For my first post here at AWAL, I thought it would be fun to look at how we can use a love of adventures to create work-life synergy. I call myself a work-life synergy coach. I stand for helping people transform into their biggest, best selves by creating a synergy of all parts of themselves, mind body and spirit, as well as work, and the rest of their lives. Imagine being on an upward spiral of engagement, energy and expansion, rather than spinning in circles spending time ruminating and draining your energy, or worse yet, on a downward spiral of negativity and, possibly depression. In my initial blog post on work-life synergy on my own website, I give some concrete examples of what I am describing here. (Of course you may have some completely different ways of interpreting this and I would love to hear about your ideas on the subject.) For today, I wanted to share with you another example of how we could create work-life synergy. I want to invite you to play with the idea of framing experiences as an adventure.
Imagine that you love travelling – being on adventures. Maybe you actually do love travelling – if so, great! In this scenario, you really value all that a traveling adventure offers you: for example, learning new things, meeting new people, and seeing new places. You spend lots of time and energy dreaming about and planning your next adventure. And you also quite often feel trapped in the constraints of your work. You are really living from trip to trip. …Ok, so hold that thought.
I will use two anecdotes from my own life to illustrate this adventure framing. I practiced law for six years before becoming a mother. My husband (also a lawyer and a law school classmate) and I decided that I would try being the “at home parent” to our children. I did this for several years during which I had a great yearning to do work that I could be passionate about. When our first two children were 4 and 7, I found coaching and felt very excited about the possibilities it held. I decided to embark on the training and the first step was a one-week course. My parents generously agreed to look after our kids for the week. My husband, not being one for playing small, decided to spend the week climbing a mountain in Switzerland with friends. I found it really funny that my week was spent walking a few blocks to my coaching course while my husband was in Europe climbing a mountain. I thought to myself: “He is on an adventure, but so am I. My adventure is just more internal.” I was learning new things, meeting new people, seeing new places – inside myself.
Months later, I remember using the adventure framing again. I was stepping out my front door, pregnant, to go to an ultrasound appointment to check on the health of my third baby. The last time we had checked, the doctors had had some concerns. So I was scared. This was unknown territory for me. I took a deep breath and consciously chose to be on an adventure – learn new things, meet new people, see new places inside myself. That framing really helped me – it gave me courage. Fast forward ten years, and this has continued to be very true as I have had to grow into being a good enough mother to a child with special needs – “my little teacher”, I call him. You may hear more about what I have learned – am still learning – from him in future posts.
Ok, let’s go back to the feeling of loving adventure and being constrained by your work. What if you were to see every new file or project as a potential adventure? What new things will you learn? Who will you meet? What new places will you discover, either inside or outside yourself?
If you love adventure in your personal life, experiment with bringing it into your work life and see what synergies you can create for yourself. If not adventure, what else do you love in one domain of your life that you can introduce to your work? Have fun creating more work-life synergies and feel yourself moving in an upward spiral of engagement, energy and expansion!