It does seem unusually prevalent in nonprofit organizations, that this issue of finding a healthy balance between work and life, personal and professional life, is especially challenging. Nonprofit speaker and blogger Vu Le recently wrote an article that was all about our “toxic obsession with productivity”. In that article, he shares a story that is both funny and biting. Vu says, “When I was an ED, younger professionals would come up to me asking what it was like to be an executive director. “It’s great!” I would joke, “you get to work whenever you want, as long as it adds up to 70 hours each week!”
So where to get started on creating a better work-life balance? Here are a few clear steps you can take to move forward personally and with your organization in order to pursue a more healthy work-life balance.
Set The Pace
Despite what Charles Barkley said many years ago, you are a “role model” to those you are leading. In whatever leadership role you serve, you set the pace for your team, for both your staff team and volunteers. If you are the senior leader in your organization, you certainly set the pace for your entire organization. Is your example worth following? If not, it is time to rethink your own work-life balance. This starts with self-leadership, which is the most important aspect of leadership. Many leadership experts over the years have emphasized this simple but often overlooked principle. One example is author John Maxwell who points out the importance of being a “360-degree leader,” meaning you can and should lead in all aspects of your life, regardless of your position or title. He argues that the most important aspect of being a 360-degree leader is your self-leadership. When you set the pace of a healthy work-life balance, not only are you leading yourself well, you are leading your organization well.
See Your Life As A Movie
Have you ever thought of your life as a movie? Play out what the movie of your life will look like if you keep your current pace up. Does your life’s movie have a good ending?