The Challenge & Possibility of Integration
We’ve learned a lot from some of the pioneering authors who have written great books AND practiced what they preached, people like:
- Amy and Marc Vachon — authors of Equally Shared Parenting
- Lisa D’Annolfo Levey – author of The Libra Solution: Shedding Excess and Redefining Success at Work and at Home
These authors show us how you can move ahead in your career while also creating time for your children and relationship to each other. We call the people who do this, Whole Life Leaders.
To become Whole Life Leaders, professionals developed a variety of “integration skills” that let them push back at a world that lets us work anywhere and all the time. Instead, they look for ways to become more effective at work so they have time and energy for their lives outside of work. You too can follow this path, and it all begins by putting into practice the following simple processes:
Key Integration Practices
1 – Create Time to Reflect
Create “pauses” at work. Make the most of slower periods at work to assess what you are doing and develop fresh and creative ways to focus on your most important work. If no slower periods are in sight – gain a fresh perspective from a short vacation, a “no work” weekend, or even just a quick walk outside during your lunch break. As someone once said in a presentation to ThirdPath community members, “The only way to think in new and creative ways is if we aren’t constantly running around putting out the next fire.”
2 – Make Changes Outside of Work
Develop a clear sense of highly valued non-work activities. Create time for family, friends, volunteer work or projects that feel of equal importance than the work you do. Get help from the people who are close to you to make time for non-work activities. Your spouse, a friend, a family member, or coach can all be resources to help you reach for your goals. This has been a cornerstone to both Lisa D’Annolfo Levey and Amy and Marc’s approach.They wanted to craft a life where they were successful at work, partners in the care of their children, and to continue life interests beyond work and family. It turns out by doing this, they’ve also created a healthier, less harried lifestyle — something they are modeling to their children as well.
3 – Make Changes at Work
Below are some of the tools Whole Life Leaders use to help improve their effectiveness at work. The beauty of these skills is that they are also very teachable, and we’ve got ways to help you start learning them right now.
- Reduce email overwhelm. Adopt better habits around reviewing, managing and responding to emails.
- Create quiet time. Block off routine time in your calendar for quiet, focused, thinking work.
- Plan around the “seasons” of your work. Discover ways — at work and home — to better manage peak periods of work.
- Improve delegation. Delegate to junior employees as an opportunity for them, and as a way to create more time for you.
4 – Experiment, Learn, Repeat
Maintain an experimental approach! Remember, changes may need to happen both at work and at home. As Lisa, Amy, and Marc progressed in their careers and moved into positions where they began to manage others, you can imagine they had to learn a few things along the way. Whether it was Amy creating a job-sharing leadership position or Marc’s conversation with his boss to collectively combat overwork and overwhelm, both would agree that the journey has been very worthwhile.
Both of the books, Equally Shared Parenting and The Libra Solution, demonstrate that one of the most important aspects to becoming a Whole Life Leader is creating a “team at home.” Listen to this amazing podcast to hear how one of our ThirdPath community members did this. You’ll also hear insights from Saliha Bava, a couples and family therapist, who describe the steps you can take to put these ideas into action for your family.