contain the heart and soul of how us human beings are designed to be. I am not talking about religion, but more the idea that humans are spiritual beings and that we all have a desire to feed our spiritual nature… or we will be unfulfilled in life.
Fun & Enjoyment
Some may say that Fun and Enjoyment are the goals of living on this earth. In fact, the only reason we work is so that we can afford to pay for Fun and Enjoyment. Sadly, many of us work so much that we have no time for fun, and we sense that all life is about is paying bills, eating, sleeping, going to work, and doing it all over again. Ironically, many people who have little money, still manage to enjoy what little they have and can have fun in almost every circumstance.
If you have ever had a fight with your spouse, you understand how having conflict can cause sadness in your life. This same sadness can happen in a bad relationship with your boss at work. While we know that relationships are important to your happiness, we also know how hard it is to start and maintain the loving and mutually beneficial relationships we crave.
Health & Aging
In the United States, our average life expectancy rose from 74-yrs to 82-yrs; and our medical costs rose from 1% to 20% of GDP. There is no question that we place a high value on the time we have on this planet; plus our health while we are alive. Even with this great focus on healthcare and life expectancy, citizens in the U.S. have the highest incidents of obesity of any developed country. This fear of disease, or limiting physical ability can directly impact our fulfillment in life.
I will never forget how I felt when I bounced my first check. When you are out of money, it is natural to feel like your options are limited… because they are. Unfortunately, most people who have little money, have not learned how to manage and grow money; and so they continue to believe that earning money is outside of their personal influence; and therefore still live in a place of need. Others who have more money than they can possibly spend in a lifetime, still feel like they don’t have enough and continue to hoard money. Either attitude in the area of personal finance leads to an unfulfilled life.
Career & Profession
Once upon a time, Career & Profession seemed to be a facet of life reserved for men. However, it is apparent that both men and women want to feel like they are doing something meaningful for society outside of their household. Some have the ability to volunteer for this career, while most of us require compensation for the work that we do outside of our household. In many cases, people take a job to earn money but don’t really feel happy with their work. In other cases, people have difficulty finding a career or business that is suitable to them… feeling like their work has to make them happy. Both extremes will create unhappiness in life.
Family & Parenting
Family is a mixed blessing for most. We all want to have great relationships with our siblings, parents and offspring. However, one honest video of a Thanksgiving celebration may show you that families are challenging environments. Some tend to stay inside the comfort of their family and never venture outside the home environment; while others tend to disconnect from family members who have hurt them, never to return again. Both extremes can lead to unhappiness in life.
I have listed every facet of the Wheel of Life; and made a brief commentary on how excelling at each of these areas will lead to happiness in life. The reason that us Life Coaches focus on these ares of life, is that it is our goal to help you move forward in life. Until you rank yourself in each area of this Wheel of Life, you really don’t know where you are starting; thus you cannot know which direction “forward” is.
Let me be clear. As a coach, I don’t measure the amount of money in your bank account and then rank you on a scale of 1 to 10 on your finances. Instead, I simply ask you, “Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 on finances.” This simple action tells me, where you want to be financially (Point B); and where you are today (Point A). With this information, I can develop a plan on how to help you move from Point A to Point B.
Doing a Wheel of Life exercise with a coach is extremely illuminating. If you are interested in conducting a Wheel of Life exercise for yourself, I offer free introductory coaching sessions that will allow you to establish where you are in each facet of your own life; and what you need to do to create balance and happiness for yourself. Just fill out the contact form below, and I will email or call you to schedule a free Wheel of Life coaching session.
Note from the Author
My name is Jeff Schuster. I am a certified Life and Business Coach serving small business owners, corporate executives and others who want to transition from “expert” to “entrepreneur”. I have been a small business owner for most of my 30-years in the workplace. I grew an energy efficiency and renewable energy engineering and construction company from nothing to over $10-million/year and sold it in 2013. I now help other business owners make amazing progress toward their own dreams of business ownership independence and success.