24 May 2014

Work/Life Balance: What is it, really?



The ongoing, universal challenge

A few years ago, we at CCCA asked a group of NextGeneration Leaders what topics they would find most valuable in a mentoring relationship to help position them better for leadership roles in camp and conference ministry. At the top of the list was work/life balance.

Why? Because it doesn’t take long for a young person in camping ministry to see that this work can become all-consuming. Particularly if they’ve worked through a summer or two at camp. Long days make for short nights, which leads to exhaustion and sliding toward burnout. The spiritual rewards and emotional return on investment of time is what keep most going – and coming back for more.

Nevertheless, in the backs of the minds of many I spoke with was the concern that they would not be able to maintain the lifestyle, to keep up with the pace of camp life and be satisfied with it – particularly if they had a deep desire for healthy personal relationships, including marriage and parenting.

Today I ran across an article that comes at this concern from the other side of the issue. It’s titled, “Don’t Fool Yourself – There is no Work/Life Balance.”  Well, that’s a new way of looking at it. So, forget about your personal life and get back to work, is that it? No, not really.

Check out Holly Hamann’s article. Originally published in Fast Company magazine, it was republished on LinkedIn:  Holly Hamann: Don’t Fool Yourself – There is No Work/Life Balance

I love the photo accompanying the article – the egg balanced precariously on the edge of a table. Sometimes life feels that way. I thought the author’s advice so good, I wanted to share it with you.

Which of her four ways to balance your life do you find most helpful? Which is hardest for you?

  1. Take 30 Minutes Each Morning before Checking Email or Phone
  2. Identify Your Personal Critical Path Priorities
  3. Find a Non-Work-Related Passion
  4. Build a Community of Support

Please share your comments here.

8 thoughts on “Work/Life Balance: What is it, really?

  1. Gregg,

    I feel so grateful that are lifting up this ever relevant aspect of Christian Spiritual leadership for those of us in camp and retreat ministry. it is vital to integrate a rhythm of Sabbath into our own lives, though it will not happen without great intention. The ebb and flow of producing and ceasing from producing allows us to deeply appreciate how beautiful life already is. Our drive to improve our ministries and to meet boundless expectations can seriously erode joy and thanksgiving for that which we do not create ourselves, including the gift of those closest to us in life.

    Most colleagues I know have a great heart for God and for service to others and the wider world. As part of this, we invite and encourage people to leave their routines in order to tap into what is most meaningful, but often find it difficult to implement ourselves. Several quotes come to mind that speak to me when I have allowed myself to become enslaved again to production and getting things done above all else. Perhaps they will be helpful to others.

    “Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy.” Abraham Heschel

    “Work without love is slavery.”
    Mother Teresa

    “Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.”
    Mother Teresa

    “Contrary to popular behavior, God does not need our exhaustion. There is nothing holy about running ourselves into the ground.” Kirk Byron Jones

    Thanks again Gregg for nudging us closer to One who said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

    With Gratitude:

  2. I like the four suggestions Holly makes. The demands and intensity of daily leadership can only be met by the resources I happen to have available to meet them. Increase resources available and I’ll be more prepared (and balanced) to meet the demands that are made of me or that I put on myself.

    Burnout: The resources available are chronically short to meet the demands made over an extended period of time.
    Balance: The resources available meet the demands made.
    Margin: The resources available are greater than the demands made.

    I particularly zeroed in on Holly’s #1 – I can internally set a new standard for myself – no technology for 30 minutes. This may allow more time to be with the Lord … my true “resource” for staying right side up no matter what those first emails or phone messages may contain.

  3. Remember that we’re fortunate to be serving our Lord so Enjoy!
    Building a support community is very important to both to share life with and to serve with you and your family. It doesn’t need to be separate. An integrated life is worth considering. Maybe life doesn’t breakdown. It’s just life in Christ Jesus! Praise God!!!

  4. Loved #1 – always a challenge to keep distractions and urgent “to-do lists” at bay…but it sets the tone for the rest of the day, and help with the other three – Priorities, rest, fun and friends are critical. Thanks for the good reminder!

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