Many people excel in one or two area of their lives, but neglect the others. Here’s how to tell if you’re taking a balanced or lopsided approach.
I get called into to many coaching engagements because one of the leaders of a company is struggling. Often it’s because they have taken on a new role or have moved up in the organization, and the new dynamics and context are challenging their skills in some way. As a coach, I work with them to develop better approaches and to help them create a new mindset that will better serve them in their new environment.
However, sometimes I’m brought in, not because a leader is struggling at work, but because they are struggling with another area of their lives and it’s beginning to threaten their professional success. It could be a colleague, an investor, a board member, or even a friend who makes the introduction.
The first step in these situations is to pull back and assess what’s really happening in that person’s life. This allows us to see what they are doing well and where they are struggling. Then we can see where we need to set targets for change and begin to work on goals. This doesn’t mean that we need to work on the most troubling area; instead we want to understand what’s impacting overall performance and where the root causes of the problems are.
Here are the six key areas that I look at when I’m coaching. These are the major facets in your life which are interconnected and will impact each other in different ways. And if one is out of whack, others will be impacted. By assessing yourself in these areas, you will be more likely to find the core challenges that when overcome will lead to better professional performance.
This includes both body and mind. Someone who is taking care of themself physically and mentally will be able to perform better in every other area. If you’re not staying in good health and not practicing good self-care, you’re risking everything. Everyone needs exercise, good eating, and activities that feed the soul. Taking time off and spending time recharging and reflecting allow you to sharpen the axe for future work.
This includes significant others, children, and immediate and extended family. Unfortunately, this is often an area of neglect for many high-powered executives. And while time can be extremely limited if you’re a busy professional, not having an effective strategy for spending quality time with others and maintaining intimate bonds with close family will ultimately have a detrimental effect on your work.
Even the most introverted executive needs a social life. Making sure you have a group of people outside of work, who you connect with and who can provide perspective and support is critical to having a well-balanced life. You don’t need a girls or guys weekend every month, but getting away from work and family every once and a while can make you a better leader, spouse, and parent.
At the core of life satisfaction is the feeling and knowledge that you are mastering a domain and making a difference in the world. This doesn’t mean that you need to be a CEO or a titan of industry. It could be excelling at a craft or making a social impact. Whatever your chosen focus, spend time setting goals and dedicating time and money to improving yourself.
While you can’t take it with you, you also can’t live without it. Making sure that your fiscally sound and responsible will allow you to have the resources to achieve your biggest goals. This doesn’t mean toiling away at a job you hate so that you can retire and finally have some fun. Just decide what your longer term objectives are and do what you need to invest in your future.
Nobody lives in a vacuum. We all depend and benefit from the communities we live in and greater society. Making sure you’re being a responsible citizen and giving back to the groups that have supported and enabled you to be successful is a responsibility we must all take seriously. Think beyond money. Volunteering your time and skills can be both more valuable and more rewarding.
As a business coach, I focus on business performance. However, I strongly believe that people are multifaceted and business performance suffers when we neglect other areas of our life. The best long-term business performance comes from executives who are well-rounded and perform well in all areas of their lives.