Throw away the weekend
Once upon a time I loved Fridays. They were the signal of the end; the end of spending my days creating something for someone else. And by 5pm I was finally able to do my own thing and enjoy what I considered to be two days of freedom. I was so wrong.
What I have found since, is that real freedom comes when you create your week in such a way that you are working towards your own goals, and doing so in a way that works best for you.
That real sense of freedom then comes from the overall purpose of being responsible for how you spend your time, and not from that fleeting breath of freedom thanks to a predetermined (and approved by someone else) lunch break.
Sure, you don’t have an HR department to complain to when things don’t go well, and you have to ensure that you don’t fly too close to the wind when it comes to the health and sustainability of your company. But for me, that is an easy price to pay when it comes to freedom.
I no longer look at the clock as an indicator of freedom, even if it means that I can be called upon to be ‘on’ work-wise almost any time of the day or week. Weirdly though, I almost always feel free, regardless of how many stakeholders I am accountable to or how many people I am responsible for.
Don’t draw a line between work and play
Many years ago I wrote an article for a financial newspaper about the blurred lines between work and play. The newspaper piece was popular because the demographic was likely much more of my ilk. However, the piece was subsequently syndicated across the country and the backlash was brutal.
“You sound like Gordon Gekko” one commenter posted, and “Notice she doesn’t mention children…” said another. It was interesting, because the piece I wrote was very specific to people that thought like myself, and I was very clear that I appreciate my journey is not palatable to everybody.
I started to wonder if people would comment similarly had my article been about why it’s important to always leave work on time. If my whole schtick was that we should have clear boundaries between work and our personal lives, I can’t imagine there would have been too much digital venom.
Yet the fact that, for me personally, work and personal life are somewhat blended unsettled many readers. I don’t really get it and I want to understand the response better (this is a rhetorical question so please don’t send me your feedback). In my company, most of the people working for me are dear friends of mine, so in essence, I see my friends all the time – the ones that have the same goals as me at least.
Getting the work-life balance right
I thought the whole point of this journey is that we find the lifestyle that makes the most sense to us, and I know I am not alone in feeling this way. This idea that we must protect the notion of clear boundaries within a work-life balance, as if that is some kind of divine state of being, is redundant and archaic.
We have come a long way as women in the fight for equality in the boardroom, yet there is still a sense of disappointment for many if we don’t quite see it packaged in the way others feel make sense. However, I don’t need to make sense to anyone else and they don’t need to make sense to me.
To be clear, I am not talking about being a miserable workaholic, nor am I suggesting that one does not make clear time to decompress. Start-ups thrive on the energy of those who believe in them, and if that form takes shape in the person who doesn’t see a distinction between a Saturday and a Wednesday, does that really need to be an issue?
I don’t have a personal life or a work life – I just have this big life. It is one that I am so proud to be living every single day, and leading others who feel the same.