Tipping the Work-Life Balance in Your Favor
Newsweek|October 01, 2021
A paycheck shouldn’t be the only reward for hard work

COVID-19 LED TO A SUDDEN SHIFT IN HOW many of us did our jobs—our physical office space as well as when and how we completed our work. The traditional workday became more fluid, allowing for midday exercise breaks or family time, or simply wearing pajamas all day. With these changes, it became more natural to reevaluate our priorities and strive for the ever-elusive work-life balance. In this excerpt from her new book, THE LONG GAME: HOW TO BE A LONG-TERM THINKER IN A SHORT-TERM WORLD (Harvard Business School Press, September 21), top communications coach and branding expert Dorie Clark reveals creative ways to achieve your professional goals in tandem with your personal priorities. Clark’s book offers valuable insights into becoming a strategic thinker and accomplishing the end results that matter most to you.

Leveraging for Your Relationships

FOR MOST OF US, RELATIONSHIPS ARE EXTRAORDINARILY IMPORTANT. Yet we’ve all seen or heard stories about the high-powered executive who can’t seem to make time for his family, yet professes that they’re the reason behind everything he does. What would it look like if work and family weren’t a zero-sum game, but instead represented a series of deliberate strategic choices?

Phillip Van Nostrand is a high-end photographer in New York City, earning thousands to shoot weddings or events. But for years, he accepted a $500-a-day assignment to cover a “random JavaScript tech conference in San Francisco.” Why? He’s originally from Santa Barbara, and the conference paid for his cross-country flight. “I could spend a week with my family, and it felt like a free trip home for a half-day’s work,” he says.

I’ve done the same, accepting lower rates to speak at conferences in North Carolina—which I would have turned down elsewhere—because they gave me an opportunity to visit my mother, now in her 80s. I also looked for opportunities to bring her along on adventures, carting her to a teaching gig in Kazakhstan (she was a hit with the students, who took us out sightseeing in subzero temperatures), and to lecture tours of Vietnam, Singapore and France, among others.

When we’re clear about our true priorities, it’s a lot easier to optimize accordingly.

Leveraging for the Life You Want

ANOTHER POWERFUL WAY TO FRAME your choices is to understand your ideal lifestyle.

Where, and how, do you want to live? And what would it look like for you to stand up for that vision?

That’s what Annmarie Neal asked herself. As a successful executive, life would have been a lot easier if she’d been willing to move to a corporate hub—New York or San Francisco, or maybe Dallas or Chicago. But for more than 25 years, she’s instead lived in a small Colorado town, nearly 90 minutes away from Denver. “I fell in love with the ‘work hard, play hard’ values and lifestyle of the state,” she says.

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