Work wise it has been a busy few weeks. The usual pre-vacation rush to tidy up loose ends and pack in as many appointments as possible. As much as I love what I do for a living there is nothing more satisfying than switching on the “out of office” message for any incoming emails and closing the door on the office. Or in my case, shutting the cupboard in the office where I store all my work paraphernalia to transform my Executive space to a firmly Domestic one.
It’s akin to putting yourself into a decompression chamber and breathing new air back into your lungs.
I’ve never been one for keeping in touch with the office whilst on holiday. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a break and that defeats the object of taking a vacation. I am also pretty diligent these days about ring fencing my domestic days from work unless there is a very special reason. I’m happy to take the odd call or it must be pretty special to get my attention to engage in a work-like activity. It’s taken years to become so disciplined about work boundaries and something I wish I’d mastered years ago.
Peeking into the working lives of lots of other professionals has been the biggest incentive to getting my house of work-life in order. So many of my coaching clients tell me that they want to get a better work life balance but stumped at first when I ask them what ”balance” means to them. With the right amount of coaxing we move from talking about balance to boundaries and priorities to crafting a view about how they want to live their lives, personally and professionally.
High achievers so often have a competitive and/or a controlling streak in them that automatically drives up the pressure to have it all, do it all and be all things to all people, all the time. Take it from one who has learned from bitter experience, no good ever comes from such a mindset. There are no winners only losers, you, your family, friends and colleagues. The real kicker is that whilst you’re running in the rat race of life you often never realise this until you’re collapsed in a heap requiring personal and professional resuscitation.
In my quieter moments I get fired up about changing the working world. It seems to me that it is only the human race has such self destruct tendencies paying so little attention given to what it takes to survive and thrive in our contemporary ecosystem. So often we are intent on running on an empty fuel tank and at a pace we’re not designed to sustain. Living our lives has become like an extreme sport competition but without the right discipline, training and rules to keep the sport safe and fun.
Although this is something I can get quite inspired about, now’s not the time. I have a trip to take. A vacation to enjoy. A set of internal batteries to recharge. A finishing line to cross that marks the end to professional duties and the start of something that fires me up even more. Spending time with family and friends and being back in my homeland for a couple of weeks.