Giving 100%

December 16th, 2015

About a week ago, I was talking to a good friend about my career. During that conversation, he asked me what was next for me. I paused for a minute, and then I answered that I thought I might spend some time focusing on life outside my career for a little bit.

Ever since I made that comment, I’ve been reflecting on what that actually means. What does it really look like to focus on life outside of work?

It occurred to me that we often talk about what we’re asking of ourselves at work – “I have high expectations of my employees, but I have even higher expectations of myself.” Or we talk about how much we give at work – “I always give 100% at work.” In fact, that’s often an expectation – or at least the “correct” answer to the interview question. (Note: I have been guilty of saying both of these things).

When it comes to life outside of work, we have very little to say about how much we give or what we expect of ourselves. Have you ever heard someone say, “I give 100% to my personal life” or talk about their high expectations of themselves personally? I know that I certainly don’t talk about my life outside of work in that way. Which is why when I started thinking about how to focus on my life outside of work, I was stumped at first – I mean, I can say I’m going to focus on it, but what does that look like? (And sure, like any good assessment professional, I also wondered how I’d measure it – I’m a bit of a geek that way).

Obviously, this answer is going to be different for everyone, but for me, I think focusing on my life outside of work means I start expecting more of myself there, I start giving 100%. When I feel like doing nothing, okay, sometimes I do nothing – but maybe more often I get up and do something around the house, play a game with my kid, or go work out. Most importantly, it means that when I go to bed at night, I don’t regret not doing something.

And no – this doesn’t mean I start treating my life like work. That would be problematic in a number of ways. But it does mean that I approach it with the same gusto and ambition that I have previously reserved for work. It means maybe I do more goal-setting instead of just going with the flow and seeing what happens (bonus for the assessment geek in me!). And hopefully it means I become a better me.

What would focusing on life outside of work look like for you?