The discussion is open from 21-03-2012 to 30-04-2012
The advisor answered on 20-04-2012
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- Hung LE
I believe that exists an interactive relationship between family and work. If a person manage to create a harmony arrangement to set time for family and for work he can have a balance in life. That supports not only a successful career but also a happy life.
Anyway we always have some exceptions that is abnormal. Some cases prove that an outstanding person has got a lot of successes in professional life but in private life that was not and vice versa.
Concerning a balance i agreed that family and work should support mutually. But how to ? that depend on individual.
- Paul Wong
Great to hear your thoughts, everyone!
While I think there is a right belief, perhaps what is more important (if you are married) is to have united agreement with your spouse. That is the key to balance :)
What tears us apart is when we see family & work differently from our spouse. We have to take time to discuss & debate this out gently to find united agreement. Then there will be more understanding, less conflicts and definitely more peace in our lives.
- THANH NGUYEN
I think it is not be "OR" but should be "AND": work to support the family AND family should also support the work. Making this choice is tough but I don't believe there is any other way around. Some women may say: "I'm sacrifice my work to stay at home, keeping the family happy"; some men may say "I have to work so hard in order to make my family happy". This is NOT true. When you have the attitude of "have to" or " scarifying", you are not happy. And when you are NOT happy, can you give happiness to anyone else? NO.
Some of my own tip to attain both family and work support are:
- My choice of career should not be my own decision. I try best to get my husband involve, consult and also make decision with me. With this as a family choice, I can have much better support from him when my work get tough.
- I communicate clearly both to the team and family member about my priority to adjust well there expectation about me: When kid is sick, I need to spend more time with them and work from home. But when work is ram up, I need to stay late at work. I encourage my team and my husband to do the same
- Money is always important to support the family. But when you have choice of not to worry everyday about how to feed your kid and your family, choose the job that is most meaningful to you, allowing you to give your best and add best value, choose it and money will follow.
If anyone has other ways, please share.
Hi Mr Paul, i often thing that I'm fine with my work- life balance. However there is time that both work and life is quite stressful. If it was you , what are the siigns that make you know you are out of balance and how to recalim your control over it? Thanks
- Chris Harvey
Hi Thuc Anh,
I like Paul's answer about focus.
Often the feeling of stress comes from a feeling of not being in control of events in your life. The best way to take back control is to take action. Decide what areas in your life you'd like to change, then plan and take action to bring about the change you desire.
You'll find that even if you don't solve the problem quickly, you'll feel better immediately because you will feel more in control.
Another way to reduce stress is to treat each day as a completely separate day. Only focus on what needs to be done on that day, and make sure you take care of those things. If you focus on and take care of each day in the present, the future will take care of itself. You'll feel a lot better too.
- Paul Wong
Thank you for your question, Thuc Anh :) some of the obvious signs for being out of balance is to be easily irritated or to lose our temper with people we know or even strangers. Some express that irritation while others keep it inside until it explodes. Both had negative impacts.
The way to reclaim control is to refocus on what is important in our lives. Start by listing out on a paper every task or relationship that is crying out for your attention right now. Identify what is most important to you. Decide what you will stop doing or let go so you can focus whole heatedly on what is important.
Hi Paul, I'm working and studying at the same time so I find it quite hard to do good at both things, even often cannot focus on any of them. Do you have any tips? How to stop thinking of work while studying and vice versa? Thank you in advance!
- Paul Wong
Hi Thao, thank you for your question. I believe all of us can relate to trying to juggle several important roles at the same time. In your case right now - being a student and professional.
It is very interesting to know that in a circus, the most important tool of the trainer training the lion is not the whip but the chair. The reason is that when the trainer points the chair at the lion, it causes the lion to be confused because of the 4 legs pointing at it - all are potential dangers. This paralyzes the lion and makes it easy for the trainer to get the lion to do what he wants.
Often, we also paralyzes ourselves by pointing a chair at ourselves. We treat everything of equal importance and it paralyzes us.
