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The Real Truth About Work/Life Balance: Part I

Pssst… it has nothing to do with ‘taking time to get a massage or a vacation’ or whatever else the magazine at the supermarket checkout tells you to do! work/life

In this multi-part blog post you will gain the tools necessary to discover your unique way of running your energy, so you can refuel your love tank, without having to give up your rock-star business or personal goals. work/life

Four things you will come away from these blog posts are:

1. What the research says about work/life balance

2. How to get clear about your own beliefs about the words “work” and “self care”

3. How to find your own method to signal you’re out of balance

4. Possible solutions to your imbalance based on your unique style of being in the world.

But first, a little bit about me:

I became interested in work/life balance based on my habit of going into overdrive and then collapsing. Sound familiar?

This worked for me when I was younger; I plowed through my undergrad, overcame some intense experiences, and worked two internships while waiting tables. After graduation (in the crazy-80’s), my health and vitality was rescued by an introduction into the practice of Yoga.

That period of time was extraordinary; I lived in a Yoga community, slept a ton, read spiritual books, took Yoga classes twice a day and I recovered well. Later, in the 1990’s I went to a four-year healing college in New York to study the science of hands-on-healing. After graduation, I paid off a sizable student loan debt in one year by working nonstop as an energy therapist, a massage therapist, and Yoga instructor. I designed programs for colleges and athletes and gave everything to my clients and students and became debt-free. It seemed like a win!

But there was a price to pay. work/life

I tried to carry a pregnancy, and my body just said “no way.” For a long time. Several heart-wrenching trials and tribulations later, I gave birth to a vivacious baby girl and spent time focusing on motherhood. When my daughter was in 4th grade, I entered graduate school and went into my habitual way of overextending myself. Once again, I plowed through my studies in a short amount of time and worked intense internships. Needless to say, upon graduation, I again collapsed. This time I had a medical doctor’s diagnosis of chronic fatigue and if “adrenal exhaustion” was medically recognized, my doctor said he’d have given me that as well.

Does this style of being in the world (push and collapse) sound familiar to you?

Can you identify your own way of running your energy? Maybe you procrastinate and then push at the last minute, or daydream and get mad at yourself that you “lack motivation.” Maybe it’s something else. If you can’t think of how you run your energy, take time and walk with the question, “how do I habitually go through life?” Put it in the back of your mind and notice how you’re getting things done and most importantly what are the messages you’re giving to your body?

Not only can constantly going into overdrive wreak havoc on your health and relationships, it can actually backfire and be counterproductive when trying to reach your career goals.

Here’s why:

According to executive coach and author Olivia Fox Cabane, personal magnetism, aka charisma, is critical in business. No matter what you’re attempting to accomplish, from landing a new a job to earning a promotion, it will assist you in reaching your goal. “Multiple concurring studies indicate that charismatic people receive higher performance ratings and are viewed as more effective by their superiors and subordinates… Not only that, personal magnetism makes you, your team and your company more desirable to work with” (Cabane, 2012).

When it comes to being magnetic, where you shine in your life and how people are drawn to you, self-care is critical. If you’re overwhelmed and depleted, you’ll be less able to attract the people and opportunities needed to achieve your goals and enjoy your life. Cabane says the qualities of Power, Presence and Warmth, have been identified as the three essential components of personal magnetism. Therefore, when you’re running on empty, you’re lacking the ability to maintain power and presence. For example, you may look pale and your posture may be sagging. In this state of being, exuding warmth is extra challenging. I don’t know about you, but I get super-crabby and I look like a college student during finals week who’s living on caffeine and corn chips.

My favorite “study” on the power of being magnetic comes from a story about Marilyn Monroe. “Marilyn wanted to show that just by deciding to, she could be either glamorous Marilyn Monroe, or just plain Norma Jean Baker. On the subway, she was Norma Jean. But when she resurfaced onto the busy New York sidewalks, she decided to turn into Marilyn…. There were no grand gestures – she just fluffed up her hair and struck a pose” (Cabane, 2012, p. 1). On the subway, she just blended in with the crowd and nobody noticed her, when she resurfaced onto the street, she used her intention to become magnetic Marilyn Monroe. “An aura of magic seemed to ripple out from her, and everything stopped. Time stood still as did the people around her, who blinked in amazement at the star standing in their midst” (Cabane, 2012, p. 2). Not only did Marilyn know about the power of personal magnetism, but that it could be turned on and off, like a light switch, at will. However, just like a light bulb, it starts to dim when it’s close to burning out.

If overwhelm and depletion are two of the biggest drains on personal magnetism, then why is work/life imbalance happening with so many of today’s modern conveniences?

There’s a financial need to work AND leaving work at the office is often not an option. A recent gallup poll shows people are struggling to keep up with their job demands due to the fear of falling behind and are putting in an extra days worth of work into their work-week and sacrificing vacation days (Breines, 2015). Not only are uncertain economic times a factor, but conveniences such as smart phones literally put people’s work life in their pocket allowing many employers to expect their employees to answer emails off-hours (Breines, 2015).

Social psychologist Ron Friedman, who specializes in human motivation adds, neurologically, particular aspects of work can be addictive. Studies have found that satisfying curiosity about an event – say an unread email sitting in your inbox – releases dopamine, which not only gives us an immediate high, but conditions us to check back again and again (Friedman, 2015).

It’s not all bad… stay tuned for Part II of this blog post where you’ll:

1. learn about the good news

2. discover how to work with your beliefs,

3. decode your own signals of imbalance and

4. get some solutions!

Written by Julie Schmit, MA, LAMFT

©2018 Julie Schmit, Shakti Bodyworks, LLC, DBA Jumpstart Counseling Studio

References:

Breines, J. (2015, October 25). 10 Ways to Increase Work-Life Balance. Psychology Today. Retreived from www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-love-and-war/201510/10-ways-increase-work-life-balance

Cabane, O. F. (2012). The Charisma Myth. New York, NY. Penguin Group.

Freidman, R. (2015, March 27). Work-Life Balance is Dead. Psychology Today. Retreived from www.psychologytoday.com/blog/glue/201503/work-life-balance-is-dead

Photo credit: pexels.com

By | 2018-04-05T17:50:43+00:00 April 22nd, 2018|Blog|0 Comments