I pointed out in my previous column the problems with bringing personal baggage to work. I described how even long-term top performers can stumble and fall when they’re unable to effectively manage personal issues in the workplace. I also elaborated on the domino effect these uncontrolled issues can have on other team members, workplace culture, customers and businesses.
Consider now the other side of the coin. When people bring their professional baggage home, it affects their personal lives. This situation can alienate children, damage and even destroy marriages and cause others to avoid these unhappy and often angry people altogether. Perhaps you know the child, spouse or friend of those unable — or who simply lack the tools — to manage their professional lives.
Enduring an excessive amount of professional pressure can lead to a whole host of self-sabotaging behaviors that affect personal lives. When people are unhappy at work, they tend to eat and sleep poorly, stop exercising and neglect their well-being. Alcohol, prescription medication and even illicit drug abuse can occur.
As these factors pile up and despair sets in, people could become visibly depressed and withdrawn. If they’re unable or unwilling to seek the assistance they need, the effects become an unavoidable consequence.
This doesn’t have to be the case, however.
Just like personal challenges, professional challenges belong solely to those experiencing them. They alone have the power to address the professional stressors they experience — or choose not to.
Let’s be clear. I’m not suggesting you avoid talking to your loved ones and friends about the troubling and frustrating situations you face at work. In fact, trusted, caring and honest family and friends can prove invaluable in addressing professional issues. What I am suggesting — urging even — is those who love you don’t deserve to bear the brunt of your frustrations and unhappiness on an ongoing basis.
If handled correctly, your home and personal life can offer a safe environment where you can take a welcome break from the stress, frustrations and hardships you experience at work. It’s a profound and life-changing choice to leave professional issues at work and enjoy time with family and friends as a healthy timeout during which you can relax, refresh and recharge.
Realizing life is not all about your work — work is only part of your life — will help you strike a balance leading to greater happiness and success both on and off the job. When you go home, truly go home by leaving work where it belongs — at work. This mindset will serve you and those around you well.
In some instances, a different career path or another change could be in order. As a coach and consultant, I’ve worked with many business owners and team members who weren’t fulfilled or happy. Their work didn’t align with their behaviors, competencies, motivations and purposes. These people felt trapped by fear of the unknown, finances and a host of other self-imposed limitations. With guidance, they overcame their limitations and have gone on to create professional lives they now enjoy.
Even with the help of family, friends and a qualified coach, there will be days that don’t go well and push you to the limits of managing your actions, emotions, thoughts and words. Maintaining balance in your professional and personal lives requires self-awareness, self-control and new-found tools to address your issues.
If you find yourself struggling to be happy at work, at home or both, take the empowering step of seeking out a qualified coach who can help you understand your situation and how to make necessary changes.
You might believe the professional and personal aspects of your life aren’t connected, but they are. In fact, they have profound effects on each other. You want those effects to be positive, not negative. When you’re happy and fulfilled at work, you’ll bring a version of yourself home that enhances your personal life.