Driving Work-Life Balance by Redefining “Success”
The toxic and overworked culture created by the remote work environment has led to an exodus of people who have made a choice to prioritize work-life balance and happiness over anything else. The pandemic has left workers burnt out with less time to attend to other facets of their life.
But what about you?
High achieving professionals, business owners and managers are constantly pushing themselves for results. Results that are based on a warped definition of success rather than around the satisfaction of a life well-lived.
Founder of Dynamic Women®, Diane Rolston sheds light on what real success and satisfaction in business, career and personal life is.
Rolston admits that she herself is a “recovering perfectionist,” and was devoid of happiness despite all her achievements in life. “I realized I’m a smart woman––I’ve had all these successes. Why am I not happy?” She fought to keep her unhappiness at bay and then realized the unsavoury truth that “Success doesn’t make you happy.”
Realizing that many people struggle with their definition of success, Rolston offers some strategies to help you reach a level of satisfaction and balance you desire in your personal life and career.
1. Stay grounded and aligned to your values in every decision and course of action you take.
A good measure that something is worth spending time on is if it aligns to your values and goals. Personal development training, leadership summits and podcasts that help you improve yourself and reach your productivity goals are worth spending time on. They should be bringing you closer to the ideal life that you are aspiring for.
She says, “I realized later my satisfaction will come when I honour my values which wasn’t happening in my career.” There is satisfaction in knowing that you have been true to your values regardless of the challenges.
2. Measure everything you do in life according to how satisfied and happy you are.
“Wow, I’ve been measuring my life according to success not according to satisfaction and the things that truly bring me joy,” Rolston remarked while working with a business coach. By measuring her level of satisfaction, she could prioritize tasks and aspects of her life that truly brought her joy.
3. Constantly look for ways to do things faster and smarter.
Rolston advises, “You think of how much of your time you can actually gain back by taking a little humble pill and thinking I’m not going to try and do everything. I can do it all but I choose not to do it all. That’s actually the smarter decision.”
She goes on to say that one of the smartest decisions she made was to hire a cleaner. That one decision proved to be cost-efficient and brought peace of mind to her household. “Hiring a cleaner has saved me in marriage counselling fees because that was one of our fights. “Paying for a cleaner is so much cheaper than a divorce.”
Check out Diane’s Interview with Marc
4. See where your time is being spent and adjust them according to their core competencies and right priorities.
As Business guru, Peter F. Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets improved.” Rolston suggests we all write down the things we work on each day. Then isolate the tasks we should be focusing on because “it’s in your zone of genius or your core competency.”
5. Learn to distinguish your glass balls from your rubber balls.
Determine which items should be taking up your attention and which can be dropped temporarily or forever.
The glass balls represent the aspects of your life that you regard with value. Glass balls are your high-value non-negotiables like your family, your health, etc. Rubber balls represent the tasks and responsibilities that are negotiable and can wait.
Rolston used to stay up late making sure the kids’ lunches were done and all dishes had been put away, then get up at six o’clock in the morning the next day to start her routines all over again. With all the overwork and overwhelm, she had to decide what were rubber balls and what were her glass balls. “I look to the goals I had in my life. One of them was having a really good relationship with my children and my husband (glass balls) and sacrificing this had been a bone of contention for us.” By hiring help to do the household chores she was able to prioritize her time by letting go of the rubber balls preventing her from living a balanced life.
Rolston outlines that people have a tendency to keep juggling more balls than they can handle. Unfortunately, if we drop the glass balls, the damage can be irreparable. Rubber balls, however, won’t break and can be dealt with, or dropped permanently.
Sometimes, the glass balls can become rubberized when there is trust and open communication. This means we can let go of that ball at some point because in a trusting relationship, we can be vulnerable to people that we need to prioritize other things before them or admit a mistake we’ve committed and receive understanding and forgiveness in return.
6. Learn to be happy and fulfilled in the present and see things in the light of gratitude.
Rolston encourages us to be mindful of the present and learn not to suspend our happiness until a project is fully completed. She learned to be happy in the now and be thankful for every little win. She says that the problem is, “We’re waiting for that moment of success and sometimes our goals take a long time until the finish line and so we feel we can’t be happy now and satisfied now.”
“Am I putting personal stuff in my day?”
Our definition of success is when we buy that house, get a promotion or lose weight. We put things off until we get married or have children, or even when the children grow up and leave. “It’s always the ‘when’ in the future. But it doesn’t allow us to be happy in the present.”
7. Be intentional about setting up your day with structure–– Create in-between buffer time to allow for a breather.
Be intentional both on the macro and micro-tasks that need to be done to help you reach your goals. Keep a list visible so that you can do the tasks when you have some free time. Diane says that there is a big difference between putting a structure in your day and just going willy-nilly.
“There needs to be a nice balance between a structure that you follow, that keeps you productive, efficient, happy and not stressed, and the ability to set boundaries of where does my day end and where does my day start. Am I putting personal stuff in my day?”
8. Take a temperature check on every area of your life.
Check how satisfied you are in each area of your life and not how satisfied you are. Our intent is to smooth out the ride by aiming for just the right balance–– the lows aren’t so low and the highs are maintained.
Rolston uses The Wheel of Life tool to map out where you are now and where you’d like to be. The tool helps you prioritize where you should be focusing in the next six months, the next year or the next five years.
Most of us have been brought up with a warped definition of success. Our identities get tied up to our job titles and we end up trying to keep up with what society tells us to do. Rolston suggests that our identity not be based on our career or on our marital status but on the totality of all areas of our life.
She advised that we must stop comparing ourselves to others, a habit-driven individuals use to measure their standing. Instead, she retorted, “How about if we compared ourselves to how we were yesterday. If we were one percent better than we were yesterday then great!”
The only time we should reflect on the accomplishments of others, according to Rolston, is when we “look at them as an inspiration. Celebrate them by expressing our gratitude.”
The best person who can help you is you. You have control over your mind, emotions and most of all, your time. As Peter Drucker says, “Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.” Rolston reiterates, “If you are able to frame it differently, you’re going to have success and satisfaction every single day.”
Diane Rolston is called THE Expert on Being Dynamic and living a Dynamic Life. After leading hundreds of events and programs in her two businesses, speaking on international stages, being a published author while raising two young children. Diane knows all about work/life balance and getting things done! As an Award-Winning Coach and the CEO and founder of Dynamic Women®, a global community of women, her purpose is to unlock the greatness in others. She is a behind-the-scenes advisor and coach for many professionals, business owners, and high achievers. She helps her clients to have “clarity” on what to focus on, the “confidence” to go for it, and an “action” plan so they have tangible steps to reach the best results.
You’re invited to reach out to Diane and visit her website www.dianerolston.com
If you’d like to explore the Wheel of Life tool, reach out to Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book a complimentary 30-minute brainstorming session with Marc at a time that works for you at http://meetme.so/MarcHaine.