In my last column, Bring Your Best (Not Your Baggage) to Work, I discussed the problems associated with bringing personal baggage to work and how even top performers can fall when they’re unable to manage their personal issues in the workplace. I elaborated on the domino effect these issues can have on other team members, customers and the business
In this column, let’s consider the other side of the coin.
When people bring professional baggage home, their personal lives are affected. The ripple effect can extend far and wide — to the point of alienating children and destroying marriages. Perhaps you know a spouse, child or friend of someone who’s unable — or simply lacks the tools — to manage their professional life effectively.
Enduring an excessive amount of professional pressure can lead to a host of self-sabotaging behaviors, including alcohol and prescription medication abuse and even illicit drug use. When people are unhappy at work, they’re more likely to eat and sleep poorly, stop exercising and neglect their well-being. As these factors combine, they could become depressed and withdrawn. If they’re unable or unwilling to get the assistance they need, the negative effects could become unavoidable.
This doesn’t have to be the case, however!
Just as with personal challenges, professional challenges belong solely to the person experiencing them. They have the power to choose, or not, to effectively address the stressors they face.
Let me be clear. I’m not suggesting you avoid talking to your loved ones and friends about the troubling and frustrating situations you face at work. In fact, trusted, caring and honest family and friends can prove invaluable in choosing to address professional issues. What I am suggesting — even urging — is those who love you don’t deserve to bear the brunt of your frustration and unhappiness on an ongoing basis.
If handled correctly, your home and personal life can offer a safe environment where you can take a welcome break from the stress, frustration and hardships you feel at work. It’s a profound and life-changing choice to leave your professional issues at the office and use your time with family and friends as a healthy timeout during which you can relax, refresh and recharge.
Realizing life is not all about your work — that work is only one part of your life — will help you strike a balance between work and life that leads to greater happiness and success, both on and off the job.
When you go home, truly go home.
Leave work where it belongs, at work. This mindset will serve you and those around you well.
In some cases, a different career path or another change could be order. As a coach and consultant, I’ve worked with many business owners and team members who weren’t fulfilled and happy. Their work didn’t align with their behaviors, competencies, motivations, and purposes. These people felt trapped by finances, the fear of the unknown, and a host of other self-imposed limitations. With guidance, however, they overcame their limitations and went on to develop professional lives they now enjoy!
Even with the help of family, friends and a qualified coach, there will be days that don’t go well and push you to the limits of managing your actions, emotions, thoughts, and words. Maintaining balance in your professional and personal lives comes down to self-awareness, self-control, and newfound tools to rise above your issues.
If you find yourself struggling to be happy at work, at home or both, take the empowering step of seeking out a qualified coach who can help you understand your situation and make necessary changes. You might think the personal and professional aspects of your life aren’t connected, but they are. In fact, they exert profound effects on each other — effects you want to be positive, not negative.
When you’re happy and fulfilled at work, you’ll bring home a version of yourself that enjoys and enhances your personal life.