Achieving harmony in your business and personal life can mean the difference between happy, productive and fulfilled days versus simply going through the motions uninspired. This is true for business leaders who often wear many hats as they juggle the day-to-day obligations, as well as employees. When harmony is out of tune, it can feel as though you lead multiple lives -- the business you and the home life you.
We're taught to hone harmonious alignment within our organizational goals, vision, values, and purpose to ensure everyone working on the team is pulling in the same direction, however, it's also essential to attain congruity in life and inspire our teams to do the same. And one of the most effective ways to do this is to be aligned and harmonious within yourself.
Based on your values, you have to decide where you want to go in business and how you carry yourself at home. After all, the two worlds connect whether you want them to or not. From this place, you can effectively guide your employees in obtaining harmony, which, in my opinion, reside in the following four principles.
1. Be truly obsessed with what you do
Why are you showing up every day? Why are you willfully leaving your family from breakfast to dinner to do what you do? It better be because you're enthralled with the amazing work you're a part of, otherwise, you're cheating yourself and those around you of precious time.
As a leader, you set the tone and energy of the place where people are spending the majority of their days. The atmosphere you create must be one that fosters deep passion and an obsession for the work. One in which your employees are willing to make the same daily sacrifices because they are that fulfilled by the deeper purpose your organization serves.
If you don't have a handle on your own why for coming into work, or a driving mission behind your company, then your people won't have that attachment either. A unified workforce that has the privilege of making and doing 'cool' things in an exciting culture will grow together and take the values they cherish for eight to 10 hours a day home with them.
No matter how good we think we are at compartmentalizing, consciously or subconsciously, our experiences inevitably cross pollinate the various areas of our lives, which is why this is not about work-life balance. Life is a continuum, and particularly with technology, we're never completely disconnected from work or our home lives, which is why striving for happiness in everything we do is the key to living in harmony.
2. Take personal time
Connecting to what inspires you outside of work is often the best thing for your work. Introduce yourself to new perspectives and experiences that will color your leadership decisions with more interesting hues.
When I run trails or meditate, I'm better able to put work into its proper context which gives me more positive energy. Your subconscious mind is always working, so the best strategy for taking on a work challenge is often conscious investment in something completely different. And this is often when the best answers to the complexities that rule our days reveal themselves.
I also firmly believe time with family and friends is a reality check for what's most sacred in your life and something we all need. There is no more meaningful way to put work in its proper context than by maximizing the time you have with those you care about.
When you're passionate about what you do for a living, you don't wear your job like a burden and detract from family and friend interactions. Knowing where your loved ones stand in your life and making time --not just finding it -- to be with them gives you the fuel to continue to be obsessed at work in the best way possible.
3. Be present
Many people think they're good listeners when what they really are is good hearers waiting for their turn to talk. Listening is a skill that can and must be worked on so that you can listen in a big way to people you care about in business and life.
It starts with having a sense of presence. The more aware you are of yourself and your surroundings, and the more you give yourself permission to have thoughts free of self-judgment, the more empathetic you'll be to others' concerns. It doesn't matter if it's with your employees, your leadership team, or your spouse and kids, train your awareness so you can talk directly and truthfully and listen with intent.
Meditation is a big mechanism for me personally to improve in this area. The practice teaches you that thoughts may drift and focus may wane, but as long as you don't criticize yourself when that happens, you can zero right back in the task or conversation at hand.
4. Learn relentlessly
Successful leaders find harmony in balancing their learning. This might be deepening your knowledge of your or your client's industry, or self health and personal growth, or pursuing a new hobby like learning to play an instrument. Learning is essential to growth, fulfillment and harmony.
Relentless learning gives you infinite opportunities to become a better and happier person and drives your perspectives. You realize that you're not in a fixed state at any one time, and your personal evolution feeds into your business evolution.
So ask yourself --are you living like a badass? If not, what levers do you need to tweak to get there?