Today’s Provision introduces you to our new strategic partner, Mike Alafaci of Solution Maps in Queensland, Australia. He will be writing Provisions for the next 12 weeks while I take a sabbatical to work on my book. I know you will enjoy Mike’s handling of Work / Life Balance.
I am pleased to announce that LifeTrek has entered into a strategic partnership with Mike Alafaci of Solution Maps in Queensland, Australia. We have worked with Mike during the past year as he left the corporate arena, secured additional training, and launched his coaching practice. During that time, we have come to know and appreciate Mike’s wisdom, perspective, and humor.
As a company with a large international base of readers and clients, LifeTrek has an interest in making international connections to become better able to serve our global client base. Mike will enable us to do that better in the Australian region. If you are in that area, and if you contact LifeTrek for coaching, don’t be surprised if Mike Alafaci gives you a call!
To introduce you to Mike, we have asked him to write our next Provisions’ series on Work / Life Balance. This series will not only assist you to master an important challenge that faces virtually everyone in the modern world, it will also give me my first significant break from writing a weekly Provision in more than six years. Talk about Work / Life Balance!
I plan to use the sabbatical to catch up on my reading and to move forward on the process of turning some of my old Provisions into a published book. I am as excited by that opportunity as I am by the chance to learn more about Work / Life Balance from Mike. You can still expect to read an occasional Wellness Pathway from me during the next three months, but the lead article will be coming from Mike.
Recently, I had the chance to talk with Mike about his coaching and his plans for this series. Here is what he had to say:
BOB: Thanks for offering to share your thoughts on Work / Life Balance with the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got interested in the subject of Work / Life Balance?
MIKE: I thank you for this opportunity; it is really quite a privilege. Achieving Work / Life Balance is no small feat, which I know from personal experience. I have worked for and consulted with corporations all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, South Asia, Europe and the USA. Wherever I go, and wherever I live, the challenge is the same: people have a hard time juggling their various responsibilities and commitments with their needs and wants.
I know it was a challenge for me when I was a corporate business-person for nearly 20 years. Many times I talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. Eventually I figured some things out, usually by learning new things and trying them out to get better results. In the end I chose to leave that environment in order to teach what I had learned to others. My coach training, through the Life Coaching Academy, and my advanced academic studies, at The Australian College of Applied Psychology, have shown me a path for doing just that. My goal in the series is to help as many people as possible to move toward their ideal Work / Life Balance.
BOB: What are some of the major Work / Life Balance issues facing us today?
MIKE: The world has changed. Time has become compressed by technology, and the pace of life has increased to match. The volume of information and the number of demands and options we face each day continue to increase at a staggering rate. Just saying no to all of the options presented to us is a challenge, not to mention getting to enjoy or finish some of them. Other people’s expectations of us, combined with our own, are like fuel to this firestorm of information and activity.
Feeling overwhelmed is common in today’s world. Most people want to feel like they are achieving something • to make sense of their lives and to know they are living and enjoying a life that is best for them. For some people life needs to speed up. For others it needs to slow down. And for still others, they need to just enjoy things the way they are. Common to all of us is the need to achieve the things we are required to do along with the things we want to do.
We live in an environment where there is always a lot to do. Our natural response is to work harder and faster to get everything done. But this usually doesn’t work and it certainly doesn’t earn us more balance. More often, it takes us further away from the important things and people in our lives. Many of us have been caught unaware by today’s rapidly changing world.
BOB: What is an example of the world changing?
MIKE: A great example is found between men and women in our society. It is common today for women to work full-time, as their partners do, however they continue taking on the majority of domestic duties. Our behaviour has changed but our values have stayed the same. Another example is thinking that we can get it all done if we only work hard enough. Our parents believed that it was best to finish work first and then play. Today that isn’t always possible. The world has changed and so have the rules. Our mindset and behaviour need to catch up.
BOB: Do you think that Work / Life Balance and passion are incompatible?
MIKE: No, not at all. On the contrary, Work / Life Balance is more about balancing our passions than balancing our time. It’s neither possible nor helpful to try and balance the amount of time we spend at work, home, or in recreational pursuits. It is possible, however, to balance our passion, energy, and enjoyment in relation to our various pursuits such as work, play, family, and friends. With enough conversation, we can achieve high levels of satisfaction and happiness in every area of life and work.
