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Finding Balance At Work

By Bigg Success Staff
December 14, 2007

Work-Life Balance

woman balances on chairsSirota Survey Intelligence, specialists in attitude research, just released the results of a survey on work – life balance. They report that 73% of employees view their work – life balance positively. 

“Work-life balance is almost an afterthought to people who feel their employers are meeting their end of the deal by being fair, providing interesting and meaningful work, and recognition or rewards for a job well-done,” said Douglas Klein, President of Sirota Survey Intelligence. “Work-life balance becomes a real issue when employees feel that their employers aren’t holding up to their part of the partnership.”

We find Mr. Klein’s last sentence the most striking. Employees must believe their employers are responsive to their wants and needs. But what Mr. Klein doesn’t state here, and what needs to be stated, is that employers must feel the same thing – that their employees are meeting their wants and needs.

It’s about people.
Relationships. Two people learning to trust each other. It’s personal – one-to-one. It’s the only way to succeed personally and professionally. But many managers forget that there’s a person on the end of the problem du jour. Many employees don’t think enough about their manager’s goals.

It’s about people communicating.
So it begins with a desire to form a relationship, on both sides. That kernel grows to trust. Now you’re ready to communicate. To put the wants and needs of both of you on the table. To understand each other. To get what both of you want. To meet all of your needs and wants.

It takes a two-way commitment.
Both the employer and the employee have to commit to this process. It’s easy to get too busy to pay attention to the relationship. But you’ll find that a small investment of your time will yield big dividends in the future. It’s all about being effective.

For example, for employers, the Sirota research shows that 81% of the employees who say they have the “right amount of work” are satisfied at work. Only 69% of employees who report having “too much work” are satisfied with their jobs. A strikingly low 44% of employees who state that they have “too little to do” are happy about it. 

So if you can strike the “Goldilocks’ balance”, you’ll have a far more productive staff.

Now, for employees, understand that if you’re a producer, if you’ve got a great attitude, if you’re a team player, you make it almost impossible to not support you, both professionally and personally. As Klein said, “The key, then, is to balance company and personal demands within a partnership culture and a spirit of win – win.”

Focus first on delivering what your boss needs so it’s easier for your boss to give you what you need.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

More Work – Life Balance

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(Photo by Brent and MariLynn)

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Stretch Yourself Anew

Yesterday, we discussed how to live without being perfect. We told you to practice the
33 “75% solution”] so you have more time to enjoy life. Today we’ll discuss how to stretch yourself anew.

Let’s face it – we’re all busy. As we age, our careers get more demanding. We have more family responsibilities. Real life gets in the way of stretching ourselves in new ways. We want to give you four questions to ask yourself to rediscover joy in your life.

Question 1: What’s something you used to love to do?
There are things you used to do that got pushed aside – not intentionally, but accidentally. Something had to give. We have a friend who loved music when he was younger. Recently, he bought a guitar and started playing again. He loved it! Now he’s in a band and has an amazing collection of valuable guitars!

Question 2: What class, outside your major, did you really enjoy?
Or another way to think about it – was there a class you always wanted to take? Another friend’s job involves a lot of analysis. In college, he took a creative writing class as an elective. Now he’s taking another writing class at his local community college. He loves it! He says it’s a complete escape.

Question 3: What do you have sitting around the house?
You may have to dig deep, but there are probably remnants of old hobbies somewhere in your house. Why not break out the tools of your craft? Mary-Lynn says she has rediscovered paint-by-number. She’s learned to keep her brushes clean and in plain sight. That’s her reminder to enjoy this favorite activity from the past.

Question 4: What did you used to read?
Take a trip to your local library or bookstore. Browse the magazine section. What strikes you? George used to subscribe to a couple of fishing magazines. Now, he’s rediscovered fishing with a new twist – it’s a great time to relax and reflect, even if he doesn’t catch anything!

Stretching yourself by recalling those things that used to bring you joy rounds you out. You’ll find it helps your career and your family life. You’re more interesting. You’ll have new energy. You may even find a clue that will take your career and your life in an exciting new direction.

Our quote today is by the great writer and poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes.

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea,
never regains its original dimensions.”

Take an old idea and make it new again. Stretch yourself and expand your mind. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss building self-confidence. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Practice Not Being Perfect

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Before we start on today’s topic, we want to remind you to 11 visualize your dream life, ]by answering the question, “If neither time nor money were an issue, how would you spend your time and money?” We’ll be coming back to this topic in a few weeks, so keep dreaming bigg! 

The holiday season is in full swing. Black Friday has come and gone. Millions are celebrating Cyber Monday today by shopping online. We received an e-mail from one of our listeners recently that we thought we would share with you.

Julie says that, in the last few years, she’s gotten so stressed out trying to find the perfect present for everyone on her list. She gets frustrated and oh-so-tired. She wants some suggestions on finding the joy in the holidays again.

You may be able to feel Julie’s pain. Life seems particularly busy this time of year. However, Julie’s problem goes beyond Christmas and presents. There are lessons to be learned for the whole year. Here what we suggested to Julie:

  • Be a hero, not a super hero.
  • Lower your expectations. You only have 24 hours in the day. You can only do so much. Stop trying to be super-human. Live your life on human terms. We give you permission to be human. We even give you permission to buy gift certificates!  

  • Ask why it’s so important.
  • What’s the underlying need you’re seeking to fulfill? Is it the approval of others? You’re worried that your friends and your kids won't think you’re the best. Get past the superficial. Focus on your goal – showing your loved ones that you care about them. Stop worrying about impressing them.  

