JobPro’s management team slunk into the room for Thursday’s meeting. Two weeks of 60+ hour work weeks had stolen their engagement. Most crash-landed in their chairs, some with a sigh. Dave just stood, staring across the room, instead of starting the meeting. No wonder productivity had dipped.
“You gonna start this so we can get out of here or what?” Marlene snarled
“I’m gettin’ there. Needed a bit to collect my thoughts,” Dave replied.
“Looked more like staring into space,” Marlene replied.
“Give him a break. It’s not like anyone’s thinking clearly with all the overtime and staff cuts,” defended Phyllis.
“Yeah, and why’d they have to get rid of Jackie?” Barry chimed in.
All their conflict washed over Dave. He felt stress clawing at his insides. His frustration blended with theirs. Everyone had been picking up the slack of his or her lost teammates. What could he say? Their life outside of work was gone. His own work-home boundary lines had been blurred. Venting his frustration would only add to the rising tide of disunity…
“Life Harmony” a new paradigm
The longing for life harmony makes dissonance increasingly unpleasant. Dissonance brought on by inconsistency between what you believe and how you behave sometimes.
Harmony, on the other hand, is a pleasing arrangement of parts. In your story, harmony is the interweaving of different accounts into a single narrative. Life harmony represents the new work-life balance.
First, there is the harmony of being human – the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual “parts” which create your story. Physical chaos occurs when the need for rest, nutrition, and activity are ignored. Mental chaos can be brought on by what Douglas Rushkoff calls, digiphrenia – “a digitally disordered condition of mental activity.” Distracted by the constant connection of technology, mindless entertainment, advertising, and social media adding to the turmoil. Emotional chaos happens when fears are unaddressed, gratitude is unexpressed, and forgiveness is withheld. Spiritual chaos comes if we choose a worldview of self-sovereignty and providence.
Life harmony is the new work-life balance. The image supports giving voice to all your roles in life as a man or woman, a son or daughter, a sibling, perhaps a spouse or parent, an employee or employer and so forth.
Life harmony is less about share of voice and more about voice recognition. Imagine a vocal ensemble with beautiful harmony.
Harmony is achieved when each voice sings its part.
Said another way, life harmony blends the role of individual, family, community, and work into a single narrative. Think about it. Your Story began when you showed up as a person, the newest member of a family; you found your place in a community where you learned how to make your contribution through meaningful work.
Everyday is an opportunity to cultivate life harmony. Today, you will add to your story. Are you writing the story you will want to tell?
Control the pace to create space
The pace of life provides little margin. What happens when the pace of life out of control? It becomes easy to live “out of control.” To create life harmony in the midst of chaos demands discipline.
Creating space is the disciplined use of time, place and resources to reflect on what’s really going on. Chaos happens; harmony is intentional. When your actions are aligned with your beliefs and values the new work-life balance is near.
Dave took a deep breath. “Grab a piece of paper and finish this sentence: I’m grateful for…. List your top five or so. Got it?
Surprisingly, Barry was first to start writing. Marlene just stared at the blank page before starting.
“What was that like for you?” Dave asked.
“I feel more positive … more grateful,” Phyllis said.
“Yeah, it helped me to realize how much I’ve got to be thankful for,” Barry chimed in.
Dave took another deep breath and pressed ahead, “Now, you won’t be asked to share this, but who is the team member you have the most conflict with?”
He waited and watched the look on their faces. “Okay, finish this sentence: One of the things I appreciate about (person’s name) is….”
As they looked up from writing, Dave asked, “What do you notice about yourself, what changed?”
“I started to see them as a person,” Marlene confessed.
“It caused me to look for the positive instead of the negative,” Barry said.
“Sometimes, we get so caught up in our work, our agenda, and the pace around here that all we do is deal with problems. Then, we allow the “problem” to build a wall between us and we lose sight of the people.” Dave continued, “Gratitude and appreciation grease our relationship gears, helping to reduce the friction and reduce the unnecessary stress.”
The energy of JobPro’s management meeting changed. It became a time and place for the team to step out of the chaos and re-connect as people. With time set aside to think, new ideas were discussed and the energy of the team increased. It wasn’t a quick fix, but a beginning.
So, with pen and paper in hand, what are you grateful for?
Who are you in conflict with? Now, what do you appreciate about him or her?
What do you think about the NEW work-life balance idea of “life harmony?” When do you create space to think and listen to your Story?
Here’s to your freedom,
PS: If you want to be a self-managed leader or want to develop your team, Next Generation Leaders coaching is available for individuals or business teams. Get more details at the team-based coaching page.
Want to listen to a great example of harmony? Watch this 2-minute video of the vocal group Committed.