“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.” Alain de Botton

I tend to compartmentalise experiences I have across the different spheres of life whether that is home/family, work, charity, social.  What I mean by this is that for each realm there is different language; themes of conversation; assumed knowledge and lingo short-cuts.  Obviously if I were to share an experience from one area to another, it may be that I would need to provide explanation about the context.  Some people seem keen to break down these compartments and, instead, share their life as one continuum.  In a way I wish I were more comfortable doing this.  Certainly, our lives can be enriched by shared experiences, irrespective of where those events took place; whether at home, in the office or at a charity.  In previous posts I have referenced the power of cognitive diversity in the workplace and surely the richness of that diversity must come from the whole person, involving knowledge and experience gleaned from all aspects of one’s life.

It was in the ‘home’ compartment where I had a recent experience of discussing something that I would ordinarily associate with work.  It struck me that whilst the subject was usually associated with the workplace, actually its application is universal and it was that thought process that got me thinking about how many skills, techniques, approaches could transverse from work to home and vice versa.  The subject I am referring to here is Daniel Pink’s ‘Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us.’  I read the book some time ago and realised I am due a re-read to refresh my memory.  Within the book Pink exposes the fallacy that we are – in the workplace – always motivated by financial reward.  Instead, Pink argues that there are three key drivers to motivation:  Autonomy – or the need to direct one’s own life and work; Mastery – the desire to improve for the sake of improvement itself; Purpose – a sense of doing something for a greater good.  For anyone not familiar with Drive but do not fancy leafing through a non-fictional book, there is a brilliant, animated explanation of a TED talk that explains all.[i]   The power of this approach has application to anything we do, wherever we do it yet it would not have previously occurred to me to utilise it outside of the work setting. 

I imagine I am focusing more on the parameters of life activities now as today marks my anniversary as a self-employed consultant.  On May 4th 2020 I published my first blog , entitled ‘Blog 1 – a retrospective’[ii] which opened ‘this is my first blog.  I hope it is the first of many to come…’  A year on and 50 blogs later I think I tick that box and I certainly have no intention of stopping, well as long as I can find things to waffle on about! 

The past year has been a truly bizarre one and we have witnessed the blurring of home and work life with Zoom and Teams giving our work colleagues a glimpse into our personal being.  As we increasingly embrace that perspective and move to more flexible working, I wonder if we should also look at the transferability of the lessons from work and home.  When I next try and motivate my daughter to move dirty dishes from the table to the sink, maybe I’ll draw from Daniel Pink and employ autonomy, mastery and purpose!

[i] https://ed.ted.com/best_of_web/LT8oQQTo

[ii] https://www.institutionaladviser.co.uk/blog-1-a-retrospective/

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