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Venn Diagrams: Answering the Foundational Question of How “Work” & “Life” Are Related

  Steve Longan     Nov 18, 2015

venn diagram how work and life are related.jpg

In today’s Wireboard article, I’d like to utilize one of my favorite teaching devices: the Venn diagram. Venn diagrams are a great way for simply illustrating various concepts and their relationships to one another. So, whenever I have an opportunity to explain something by using a Venn diagram, I’ll take it!


But I’m not drawing diagrams for diagrams’ sake (although they are fun to look at regardless of what you’re talking about). Rather, I want to use diagrams to answer a common question we get from people new to hearing about Rewire and, in so doing, illustrate a foundational truth for understanding how growth happens in our work.

 

First, the question.

 

“Are Rewire concepts more for business growth or personal life?”

This is a question we get fairly regularly, whether it comes from a workshop participant during a break or a OneWire client early on in their sessions with us. Now, because I work with Rewire, I answer their question with another question. I know, I know! A lot of people don’t like that.  But it is our answer to this question that will shape both work and life for us and drive our pursuit of growth:

 

“How are your work and life related to one another?”

 

This is the foundational question. I'll present various answers to this question in the form of Venn diagrams.  Research from the Journal of Organizational Behavior shows that “Baby Boomers” and 20th Century/Modernist viewpoints on their relationship would look something like this:

 

L (1)

A more “Gen X” or 21st Century view of the relationship between work and personal life might look more like this:

L

Now, if you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner, or employee at a tech startup — your Venn diagram might look something like:

 

L-4.png

The point here is not to give one definitive Venn diagram to try to represent the relationship between work and personal life (I'm not even sure that that diagram exists). 

 

The foundational thing that we have got to understand is they are inextricably connected!

What we do in our work impacts our broader lives. What we do outside working hours will impact how we grow (or don’t) our business. It looks something like this:

L (2)

In closing, let's look at a few applications of this dynamic relationship between work and life:

  • Last week, Jason wrote about habits that shape our mindset for growth.  One of his recommendations was a practice of simply writing down what’s presently occupying your mind as a way to free up mental bandwidth for whatever other tasks are currently in front of you (whether that’s getting your work day started, or going to sleep, or working on a project, etc.).
  • The week before that, Steve wrote about “hitting your goals by practicing stillness.” In it, he shared about how practicing mindfulness and stillness before embarking on new goals or tasks can neurologically rewire our brains and make us better prepared to succeed in whatever the new undertaking is.
  • I shared an article a couple months ago about how an individual’s communication patterns are picked up and reflected by those around us — and how this dynamic in turn shapes group behavior.

So, to return to our initial question: “Are these Rewire concepts and practices more for business/work or personal life?” And I hope we could all answer that question with a resounding “YES!” Maintaining a habit of writing down thoughts so that you can free up mental bandwidth is help at work and at home. Being mindful of communication patterns and their effect on others can improve your group outcomes whether that group happens to be your team at work or your family around the Thanksgiving table.

 

Our businesses and lives are not one and the same thing — but they are always connected (for better or worse). So let’s invest our time and energy on the paradigms, practices and tools that can be used to foster growth in both areas.

 

busy person's guide to work-life balance

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Steve Longan

Written by Steve Longan

Steve Longan is Rewire's Director of Research & Program Development. He's passionate about leveraging psychology and communication to develop growing, healthy workplaces. He's at "peak zen" (his words) when he's in his music studio.

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