Monday, January 1, 2007

How to attain a healthy work-life balance?

A recent survey in Singapore reveals that one of the greatest wish for 2007 is to attain a more pronounced work-life balance in life. This is not surprising when you take into consideration other findings like people are generally working harder, becoming more mobile, sleeping less, making less love, having less children and even getting divorced. The problem is that productivity at work does not translate into impactful results. More of us are getting more busy and worried over 'chores' like missing out on e-mails and phone calls. We interact more often through using technology and tools, but we definitely fail to communicate better, heart to heart, on the relationship front.

To tell the truth, according to Dr. Robert Anthony, money has always been the no. 1 factor that affects the way people live their lives. They mold their lifestyles after it, not before it, therefore they become servants of it by handing the power of control to it.

On the other hand, there are a few folks who charge much, much more for their work or consultation in an hour than what 95% of the world's population currently earn in a month. A joke goes around that Bill Gates' wealth equates to the GDP of Peru. A statistic I cam across once puts him at earning $300 per second...

For that rate of earnings, is Bill the most stress-out worker in the world? :)

But this question is not for you to answer. The question is: What do you really LOVE to do, and will do it so well that you can get paid for it?

How times have changed. Only 4 years ago, most Singaporeans looked down and rated poorly any kind of vocation related to the arts as one with no financial (read: lucrative) future. Today, we have the Esplanade By The Bay, a premise right in the city for the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and a burgeoning arts scene. Even computer gaming is becoming serious business in Singapore as we send our best teams of young people to compete in regional tournaments for cash prizes.

People who love to sing and dance, play computer games or blog all day are now given a chance at earning wages, but they have a secret most people don't know. How are you going to marry the love for your work with the love for your life? When does work become play and become $$$ too?

Perhaps you may deduce that when all the things you care most come integrated together, you would have achieved a complete fullness of life. This is an ideal of course, a holy grail that is impossible to achieve. There is never a sense of closure throughout life as challenges persist.

Let's start with an idea. Dora Yip has one. Good for her.

When she was a principal consultant and partner in a public relations company last year, she couldn't stop thinking about work. Even as she sat watching a movie, her mind would dwell on work matters.

Coming to the end of 2006, she could finally look back and say she is satisfied with her everyday life. Apart from welcoming a nephew into the world, the highlight of the year was moving to the non-profit sector in November 2006. It was a huge decision to leave her own company, yet it was the best one yet, for being a corporate communications manager at the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Center (NVPC) has brought about meaningful work to her.

While living in New Zealand with her husband David, Dora spent 3 years volunteering as a refugee support worker. She counted this as among her most satisfying experiences because it directly helped society. It was what she wanted to do full-time.

If not for life coaching, she reckoned she would have taken more time floundering towards her decision to switch lines.

Said Dora: "A lot of people think life coaching is a scary thing, but really, it's just having someone professional act as a personal sounding board to help you clarify your goals and aims in life and work out how to achieve them.

"The work at NVPC is just as much. Typical working hours I would say, but the difference is I feel more comfortable with the work and myself.

"It may sound contrived," she added, "but when you are passionate about what you do, you cope better with challenges and a lot of the stress you'd ordinarily feel is gone."

Dora has learnt to pause, reflect and listen to her inner voice. She also realized that there are no bad decisions in life, just bad reactions.

The most important she has learnt from life coaching is that even the seemingly scariest things in life can be made less scary if you talk them over with someone and make a list. She said, "Once things are itemized, they really don't seem insurmountable anymore."

Dora has brought some sense of order and maybe fullness to her life. How about you? Do you need a life coach to act as your personal sounding board? Here at Locate A Coach, you can easily search for one that suits your personality and needs in major areas like career, health, relationships, spirituality etc.

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Dora Yip's story is extracted from a Straits Times interview printed in the "Mind Your Body" supplement dated February 21st, 2007.

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