Work Life Bullshit

A few months ago I was sat in my office one evening beavering away like Barry the Bustling Beaver when my wife walked into the room.

She stood at the door without saying anything and I glanced up to see her giving me one of her ‘special looks’

“What’s up?” I asked rather suspiciously.

She looked at the clock above my head and then back at me. Then at the clock again and then back at me.  Then once more the clock and me. Then with a tilt of the head and raised eye brows she asked:

“I thought you were a Life Coach. How is this any different to when you were working all hours of the night and day when you were in sales?”

I glanced sheepishly at the clock and realized it was past 9.00pm and I was still ‘working’ I gulped inwardly for a moment, struggling to come up with a legitimate answer.

I stammered “It just is” in a pathetically unconvincing way.

With that she played her coup de gras by simply turning and leaving without saying another word. I was left to ponder my sins in silence.

As I sat there staring at my monitor it dawned on me there were two huge differences between what I was doing now and in my previous sales life.

  • I love what I do now
  • I am doing it because I want to and not because I have to

I think it’s fair to say they’re pretty significant differences

One of the main problems I have with my work is knowing when I’m having fun and when I’m working because the two are inexorably intertwined in what I do.

  • Life Coaching is fun and work
  • Writing is fun and work
  • Promoting my blog is fun and work
  • Dicking about on Twitter is fun and work

I don’t say this to say “Look How Brilliant I Am!” because that will come in my next post entitled “Look How Brilliant I Am!”, I say it to demonstrate that I am in no way exceptional  and it’s really possible for you to do this too.

I swear I’d never heard the phrase work/life balance until I went to work for Yellow Pages in the UK. It would have been easier to have dodged a bank of fog than miss it working there because it was all management ever seemed to talk about.

Firstly, take a look at the expression:

‘Work Life Balance’

Does anything strike you as strange about it?

Think of it this way. Do you ever consider if you have your “Play/life balance” in order or maybe even your “Pray/life balance” if you’re a religious type?

Of course not, you just get on with it. The fact is, play isn’t separate from life any more than work is, they are both integral for the vast majority of people.

If your employer is talking to you about work/life balance, 9 times out of 10 it’s because they know you don’t have you any.

If you’re talking to yourself about adjusting your work/life balance, similarly it’s because it’s already way out of kilter.

It’s like feeling thirsty. If you’re really thirsty it’s because you’re already dehydrated to a reasonably level and you should have drunk some while ago.

People who have great work/life balances don’t spend half their time worrying about their work/life balance, why would they? It would make about as much sense as my dogs worrying about developing insomnia.

I must stress at this point that I’m not one of the growing band of people that look down their noses at people who work for others and think they’re idiots.

I like a world where my doctor isn’t self-employed, my Police Force doesn’t consists of 100,000 people running around doling out justice as they personally see fit and I can buy a car without having to assemble it myself.

Some people like working for others and they’re deserving of as much respect as those that don’t.  I was once one of them for a long time and if I had worked for more scrupulous companies may still be so.

However, I definitely am one of the merry band of people that doesn’t understand why people will effectively throw away half their waking life when they’re aware they feel crap all the time they’re at work.

“If you really hate your job don’t tell people you do it to earn a living. Tell them the truth, that you do it to earn an existence and see how that feels”

I have been finishing up reading the awesomely, amazingly, brilliant  and inspiring book ‘The Element’ by Sir Ken Robinson this week.

I have to be honest and say it was that that inspired this post, a post that had been forlornly sat around half written for a few weeks now.

Every now and then I forget how resourceful people are when they want to be. I also forget that 95% of the population can do pretty much anything they want to (physical restrictions notwithstanding) if only they BELIEVE they can.

That’s really the core of this post and probably the core of self development.

Having the belief that there really is no need to do something you don’t want to do. In fact i’d even go so far as to say it’s not a belief, it’s a fact because it has been proven millions of times.

I took a huge drop in wages to become a life coach, but so what? Seriously I don’t give a damn as I said in this post. Thinking you NEED the money is just a belief it’s hardly ever a fact.

Of course in the short-term it may be necessary to retain your income and I’m not saying you should default on your mortgage whilst you pursue your passion for training squirrels to perform ballet.

However, I am suggesting you start to work out a plan that helps you extract the most enjoyment you can out of your time on this planet and do so as soon as you feasibly can.

Look for reasons how you can make it happen not excuses why you can’t because my guess is if your life was a project at work that you simply had to re-engineer to keep your job, you could do it.

This is waaaaay more important than that.