American productivity, European Lifestyle : How to invoke margin in the fast-paced, nonstop demands of business culture

As a small business, we get to create our culture and build our business with the values that we have. One of the values we hold to is to do excellent work. We transform businesses. We do it well. We’ve done it repeatedly. We facilitate a change in technology, processes and culture in businesses that reduces and eliminates pain points and thrives once depleted and failing departments.
In addition to excelling in our work of coming alongside businesses we also have a value of living in a healthy and vibrant life/work-balance culture. For example, all our employees took off the Friday before Labor Day. And we all feasted together the Thursday afternoon before that.
How Do We Do It?
We prioritize it. We work hard and then we play hard. We take responsibility for our deliverables and then we deliver. The main way that we achieve this is through team collaboration and knowing each other. We are a company of 9 people, all with vast skills, experiences and expertise. We use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality inventory to understand the core of each other. We seek to know each other’s stories and the things that make us joyful and give us energy. We help each other identify what joy and energy we are finding in our accomplishments and work and what is draining us of energy and life. Then we empower, utilize and exploit each other’s strengths and at the same time seek to train and grow in the weaknesses we lean towards. In this, we all get to do what we do best. And it achieves meaning for the individual, excellence and success for us as a company, and, in turn, our clients.
If you do not take the initiative to seek and achieve a healthy life/work-balance then you won’t. It takes a lot – a lot of effort and a re-orientation beyond the rhythm of our culture and a stamina to go against what has ingrained and saturated us in the United States.
It takes a reframing and renewing of the mind and the environment and culture that we live in. Something that may help in this reframing venture is looking at other countries, companies or even people you admire for living in a balanced way.
But be sure of this: without a practice of intentional reframing, the saturation of the world around us will overtake us. Maybe it has overtaken you already. Can you remember the last time you had a day off? Have you been skipping meals due to endless meetings? Have you been able to communicate with the people you love this week? I could go on.
Work to Live
At the end of the day, the words of the artist Lauryn Hill ring true, “paper chasing, what are we working for?” What are we working for? We work to live. Are we living or are we working?
Begin building a rhythm of work and life that energizes you and helps you to live a meaningful and healthy life. One of my colleagues constantly says this mantra – if you love the work you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I appreciate the repetition of him saying this. It helps us all remember what we are working towards – that even our work is not work, but an outlet to use our skills and strengths to live into meaning and health for ourselves, our families, our companies and our world. We are wanting to live meaningful, productive and healthy lives. It may start by having good people around you with shared values, who know who they are and can help you discover who you are.

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