Somewhere in history, we began to give our workplaces the permission to be more important than our lives. Where did we learn that? From our parents? From school? From our leaders? From our own fear?
Even the term work-life balance suggests that work is equal to our life and deserves to take from it in the disguise of balance.
I was a corporate professional for over 25 years. Through those years, I witnessed work take priority over family dinners and family vacations. It interrupted relationships, parenting, memorable events, and even sleep. I am not judging. I’ve been guilty of giving work that power over my life, too. I recall a time when I asked to regularly work from home because it would help me better navigate circumstances in my family. I wasn’t entirely surprised when my request was met with resistance, skepticism and ultimately a “no.”
And then came COVID-19.
In less than 30 days, and for professionals across the globe who are blessed to continue to work remotely, work has taken over real estate in our homes, thrusting our lives right into the center of our work. For the first time we have no other choice but to allow our personal lives bleed into our workplace.
Just like “video killed the radio star” (cue in the music), video has also single-handedly killed the “workplace star.” Online meetings have spotlighted children dancing in costumes, the realities of home-schooling, pets crawling up necks, and glimpses of bedrooms. Yes, video has forced us to let down the façade that we have created for ourselves at work. Life is taking center stage. And people are painfully uncomfortable with it.
I find it entirely refreshing. This is a moment when leaders and employees, alike, are equally fumbling through the same discomfort. That discomfort means we are growing through our vulnerability, lifting the veil on perfectionism, and allowing our colleagues to see us through a human lens. Better yet, it means we are finally bridging the gap between the compartmentalized versions of work-life and personal-life that we have created for ourselves. Maybe, once and for all, we will embrace our full self without apology.
There are many active conversations about how the world of work will forever change post COVID-19. I hope that through this transformation we will remember that life is our priority and that work is simply one of the great expressions of how we wish to live it. Let’s give ourselves permission to keep work in its rightful place.
If you’re ready to stop sacrificing your life for workplace success and want to know how to reclaim something even greater, schedule a FREE 30 minute coaching session with me and I’ll help you reconnect with well-being.
Beautiful You. Beautiful Life. Beautiful World. Let’s Make it Happen.