Work-life balance is good, but is it the best we can achieve? The very phrase of work-life balance conjures images of tension: two teams in a perpetual tug-of-war. A delicate scale needing precisely equal weights to maintain equilibrium. A tightrope walker making constant slight shifts to stay upright.
Is that the way you want to work and live … in a state of unremitting tension? Never able to relax your efforts to equalize opposing forces?
We need to go beyond work-life balance to work-life fulfillment.
Fulfillment. Savor the word for a moment … It carries with it connotations of accomplishment, contentment, satisfaction, and pleasure. When you are fulfilled, you have tremendous energy and drive, and yet you can also rest peacefully. This is the place where work and life function together, supporting one another rather than pulling against one another.
For business owners and leaders, attaining work-life fulfillment might appear at first to be a difficult if not impossible goal. However, Gino Wickman, in his book The EOS Life: How to Live Your Ideal Entrepreneurial Life, provides us with five principles that, when taken together, lay out a simple and straightforward path to reach this destination. Here, I (Tim) will share his principles and my thoughts on them.
#1. “Doing what you love”
Fulfillment begins with doing what you love. This is the concept of calling or vocation. No one has ever defined vocation better than Frederick Buechner: “Vocation is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”
When we do not do what we love, we are just punching the clock for a paycheck. Eight or more hours a day are spent on activities that suck the life out of us. It is draining at every level: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
In contrast, when we do what we love, we jump out of bed in the morning ready to rock and roll. We are filled with energy, and the more we do, the more energy we have.
#2. “With people you love”
As people, we need to be in a community and we crave a community where we belong and are accepted and appreciated. We want to spend time with people we like – people we enjoy being around. We are at our best when we interact with people who share our values.
Think about those 40 or 50 or 60 hours a week you spend on the job. If you don’t like the people you work with and enjoy their company and share their values, that time will be pure, unadulterated misery!
#3. “Making a huge difference”
You can work exclusively for the money it brings, but that ultimately will not satisfy you. The better option is to work because you want to make a difference in the world and in people’s lives. For myself, my core focus is to help each leader with whom I interact to reach their God-given potential. That is both what fuels me and what drives me. Over the past 19 years, I have coached 5000+ leaders around the world with that end in mind.
You can make a difference – and when you do, what a difference it will make in your work and your life!
#4. “Being compensated appropriately”
While working just to get a paycheck is no way to live, we do need a paycheck in order to live. You should be appropriately compensated for the value you bring to the table.
The word “appropriate” is key here. You shouldn’t be greedy and charge astronomical rates or demand an exorbitant salary that has no correlation to the value you provide. But neither should you downplay your true value and undercharge your clients or accept a lower salary than is reasonable for your industry and position. Of the two errors, I see many more people feeling guilty about being compensated appropriately for their worth than I encounter people demonstrating greed.
You deliver value and you should be compensated appropriately for that value. You will feel fulfilled when that happens.
#5. “With time for other passions”
The final component of fulfillment is to have a multi-faceted life: to pursue a variety of passions so that you do not become a one-dimensional person.
What passions should you pursue? Each person will have a different answer to that question. Travel, service, art, music, family, hobbies, education … there are a million options. Take the time to engage in the ones that bring you joy and satisfaction, giving you a well-rounded life.
In your journey beyond work-life balance toward work-life fulfillment, keep Gino Wickman’s roadmap handy: Do what you love with people you love, make a huge difference and be compensated appropriately for it, and make time for other passions. Forward!