Work-life enhancement

Statue of justice holding a balanceWe often see stories about “work-life balance.” The unspoken implication is that work and life are some kind of zero-sum game: in order for one to go up the other must go down.

But what if it was possible to use our life passions to enhance our work, and our work to achieve our life passions?

Sigmund Freud taught that life isn’t separate from work, life is love and work. To be and feel whole we need to allocate time for ‘work’ and time for ‘love’. And if we integrate the two we achieve synergy.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Stew Friedman describes how many truly successful people have achieved greatness at work, not by giving up on their families, communities, and private selves but by fully embracing these aspects of themselves.

He gives two examples, a consultant and a soccer champion, both of whom enhanced their work performance and their personal lives by embracing their personal passions.

To achieve this they had to do two things. First, they had to get clear about who they are and what they most love. Second, they had to make the choice to allocate time for their whole selves, not just part. And by acting with this integrity they enhanced both their personal lives and their work performance.

Inner Leadership provides a series of tools that can help you think through what you most love:

  • identifying people you admire and who have influenced you along the way
  • knowing your purpose and values
  • getting clear on what it will take for you to have lived a worthwhile life
  • connecting more deeply with who you are and what you most care about

Inner Leadership then helps you to put your priorities into practice, by providing tools to think clearly about your situation, identify more opportunities for action, and then choose and implement the one that is best for you now.

Work-life balance is a false choice, a false dichotomy. Once we know ourselves and can lead ourselves, work-life enhancement becomes a possibility.

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Photo By Michael Coghlan via

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