I remember several years ago listening to a talk about successful leaders. He talked about how people in these positions have 3 worlds they live in which provide them with balance.
The first is your family world. This obviously looks very different for everyone, but the key things to bear in mind is the security a family environment provides for an individual. And this is true no matter how you define family. Be it married with kids, civil partnership, foster family, adopted, extended family, or however else you choose to categorise family. A secure family environment means that when you come to work you are able to focus in the main on the work at hand because you know that the family is being cared for and are secure. Difficulties at home mean less focus at work as your energy is already zapped by trying to resolve those.
The second is your world of work. This is obviously where you choose to create an income. There are many pundits who will argue that if you aren’t working in a career you are passionate about you are in the wrong job and you need to move. Now I agree with this to some extent. It’s important to reflect on the practicalities of doing something like this. My guesstimate would argue 20% of the working population are in a position where they can choose to leave a job and move on to better prospects. 50% of the population are working because they have to in order to live. The other 30% are in positions where they’re doing a good job and ambling along well enough, but don’t either have the desire or know how to move on.
As we’re talking about successful people we’ll stay on track with this. Essentially your world of work should be conducive to what you want to achieve. It’s not just about the work you do though. The company’s culture, values, size, structure, your place within it, all play a part in how successful you can be. This means you have to support and be an advocate for your work as well as being recognised for the work you do by the company.
So far so common sense, right? Right. Then, it’s the third place which is of particular interest. Your third place should be where you can be yourself. Cynicism aside of what this may mean for the undesirables of society, this is a truly fascinating thing to explore.
Your third world is where you are able to be yourself without the distraction, interruption and/or restrictions of both family and work. In your third world, you are able to express yourself and enjoy being you. For some this may be stamp collecting, for others being a fan of graphic comics and for others playing golf. The important thing is it doesn’t matter what this third world is, as long as you can be yourself. I’d describe this as geeking out. We all have something that sparks an interest which is ours. That is, you enjoy it, you cherish it, and you enjoy devoting your time to it.
For me this is a mix of multimedia technology and films. This covers a broad range of things from my mobile phone, my home cinema set up, the films I watch, the films I collect, and being immersed in all of these. I enjoy devoting my time to this and it’s something I have in common with my friends that we can get all geeky about. It’s fun, it’s enjoyable, and it’s mine.
The important thing to bear in mind is this does not undermine the other two worlds. Your third world should be a place where you know you can ‘live’ when your family world and world of work are catered for in a balanced effective way. I think the wonderful thing about thinking about success in this way is that it raises a lot of important questions that need to be answered individually, but it provides a great place from which you can aspire to.
Finding that balance is a tough set of decisions you have to balance. And there may well be a need to re-evaluate these as life happens and intervenes in the many ways it can. Through it all though, a perspective such as this allows us to focus on particular aspects of our lives and look at what that means for the other worlds.