Some people believe a barrier separates their personal and professional lives. An honest and discerning look at your experiences and those of others you’ve worked with reveals this isn’t the case. It’s quite common, in fact, for people to carry their personal baggage through the front door of a business, unpack and spread the contents throughout the workplace.
We travel between interconnected personal and professional worlds. When there’s balance, happiness, purpose, and success in life outside business, the version of themselves people bring to work is different than if this isn’t their reality.
Relationship issues, parenting challenges, and extended family matters are common occurrences. These are real issues that often weigh heavily on the hearts and minds of those affected. When not managed effectively, they can have negative and even lasting effects on attitude, performance, morale, and the business.
Compound this with such additional circumstances as financial troubles, health problems, lack of purpose and fulfillment, and the despair that often accompanies them, and you have a recipe for disaster through dysfunctional behaviors. Who you are at work directly affects team members, customers, and the bottom line in profound ways.
As a business coach and consultant, I’ve witnessed top performers lose direction and focus due to mounting personal issues and their inability to deal with them in a constructive way. Even after years of dedicated work, it can be a quick slide from the top when personal challenges overwhelm the ability to function at the high levels to which they and others have grown accustomed.
Business owners, managers, and anyone else in leadership roles exert the largest effects — positive and negative — on the work environment.
Team members look to these individuals for direction and stability. When leaders are lost in personal issues or unable to separate from them while on the job, they affect the entire team to some degree. A noticeable funk can overcome a department or even an entire business.
Personal challenges belong solely to the people experiencing them — not everyone at work. And certainly not to the customers patronizing the business.
An increase in errors and customer dissatisfaction — often due to a lack of focus and disengagement — coupled with declining revenues and negative effects on the work environment can only be tolerated for so long before a team member must be let go.
But this doesn’t have to be the case.
One successful strategy is to view work as a “timeout” — a getaway — from personal challenges. By focusing attention and energy on the work at hand, you give yourself a much-needed break from the painful reality of your personal circumstances as well as an opportunity to feel better as you excel professionally.
I’m in no way suggesting anyone should deny or avoid the challenging realities of their personal lives. Just the opposite. My approach suggests there’s an appropriate time and a place for dealing with the difficulties in life, but in all likelihood that place isn’t at work.
People often believe they should just pull themselves up by the bootstraps because seeking assistance with their life problems constitutes a sign of weakness. This is often a difficult, lonely, and unsuccessful route, however. If you find yourself challenged to take back your life on your own, there’s no shame in that.
Enlisting the help of a qualified coach to get yourself — and your life — in balance and on track constitutes a wise choice indeed. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with increased awareness, simple changes in perspective, goal setting, and accountability supplied through the unbiased support of a competent coach.
Unwanted, unexpected, and truly challenging situations are a part of life for everyone. They can be difficult and daunting, but don’t have to damage or even destroy a career or business. If your ability to function at a high level and be successful and happy is compromised by issues in your personal life, get the assistance you need to bring your best to work.