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Collision Course

How Do We Bring Meaning and Balance Back to Work When Our Personal and Professional Lives Have Collided?
Two Cranes Colliding

Collision Course

In the Last Few Weeks, Our Ability to Maintain Meaning and Work Life Balance Has Been Put to the Test.


  • Boundaries Blurred.
  • Our Sense of Control Threatened.
  • Our Sense of Mattering, Mastery, and Meaning Obscured.

We got caught between the perception of what is required to succeed, the pressure of success culture, and the reality of the fatigue, frustration, growing cynicism, and reduced productivity that came with adapting and adjusting to working from home surrounded by new distractions.

Not only did our work lives change, our homes lives changed as well.

New Challenges

  • Identifying Clear Boundaries
  • Making Time to Relax and Rejuvenate
  • Staying Productive
  • Maintaining Motivation
  • Finding Meaning in the Chaos

Any one of these challenges can disrupt our ability to find balance and meaning as our work and family roles collide.

Adjust and Adapt to Bring Meaning Back and to Find a New Balance

Tackle life by uncovering your lens and by shyfting your mindset.

Deciding to define situations differently is an essential step to change. The things we tell ourselves impact our physical and mental well-being. They impact our sense of mattering, mastery and meaning.

Psychologists Amy Wrzesniewski and Jane E. Dutton first coined the phrase “job crafting” in research they completed in 2001. They found that individuals that took an active role in altering their work, to create more meaning in the tasks they completed, felt more satisfied and engaged in their work environments. Job crafting occurs when we expand or contract our work roles to align with our needs and values.

One of the most poignant stories Wrzesniewski and Dutton shared was about housekeeping staff at two different hospitals. Both groups had similar job descriptions and responsibilities, but their levels of satisfaction and their sense of mattering, mastery, and meaning were radically different. One group felt alienated. The other group found meaning and purpose in their work.

The alienated group worked for a paycheck.

The other group, however, had a radically different perspective of their work roles. They believed that their jobs mattered. They knew that they made a difference in the lives of the patients, in the lives of the families, and in the lives of the other staff at their hospital. They took it upon themselves to expand their roles – moving furniture and art in and out of rooms to create fresh environments for patients. They cleaned the same room multiple times if they noticed that a patient seemed lonely. They noticed if a patient was upset and tried to strike up a conversation. They even helped some patients get water or move. This group of housekeeping staff had high levels of satisfaction and engagement. They crafted a different story. They internalized a different sense of meaning; they recognized that what they did mattered. They cognitively shyfted how they thought about the work that they did daily. They knew they were essential (long before this term was commonly used in the era of COVID19).

Job Craft More Meaning into Your Daily Routine

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash Fuel Your Story
  • Redefine Your Goals and Deadlines to match the new realities of our current situation. Show your emotional intelligence – show empathy and understanding – focus on what really matters.
  • Redesign Your Day to allow time to enjoy life. Take breaks and give yourself permission to regroup and rejuvenate.
  • Celebrate the Wins even if they seem small.
  • Give Yourself Permission to Stop working. Now that work and home-life are blended, set harder boundaries for start and stop times. This is essential to stave off the impingement of burnout (feelings of exhaustion, negativism, and reduced productivity) and to let your family know that they still matter. This means put down your phone (or computer).

Adjust Your Mindset

Modify Your Behavior

Craft Your Work to Find Balance

  • Prioritize What Must Get Done and let go of some of the rest (for now). This new reality is temporary. Do not let your old mindset and definition of what it takes to succeed bury you now. Adapt and adjust. We can all see a shyft in how people are thinking about work and what role it plays in their lives. Embrace it.
  • Craft a Different Story. Cognitively shyft your thinking. Embrace the positives of your current situation and modify how you think about the challenges. Looking backwards will not move your forward. You must dump the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset and embracing shyfting social dynamics.
  • Create a Life of Meaning and Purpose.

The time to SHYFT is now!

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