I have always been pretty good at work and working. I had parents that navigated the sacrifices and stresses of providing for the family. Mum was adaptable, working across a range of industries and Dad was a born leader, helping turn around companies and managing difficult dynamics. They both volunteered for different community groups throughout their life.
To many degrees I have followed their lead; my commitment to my clients and my craft is very strong and I have the kinds of problems with my diary that many self-employed people would be happy to have.
Yet, on one level work for me has changed quite significantly. From the outside looking in, it may not seem that different, other than a significant increase in the volume of work I am able to manage. However, if I was able to do some kind of scan of where and how I hold work within, it would show a world of difference.
Rather than feeling perpetually like I am going to be discovered as a fraud or not good enough, I am more natural in how I do what I do. Rather than feeling stressed about needing the business to look or be a certain way, I am more at ease with allowing the business to be what it is. Rather than feeling like work is a sacrifice I make to provide for my family, it is a marker of love and dedication that I bring to the family.
In fact, this last change is one of the most significant. Work was always something I kept separate from family. In fact, it was a way that I hid from family and some relationships. Being busy providing was always a convenient excuse to avoid being present at home.
Much of my job is being with people and being in front of people. There were days where everything about me looked for a way to simply get through the day. Yet today my work is about actually being with people. Which means rather than bringing a day of protection home, I bring a day of connection. It also means that rather than bringing a weekend of avoidance to work, I bring a weekend of connection.
It’s not perfect and there is deeper to go, but it was not a traditional business coach, self-help book or management consultant that helped me get to this. In fact, it was a complete absence of focus on work and business that made the most difference.
The Way of The Livingness presents a simple yet powerful understanding called – ‘One Life’.
To live ‘One Life’ is to recognise that the best way to have work/ life balance is to treat them as the same and not separate. The best way to develop your business relationships is to develop your home relationships and vice versa. ‘One Life’ says that there is nothing we do that does not affect the everything we do.
While this might seem like an overwhelming concept at first, as with all things ‘Livingness’ its application is quite simple. The more presence you bring to one aspect of life, the more all other aspects benefit.
For me in work, that has meant bringing fewer models, qualifications and ideas of professionalism to my clients, but bringing more of myself. I am naturally professional, dedicated and hard-working, but I would layer a whole lot of pressure on top of what is there quite naturally.
So, what is work? Work is a chance to play, work is a chance to peek into a million different worlds and lives, work is a chance to give something back to others. Work is life, but life is not hard work.