  • Be happy with 75%.
  • We heard a story recently about a college professor who taught a CPA review course. On the first day of the new semester, the professor explained to his new crop of students that they needed to get a score of 75 or above on each of the four sections of the CPA test. Then he introduced them to his model student. His scores on the CPA exam were:
    Section 1: 75
    Section 2: 75
    Section 3: 75
    Section 4: 75

    He passed every section with the minimum score! But he passed. The professor explained to his class that this student had spent exactly the right amount of time preparing for the exam.

    Any less would have led to failure.
    Any more would have been wasted.

    He has the same CPA designation as the person who got 100 in all four sections. But he had more time to spend on other important things in his life.

    So spend 25% less time trying to get it perfect. Use that time to enjoy your life. By being less demanding of yourself, you’ll find your life is much more rewarding.  

Our quote today is by Arthur N. Known.

“No one is perfect … that’s why pencils have erasers.”

Striving for excellence puts lead in your pencil. Striving for perfection takes it out.
Tomorrow, we’ll challenge you to stretch yourself. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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The Home Stretch

By Bigg Success Staff
December, 06 2007 

Work-Life Balance

We recently discussed how pushing yourself to your limits leads to your 7 peace of mind]. “Brazen Careerist” blogger, Penelope Trunk, wrote a related post recently called “Don’t get too comfortable at home after work.”

She cites the book, Satisfaction: The Science of Finding True Fulfillment written by Gregory Berns. Berns is a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Emory University and Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. Now that’s a title!

In his book, Berns discusses the mood-lifting chemical reaction that occurs in your brain when you stretch yourself. Trunk asserts that you won’t be happy if you only push yourself at work. You also need personal growth at home. Otherwise, you’ll feel a void. Her post is ripe with ideas. We think you’ll enjoy reading it. Here are some thoughts on how to begin.

Shake up your after-work routine
Start with little changes. Make it a habit. You’ll soon feel excited about your new routine. Then you’re ready for bigger and better things.

  • Instead of sitting, stand. When you would usually stand, walk.
  • If tonight is pizza night, order a Hawaiian pizza instead of pepperoni.
  • Instead of staying at home, go out. Instead of going out, stay in.
  • Watch an educational show instead of that show you normally would view.
  • Eat dinner at the table, instead of in front of the television.
  • Instead of surfing the internet, browse materials at your local library. You remember the library, don’t you?

Without balance, you can’t be whole. It’s analogous to taking elective courses. They round you out. You become a more interesting person because you expand your point-of-view.

Without growth, in all areas of your life, you won’t feel fulfilled. Begin with baby steps. Make stretching yourself, at work and at home, a habit. Start today!

Related link:
10 The Work Life Teeter -Totter ](article)
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Work Life Teeter-Totter

By Bigg Success Staff
November, 25 2007

teeter-totter

Work-Life Balance 

There’s a fantastic article by Stephanie N. Mehta with Fortune magazine. It’s entitled Confessions of a CEO, but it’s less CEO, more confession about one man’s dilemma to balance work and life.

The subject is Dominic Orr, who’s generally regarded as a very successful CEO. We admire Mr. Orr for sharing some of the difficulties he faced as he tried to become a complete man.

We also applaud Ms. Mehta for this piece. We’ll hit some highlights here, but you should check out the full article to gain insight from a person who has, and still is, struggling to strike the proper balance.

We refer to a teeter-totter, in the title to our article, because it seems we often are up on one side of the equation while being down on the other. This is evidenced by a common problem faced by many of us today.

When you’re home, do you ever find yourself catching up on all the work you didn’t get done that day? At work, do you find challenges from home spilling into your day? So what lessons can we learn from Mr. Orr?

Organize your day. One solution Mr. Orr discovered was to work different hours. He didn’t work less; instead, he organized his day so he could spend time with his kids when they were available.

Define success properly. Mr. Orr felt constant pressure to not screw anything up. That’s a tough standard to uphold. You should allow yourself to be human. Humans aren’t perfect. For a realistic standard, see 7 four things you must do to insure success.]

Do the right things right. First, determine what the right things to do are. In other words, 8 visualize the future you want.] Then, you can do the right things right. If it involves things, focus on efficiency. Find the shortest path to get your project completed. If it involves people, focus on effectiveness. Connect with the person you’re trying to reach. Mr. Orr’s vision was to die a complete man. This meant changing his ways.

Use balance to your advantage. Mr. Orr’s management style has changed as part of his journey. He’s more rounded now. That comes into play at work and home. Find ways to use lessons learned in one world to benefit the other. Now you’re using your balance to your advantage. Let your balance drive your success, rather than detract from it.

Get the cat out of the cradle. Note how Mr. Orr used the only model of parenthood he knew. What kind of a model are you setting for your kids? You’re creating your granchildrens’ childhoods now. Are you happy with how they’ll grow up?

Work your teeter-totter. Mr. Orr took time away from work after selling his business. He focused on his children. He tried going back to work and still found it difficult to balance his career and family. Make the teeter-totter your friend. Accept the fact that at times your work will be up, family down. Then make it reverse. Work the teeter-totter, don’t let it work you.

A balanced life is one of the most difficult challenges we face today. Following these tips will help you work toward a more balanced life. It’s a process. Take baby steps, but be sure you take at least one today.

(Image of teeter-totter by mayr, CC 2.0)