Do you have work-life harmony?
People often talk about work-life balance -- having that balance between their work and personal life. However, looking at the context of the word, Steve Beauchamp would rather refer to it as work-life harmony; for him, it is about having activities that fit together.
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Work-life harmony is trying to work while you can still fully live your life.
Nick: We often hear the phrase work-life balance, but you write and titled your book, work-life harmony, is there a difference?
Steve: For me there is. I think the interesting thing about words, I think all words are important. And the words that you use are very important. I think the context of words is really important, which is what I really love about the Japanese language in and of itself as a side note.
But the thing for me, work-life balance gives me kind of a mental picture of a scale, and you have like two sides. You have your work, and then you have your personal life on the other side. And you're constantly trying to find that balancing point of the two sides of the scale, right.
And when you take something off one side, and the other side gets lopsided. It's a never ending game of trying to balance the two. So I prefer the term work-life harmony, which, for me, I get a picture of like, I think the best way to describe it is like music.
So I'm a musician. I've played musical instruments most of my life, as you have. And so when I think about a chord in music, it can show up in a lot of different ways.
You have major chords, minor chords, you have diminished chords, you have augmented chord, you have all these different types of ways that music shows up, some of them sound really pleasant to the ears, some of them not so pleasant to the ears, but they invoke an emotion that comes with the sound.
And so when I think of work-life harmony, there's going to be times where I have these like perfectly resonating chords that just sound so pleasing to the ear, right? It's like, everything is just like sunshine and lollipops, everybody's happy.
So you have like, that kind of feeling that can be evoked from that blending of the two. And then you also have moments where it may not be super perfect, there may be some times where the harmony isn't as perfect as you want it to be, necessarily.
But for me, that's kind of where I see the difference. And when I think about work-life harmony, it's all about trying to work in such a way that I can truly live. Right? I don't live to work, right? When I'm not working, I'm not working, like I don't check my email, I don't respond to email, I don't do any work that's related to that at all.
Like, I compartmentalize that really well. And that's probably because I got burnt out along the way. And I write about that in the book, too. But I think for me, that's where the big difference lies in my mind is, it's finding those activities that can fit together in such a way that creates that resonance that really connects to your authenticity.
This is kind of where it connects to ikigai for me because it's about -- first you need to know who you are, though, in order to understand what that resonance is.
And so you first go down that road of discovery of well, "Who am I really at my core, and what are my core values, and how do they show up for me?" And and then you use that to really figure out what is this work-life harmony mean to me?
And how can I choose to do activities that create more of that harmony in my life rather than choosing to do activities that pull away from that harmony?