Having a strong work-life role as part of our overall identity is healthy and normal for high-performing people. However, it is easily taken too far. People may become so emotionally connected to the business that it consumes their identity until “the company” represents a huge part of the individual. On the other hand, having a weak work-life component of our identity leads to career stagnation, mediocrity, and disengagement.
When we permit our personal identities to be compromised by allowing the corporation to supplant our true selves, we are letting our family, team, and company down. Our objectiveness and priority system is unbalanced, and that compromises our judgement. This situation leads to burnout, frustration, and an ever escalating level of damaged relationships.
FYI: This post is not what I intended to write. However, it is some honest thoughts, and I feel it might be worth sharing. I hope you find some value in it.
This is avoidable by aligning our priorities and actions with our core values. This requires us to understand what matters the most to us as a person. Frequently, it is our family. I have learned the importance of regularly looking at my obligations and roles through the lens of my core values. This approach allows for the separation of the corporation from the person. I am not advocating for the separate identities for work-life and home-life. This would create an entirely different set of problems. I am a complete person that has multiple obligations and roles in life. When integrated together through core values, I am a unified and authentic person. I would recommend that we look at where our efforts/resources are being directed while asking a couple of questions.
- Do I understand the needs and expectations of my stakeholders? Even if I am sure, I will ask them again. This understanding must be comprehensive and include both internal and external such as family, friends, colleagues, business and community.
- Are my actions and resource allocation (time, energy, mind share, and financial among other items) aligned with those needs and expectations?
- Do I agree with the current alignment between my core values, conduct, the external expectations placed on me, my internal expectations for myself, and my allocation of resources? If not, what beliefs, actions, or assignments need to be modified to gain the required alignment?
- If I feel my resource’s allocations, actions, and beliefs are aligned with my core values, do the desires of my stakeholder’s need to be modified? If so, what methods may I use to help them in recalibrating their expectations?
- How often should I recheck my alignment with my stakeholders and core values?
The allocation of resources and assessment of our behavior moves as our life situations change. The aim is to keep the true priorities that are derived from our core values first in our personal and professional lives. When we have an agreement between our core values, behaviors, and stakeholders, we are free to experience higher levels of fulfillment, clearer judgement, and ultimately the success we seek.