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More on Balance

The various books I’ve read recently for work all include the idea that people who have a life work better. Not surprisingly, those parts of the books are glossed over in our conversations about them. It seems to be the business equivalent of sticking flowers into gun barrels and all living together peacefully—a nice idea, but get real, already.

It’s not that the authors of the books don’t mean it. They are often as surprised by the results of their research as anyone. They’re shocked to find balanced lives producing great businesses. It’s that the readers don’t believe. We read along and go, “Yeah, yeah, and what were those efficiency tips again? How is this going to meet my goals?”

Many of us have read about or know someone who has made a major life change. The high-powered person who had a heart attack and now spends more time with her grandchildren, the chronically sleepless person who gave up the rat race and now teaches in Africa, sleeping like a log under a mosquito net. What’s missing from all those stories is HOW. They’re cluttered up with before and after, with early horror and late bliss.

What I want to see is the messy middle, the part where someone had to do the math about what the job change was going to cost, where the friends and family had to adjust to a new way of being with their loved one. I want to see how tossing the unneeded parts worked. These books are full of case studies of just about everything else, why not this?

And yes, I do have an agenda. I’ve realized that it’s not enough for me to carve out my own balance, but that I need to help the rest of my colleagues toward it as well. This is my job, both as a human being and as an office goddess.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
happy_potterer
Mar. 11th, 2010 12:08 pm (UTC)
It only addresses some of your questions, but one that it addresses like crazy is "doing the math": Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. I won't link to a bookstore because the people who've done the program would say to get it from a library. :-) However, more is here.
happy_potterer
Mar. 11th, 2010 12:09 pm (UTC)
First Things First, by Stephen Covey and two other people whose names I'm too sleepy to look up, also includes some of the messy in-between.
jan_can_too
Mar. 11th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC)
Will find Your Money or Your Life. Have read First Things First, but found it too Covey-ish. I want the information out of his books without having to read them and deal with his prose. I have managed to suppress the memory of whatever it is that really annoys me about it, but I know it's there.
happy_potterer
Mar. 11th, 2010 04:46 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, all that business self-help stuff can drive you up a wall, though I find him much more readable than most of the genre. Your Money or Your Life is different. I notice that although it started out focused on Financial Independence, the website reworks FI to mean Financial Integrity, which is more to the point. I read it not as "how to make a lot of money" (or even save/stop wasting a lot of money, which is much more its point) "so you can quit your job," since I was just headed into a career I loved, but "how to know what is enough and spend/save/earn/invest in keeping with your values." The core step of the program is comparing what you spend on X Y and Z with what you would spend on it if you were living your values.

Now I just have to do the program . . . ;-)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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