The fallacy of compartmentalising work and the personal
It is interesting how successful professionals in the corporate world are often the people who are most unfulfilled or who want a change more than others - despite on the surface seemingly having a great career and life. It’s also interesting how rare it is that people who are disgruntled at work are generally happy in most other important areas of life - whether it is family life, friends, relationships, personal growth, health etc.
Interesting, but not surprising in the slightest. Often we behave differently at work compared to our personal life. We often try to create a tidy separation between the office and home. Often that fails miserably. Have you ever come home in the evening feeling tired, stressed or overwhelmed and found it difficult to wind down or put work aside in your mind? Or have you had personal challenges which have affected how much you’ve been able to do in the office, how well you’ve done it, or your mood during the day? This attempted compartmentalisation usually doesn’t work, however hard we try. Especially now that we're contactable so easily and often have our whole lives stored on a small device that is never more than a foot away from us (and mostly in our pockets).
Now, whether you’re in the office, at home, with friends or with a group of strangers at a networking event (hands up who loves small talk at networking events), we’re still governed by the same mind, emotions, thought processes, beliefs and values.
So it follows naturally that people who aren’t content in one part of life are more likely to be discontented in other areas. Clients often find that by improving one element of their life, they start to notice changes elsewhere. Again, not surprising when you consider that you have one mind and one brain, regardless of what you focus on to begin with.
When my clients start to see this, it is still usually is a revelation though. That’s when momentum towards a more fulfilling life can really start to become unstoppable. In a sense, that’s a good reason why the term “life” comes before “coach” in this job title. For me, its not just about helping someone get promoted, change jobs (although that has sometimes been a by-product of a shift in mindset that has arisen in clients), become more socially confident or find a partner. It is about facilitating shifts in mindset and psychology that help clients be more fulfilled and maximise their potential across their lives.