This week I read an interesting article on success. Success as a whole can be defined in many ways; ask 100 people for their definition and you’ll probably get 100 unique descriptions. But what studies are now finding is that as a whole, the way we approach success is completely different than it was 30 years ago.
If we go back a generation or two, workers (typically male) described success in terms of money and power. One of the reasons women (and increasingly men as well) get lost in that definition is our lives are so much more than the money we earn or the power we command while on the job.
We hold equally important things like our family, our health, our friendships and the way we give back to our communities. We recognize our passions deep inside, and look for ways to bring them to light in as many ways as possible.
Our jobs may be a part of who we are. But that doesn’t mean our full concentration and all of our thoughts and energy are centered around it. Instead, we look for ways to enjoy our careers AND everything else in our lives as well.
If a company recognizes this and gives you flexibility in the way you do your job, you probably are much happier with your career. If they hold you to a strict timetable, both in terms of when you come into work and the hours you work once you get there, probably not so much.
People today have a lot going on in their daily routines. They may have to take care of a parent still living in their own home with beginning signs of Alzheimer’s, as well as a family at home with several small children. They may be the coach for their daughters’ softball team, as well as chairperson for their industry’s local association. They may be on a running club on the weekends, and book clubs during the week. They know what’s important in their lives … and increasingly devoting 40, 50, 60 hours a week or more to a position that may or may not be there in a year isn’t cutting it.
Why should we devote that much time to something that we don’t know if it will benefit us when we need it the most? Why not spend our time and our energy on something that will be there because we develop it into something more along the way?
If you work for “the boss”, you’ll almost be required to work your 40 hours, plus any overtime dictated from the top whether you get paid for it or not. Vacations? Fewer people are taking them because of the fear of what will happen to their position while they are away. Health insurance? We’re paying more and more of it ourselves, with companies kicking in less all the time. Pensions? We see what’s happening to today’s retirees as the pensions they thought would be there slowly (or quickly in some cases) slip away.
Maybe you love your job. Maybe you love your position. Yet not realizing its limitlessness now is almost like living in a state of denial. If you depend on it now and in the future, for all of your needs through retirement and until the day you die, you’re more than likely in for a rude awakening. A very rude one indeed.
Lifestyle design doesn’t mean getting rid of your job today. It means designing your life in a way that benefits you the most. It means setting up your 24 hours in a day, 7 days in the week, any way you choose and see fit for you and your family.
That may mean working your 40 hour job indefinitely.
It may be finding a way to create a business out of your BIG IDEA now so that you can start earning money off of it in the coming months. Sort of a security policy in case your current job disappears in the months or years ahead.
It may be having more flexibility in your current position – maybe going part time so you have the time to fit in all of your family’s needs, from your mom diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, to your bookclub on Thursday nights. And a little time for turning your passion into a business as well.
Lifestyle design means spending time at the beach with your kids while they’re young; not regretting the time you didn’t spend with them once they are off at college.
Lifestyle design means enjoying a trip around the world now, rather than waiting for the “someday” that more than likely will never be if you put it off until your 60s, 70s or beyond.
What’s your lifestyle design definition? Anything you want it to be. And that’s the true beauty of it. And its also why its here to stay, whether you love the term or not.