What is the source of your struggle?
I did a struggle survey with several people over the past few days. What does that mean? I asked them what the stressors were in their life. “Work-life balance” came up as one of the top three things mentioned. Out of curiosity I Googled the term and in .62 seconds, 114,000,000 results popped up and that didn’t include the related searches.
The result that came up from my Google search was this Fast Company article titled Arianna Huffington On The Struggle To Find Work-Life Balance. The piece was written by Rachel Gillett almost two years ago. Generally, I like to offer more recent commentary on subjects, however this one roped me in as I read the third paragraph. Gillett explains that Huffington, who founded The Huffington Post, a 24/7 media company woke up in a pool of her own blood with a broken cheekbone and a nasty gash above her eye. What happened? She collapsed in her home hitting her head on the way to the floor. Why? After undergoing multiple tests to determine the reason for her fall, the conclusion was sheer exhaustion. This is what two years of 18-hour work days will do for you. In Huffington’s own words she explains, “By professional definitions of success, I was successful. By any sane definition of success, if you are lying in a pool of your own blood on the floor of your office, you are not successful.”
Four Essential Tips to Thrive
During a talk at Columbia Business School Ms. Huffington offered these four ways to realize what she calls the third metric for success: thriving.
- Take care of your well-being and health.
- Look to the wisdom of the ancient world.
- Pause to embrace the wonder of life.
- Be generous.
I appreciate and agree with the advice that Huffington offers, and this is why. I have noted that our society and education system leans toward honoring and rewarding a career-oriented, go-getting, conquer the world mentality. The admiration gained from the competition to succeed becomes all-consuming and people are willing to fight fiercely for what appears to be scarce veneration. So much so they are willing to sacrifice family, friends, and their own health while lying in a pool of their own blood to achieve some shallow and ungratifying measure of achievement. In addition to the four points listed above, I would include the following advice to assist you in attaining the thriving metric.
- Be authentic. Be yourself. No posing, no pretending, no faking. Simply be you.
- Spend time in quiet reflection each day. Self-confrontation gives you the freedom to see the world clearly.
- Live graciously. Recognize that “more isn’t always better”. Graciousness is not achieved when you are over scheduled, over committed, overloaded and overwhelmed.
- Examine your life’s purpose. Purpose is not about what you do for a living, how much money you have, or who you know. I am suggesting that the purpose of your life is to go on a journey of becoming real. A journey of living authentically and uncovering who you really are.
I have often said, life is only as difficult as we decide to make it. Struggle and strife are choices. So are ease and harmony. I invite you to choose the latter. Life doesn’t have to be a blood sport, and instead can be filled with joy, warmth and true happiness as you discover and develop your purpose.