Do you struggle with work-life balance? I expect the answer is yes. How about work-life flexibility, a phrase becoming more popular as we realize balance is out of reach? Yes again?
While I can’t promise to solve either work-life issue for you, I do want to share a “secret”…it’s about recognizing when you have the opportunity to leverage skills between work and home. I call this work-life efficiency, because you can learn something in one environment and use it in the other.
I also believe practice makes perfect. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell provides compelling evidence that you need to practice something for 10,000 hours before you master it. Let’s apply this idea to leadership skills. In the United States, the average worker logs about 2000 hours in their job each year. If you were to practice the art of delegation (for example) every single minute that you were at work, after 5 years you’d have a good chance of being an expert. Five years is a really long time! But, if you are also practicing delegation at home seven days a week, you are going to master it that much faster.
The math may be simple, but I hope that my point is compelling—that we can become more competent leaders and parents by recognizing and then utilizing overlapping best practices. The more opportunities we have to employ these best practices, the more skilled we will become.
What do you think about changing the conversation away from work-life balance to a celebration of the opportunities we are given as working parents to practice leadership skills at home and parenting skills at work? I look forward to hearing from you.
© 2012 by Karen Catlin. All rights reserved.