BOB: Is time management a key solution for our Work / Life Balance issues?
MIKE: Our Work / Life Balance issues of the 21st century won’t be solved by 20th-century technology like traditional time management courses. In fact, some time management teachings are responsible for where we are now. There are a few fundamental time management skills we need to apply, but they are not the focus of the approach we will take to Work / Life Balance.
Keep in mind that Work / Life Balance is not about managing time. It’s about managing passion, energy, and enjoyment. To do this we will need to learn and apply skills to make better choices, to communicate with others, and to design our environments. Our environments include our Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual life areas. Inside these are relationships with other people, the resources available to us (such as money, time, and health), and then our own inner world that includes a balance between Doing and Being. They all have to be considered, and in conversation with each other, if we hope to achieve sustainable success and happiness.
BOB: What are some of the greatest Work / Life Balance myths we face today?
MIKE: We are going to dispel a few myths along the way in this series. The first myth is that Work / Life Balance is a destination. Believing this will result in a life of false hope. Balance is a journey and a mindset we actively create, moment by moment, where learned skills have a chance to be applied at your choosing. Balance is in constant motion. We are either moving toward what we want or away from what we want.
Another myth is that if we just work faster, harder, and struggle a bit more, we will finally make it. Even when this is true, it may cost more than it earns us. The old saying, “hard work never hurt anyone” is a good one, but so is the other old saying, “too much of anything is bad for you.” In today’s fast-paced world, sustainability is a key factor in our success. Rather than trying to do everything, we can make choices and take actions that contribute to our ideal balance. This series will explore what those choices and actions look like.
Another great myth is that money and material things are the answer to success and happiness for us and our families. Sure, we all need money to survive, and we all want money to enjoy. I’ll gladly accept and enjoy as much money as the next guy, but money does not automatically make you or your family successful or happy.
For example, most people want their children to develop a good character, to be loved and respected, to be able to cope emotionally in the world, and to have a chance at success. Would giving them more money and material things achieve this? Probably not.
Once we are freed from this compulsion, we are freed to give our families their fair share of our passion, energy, and enjoyment. Recognising and honouring this is an example of balance. It is what I hope we will each find as we journey along this series.
BOB: Mike, thank you for sharing your thoughts and for giving us an idea of what to look forward to in this series. It will be great to sit back and relax for a while, as an avid reader of LifeTrek Provisions.
MIKE: You’re welcome! As an Aussie who lived in Texas for a few years I’d like to say, “Thanks, Mate. Y’all come back next week and we’ll get started on the journey.”
Coaching Inquiries: What’s the condition of your Work / Life Balance? Do the most important people in your life get their fair share of your passion, energy, and enjoyment? How could you pay more attention to them? When was the last time that you pursued an interest, without interruption, over the course of several days? Could CoachingComplete.com assist you to get where you want to go?
Mike’s material in this Provision, and each Provision in our series on Work / Life Balance, is written by Michael J. Alafaci of www.SolutionMaps.com • Copyright Solution Maps 2005. All rights reserved. You can contact Mike by email or phone, in Australia, at 61-7-3311-5361.
To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use the Contact Form at our Website to arrange a complimentary conversation.
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, Email Bob.
Thanks for the summary of spiritual wellness through the 12 Embraces. I am printing them out so I can continually digest them. I will share them with others who do not have computers (which is most of my friends).
Sorry to quibble, but No. 2 (Avoid Cynicism, Embrace Possibility), seems to describe not cynicism (belief that all people are motivated by selfishness) but nihilism (belief that all values are worthless and that nothing is knowable or can be communicated). Nihilism is perhaps not the best term either. In No. 4 (Avoid Pessimism, Embrace Responsibility), pessimism isn’t quite right either. The “Why bother?” doctrine is accurate but too informal. Any suggestions? Words are powerful and finding the right one to describe an idea is a fun challenge • for me, anyway. (Ed. Note: Thanks for your comments, but I have not been able to think of better terms. Perhaps our readers can weigh in on this one. Just Email Bob. )
Thank you very much for this full recap of your six month series. Is your bridge line rental also feasible for ones hosted in another country? (Ed. Note: Yes, our bridge line works fine from any country with access to calling a number in the USA.)
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
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