To focus, it would be helpful if you can decide at this point if the study or work is more important instead of equal importance. If work is more important, then focus on finishing your work wholeheartedly before you focus on your studies. If studies is more important, then focus on studying wholeheartedly before you focus on your work.
This will also challenge you to work and study smarter. I hope this helps and do keep let us know how are you doing in finding that balance :)
If one day, I feel like I spend too much for work and want to stop working to enjoy my life, can I? Though it's better to divide time to work and entertain equally but it's hard to come back to work once I start to entertain/relax.
- Paul Wong
Thank you for your question, Minh :)
Here are my suggestions:
1. Learn to enjoy your work more. I believe if our work recharges us, we seldom need to recharge else where. Jack Welch, the ex-CEO of General Electric says is well - "when you find the right job, you've retired." You may be in the right job but you may need to explore how to truly begin enjoying it.
2. Define your priorities that will lead you to the life you want. Dividing time equally between different areas of life was very frustrating for me until I learned to take my priorities seriously. If work and entertainment are equally important, it becomes a difficult decision to make every time. However, if we decide entertainment/relaxing comes after work, then it can become a good reward after a productive day at work.
Finally, get mentors who have achieved the kind of life and balance you desire. Ask them how they do it on a daily basis. Hope this helps :)
hi Paul, i know balance is a choice, that's why each person would have different balance. However I would like to know if you have any principles to prioritize your choice? Thanks
- THANH NGUYEN
Thanks Paul for very sincere and inspiring answer. I really like when you say making the choice of family over work even make your work more meaningful and purposeful. Wish you and your small family a lot of health, joy and happiness:)
- Paul Wong
Thanh, because I believe work supports the family, I am willing to sacrifice work for the family but not vice versa (it's been a difficult but rewarding choice because it challenges me to work even more purposefully).
When making choices, I ask myself how does my choice affect my relationships (key word) in this order of priority:
With honesty & often the help of mentors, I consider my motivation and the pros & cons of my choice. If a choice has a negative impact on the family, I would find alternatives or simply say "No" to the opportunity.
It's taken years of painful mistakes in the past for me to come to a decision to choose family over work. In the work, it's also been many painful mistakes to come to a decision to put the team before customers.
These priorities have now helped me to make better choices - which leads to more peace, less regrets and balance in my life. Hope this answers your question :)
Hi Mr. Paul Wong,
In reality, there are cases like this one. "I’m in a status that many people consider balanced. But I really want to start something new. For this, I may leave my current job, change my place of living and start from Zero once again. This mean I am going to throw myself into turbulence without any definite result."
I would like to hear from you and other Anphabe members on this topic: When and how to have the courage to break the balance of one's life for new venture? Is it worth risking one’s peaceful life that one have built and maintained for years for building something new from scratch?
Thanks and happy day to all!
- Paul Wong
Thank you for your very good question, Tue Minh. I'm sure this is a situation all of us can find ourselves in sometimes.
First, I think it is important that we understand the difference between work-life balance and being in a comfort zone. Good work-life balance helps us to face the guaranteed changes of life positively while being in a comfort zone may prevent us from facing changes positively.
I believe real balance is internal and not affected (but will be tested) by external circumstances. It is the byproduct of living each day according to the right priorities. When we figure that out and have conviction to live by it, we have an inner peace regardless of whether life is good or going through turbulence.
What I hope I am understanding correctly from your question is - "When & how to have the courage to change?".
Here are my suggestions from dealing with change in my life:
1. Seek Advice from Trustworthy Seasoned Travelers
When we want to see a new place, we ask those who've been there many times for advice, not from those who know a lot about that place but have never been there. Seek out advisors and mentors you trust who can listen to your situation and give you some advice. In moments of change, what we need is clarity and we need fresh perspective from the right people. With clarity comes courage and confidence.
