One of the common issues I see leaders face is that they identify too strongly with one aspect of their lives and ignore the other parts. It can be easy to fall into this trap because it typically starts out innocently enough as you pursue something that you enjoy or that is important to you. In the pursuit of more, we let other parts of our lives go neglected. We then begin to put all of our identity and worth into only a single aspect of our lives and we begin to lose that sense of fulfillment.
Think of your life holistically
Think of your life as a bookshelf. On that shelf are different books that represent who you are. It may include things like parent, job, spouse, friend, runner (or other hobbies), 2nd hobby, student, church, professional group, etc. People begin to feel the pressure as the single book (let’s say work) begins to push more and more against the other books of your life. You put all your worth and identity into work and you begin feeling depressed because you know it is impacting your home life, but at the same time, you feel like your job is who you are.
Your life is more than just the one “book” and each book needs its own time and attention in order for you to have a healthy balance and a true sense of identity.
Where do I find more space?
Your shelf is time and we all have the same amount. Some people think of their shelves in terms of a day week or month. There are two ways to gain space for your “books”.
- Great time management: If you have really strong time management skills, you can usually find some space on your shelf. The good news for those struggling and don’t practice time management is that you likely have a large amount of space that can be freed up if you begin to utilize this skill.
- Reduce the page counts in other books: So you have no other space. You’ll need to reduce the page counts in one or more other books. This is exactly what I did with my running this year. I went from doing 26 races a year down to just a handful. The space it provided gave me a chance to work on a project that had been on my to-do list for two years, spend more time with family and do more film work. I’m still a runner, it just doesn’t dominate my life as it did before.
Do your best to only have one “book” out at a time, meaning don’t bring your work issues home and let them dominate your home life. Don’t let your running consume you so much that it keeps you from doing other things that you want to do. Get one book out at a time, enjoy and do your best, then put it up and get another book out.
People ask how I remain sane with a job, running, family, podcasting, writing, film work, friends, family, and church and this is my secret to the balance. I enjoy one, put it up, and enjoy the other. I do talk about work some at home and I do film work with friends. I just don’t let one aspect dominate the other.
You may know someone that only talks about their hobby or job or the same thing every time you see them. This is a person that holds their full worth and identity in only one part of their lives. They typically aren’t that fun to hang out with for long periods. Use that awareness to avoid the trap in your own life.
Give all of your books the love and attention they deserve and don’t let one encroach too much on the others. You’ll have a happier life and feel more content with your true identity.
Make a better tomorrow.