2. Consider Love Ones (Our Passengers)
I think one of the biggest frustration in our decision making is how it affect our relationships. We know our choices impact others and but often we just don't know how much. Whether we are single or married, when we make important decisions we should consider not just our own risk appetites but also the risk appetites of our love ones. Ask for their opinions.
It won't be easy especially for those who are having difficult relationships with their love ones. But perhaps this is exactly what is needed because the reason why we feel out of balance with our choices sometimes is because we have not considered the impact of our choices on our love ones.
3. Signal Early
Accidents happen on the road when we decide to change directions too quickly. The bigger our vehicle (responsibility), the more damage we do when we don't signal the changes we plan to do to those around us.
We need to understand speed is neutral, it is neither good nor bad. Going fast can be good sometimes, the same with going slow. So if you are not in a life or death situation which requires lightning fast reflexes, it is good to signal early.
Many who want to change careers or start their own business ask me "I want really want to make this change but I'm afraid the people around me cannot accept it. How should I go about this?"
My advice is to signal early like we signal our motorbike/car before turning. Let those close to us know we are planning for a change.
eg. "Hi love one/friend, since you are important to me, I want to let you know something I'm planning. I've been considering this new direction for a while. I've thought through it carefully and plan to make a change in about 6-12 months."
Even if those relationships are not supportive of your change and you are very sure about your decision, it will have managed their expectations and enable you to keep the peace with them. One possible way to respond to those not supportive may be: "Thank you so much for sharing your advice and opinion. I do appreciate it. Please know I will be considering this very carefully and will make my decision."
Hope this isn't more than what you asked for! :) I do believe when we seek good advice, consider our love ones and communicate early to others, it enables to keep our balance when going through changes in life. All the best!
- Ami Nguyen
Hey there,' the person in this case', in my opinion is do what you ''really want to''. Don't waste your life for other expectation but not yours. I'm used to be in the same situation, not exactly but 80%. Said easier than done, but it is worthy to give it a shot as long as you take full responsibility for your decision. I think the right time is when you stop doubting about your choice. You can get the courage by thinking of the future. There is no such thing as stable if you still want to change. You go girl!
I give you this example of How to make Work-life balance work from Ted Talk :)
Everyone wants to maintain work-life balance, for sure. But for the family life, what you think balance for you might make your partner’s life imbalance. Is there any tip for this? Thanks!
- Paul Wong
Thank you Thu for your question. I think it is possible that family life is perhaps where our greatest battles are fought sometimes.
It is possible that by having personal balance, our partner may not be able to find their balance. After getting married, it took a long time (& I continue to learn today) for me to change from a "single" mindset to a "married" mindset. Changing from "me" to "we" in how I saw time, money, career, relationships, etc was very challenging but also rewarding as it enlarged my heart and mind.
Decision making used to be much easier since I was making just for myself. What works for me may not work for my family. If I want to find the "we" solution, we've got to work harder together to find a way.
I've learned that one of the best gifts we can give our spouse is the gift of time. This can be quality time just to listen, it can be time for the spouse to go do what they love and time for important events or activities. It does mean making personal sacrifices but the long term rewards are worth it.
Here are some ways I try to find that balance in family life:
1. Get up 1-2 hours earlier when everyone is still asleep to prepare for the day
2. Create a family & work calendar on Google Calendar (or other tool) & share it /manage it together with the spouse
3. Once a week date night to "spoil" the spouse. Bring spouse out for a nice evening. This is important especially when we start having children & don't make time any more. Look for family/friends to help look after the children just for 1 evening.
4. Daily 15-30 minute "sofa time" to listen to each other's day. Those more serious can consider discussing 1 chapter of a book together every week.
5. Work hard to manage the calendar together by discussing regularly and finding ALIGNMENT.
That last word is the key. Alignment is more powerful than acceptance or agreement. It is about being wholeheartedly in it together. It will never be easy since we all have our opinions and preferences so who should change first?
The answer is the more mature one. If you are the more mature one, as Spiderman said "With great power comes great responsibility" so it means being more patient with the other.
All the best in building a wonderful family life, Thu!