Work Life Separation


We get a quick note on the weekend.

“Sorry to bug you about work on a weekend, but I need…”

Or a text late at night.

“Hey, sorry, I know it is late, but can you send along…”

And there was an email early in the morning.

“Sorry, this is last-minute, but can you give us a call right away…”

These requests were simple. They took just a few moments of our time.

We enjoyed being able to respond. It didn’t even feel like work.

There was a time when we thought we needed work life separation.

There was a time when we thought this divide was important.

There was a time when work felt like work.

Over the past few years the work life separation wall has slowly been dismantled.

Brick by brick, the need to be distinct and have boundaries has faded away.

The work life separation wall has become a smeary, messy, blended tapestry.


When our work, and life is about helping others, both happen at interesting hours, times, and moments.

It doesn’t feel like work. It isn’t distinct from our life. It just is.

We live and work at weird hours when there is a need. There are no office hours.

We aren’t counting the days until we retire. We just live.

We live and work in various locations, and at various times.

We meet the needs around us throughout our entire journey.

There is no longer a need for the work life separation.

The absence of that artificial barrier sets us free.


Recovery Days

Life can be hectic. Work can be demanding. Our schedules fill up with commitments. This endless sea of activity will take its toll.

Our bodies wear down. We become sick.

Our creativity decreases. We go through the motions like empty shells.

Our relationships suffer. We react instead of respond to others.

What is the solution? Since no progress has been made on the Super Secret Bonus Day, the solution requires some discipline.

During a much-needed get away with some amazing friends, we discussed possible solutions. The consensus was clear: Recovery Days.

Recovery Days are days that each of us has to put on our calendars periodically that allow us to gain back energy (rest), creativity, and connection. These Recovery Days become more important during seasons of our lives that require more creativity, more commitment, or more hours.

Striking this balance can seem impossible. Don’t wait too long, or until your calendar is already packed. Once your calendar is full, it is too late. As your calendar begins to fill and commitments are piling up, find the space for a Recovery Day and lock the day. Honor the commitment to yourself in the same way you would for a client or customer.

I just scheduled my first Recovery Day for June, right after a busy two weeks. Go ahead and schedule your Recovery Day today. Imagine what your work, creativity, and relationships may look like when you have recovered. You may find yourself ready to take on that next challenge, and who knows, it may just Change the World.

Learning to Say NO!

(Image Courtesy of Sharon Young: Thanks Sharon!)

Learning to say “No” is not always easy.  People ask us to agree to things all the time.

“Will you help out on this committee?”

“Can we get together soon?”

“Will you watch my kids, paint my house, be my friend, volunteer your time, follow me and my cause, buy crap from my kids (well you get the idea).”

I am beginning to hear what I call the “soft yes” in response to these multiple requests. The “soft yes” isn’t really a yes, it is a “no” veiled in terms that are our attempt to politely decline, but we don’t feel comfortable saying it.  I find myself doing this at times and recently this is what I am hearing:

“I guess I can.”

“If I have to.”



How many times have you agreed to something where your heart really wasn’t into it, and you would have preferred to say “no”?  In striking a balance between your life, your work, your family, and just being you, there will be things you need to say no to.  You cannot be all things to all people, and the over-committed life is not a pleasant one (for you or for those around you).

Where do we start?  In his book, Magnificent Mind at Any Age, Dr. Daniel Amen states that the inability to say no (or impulsively say yes) creates an overwhelmed state where you become immersed with other people’s priorities that distract you from your own goals. He offers us a way to reply and encourages us to learn the following phrase when someone asks us to do something:

“I need to think about it.  If I want to do it, I will get back to you.”

Wow.  Simple yet effective.  That one phrase may help bring needed balance to your life. Be prepared, if you have been on “automatic yes” or “soft no” and still agreeing in the end, this may feel strange to those around you.  It is funny, just recently I realized how much I have been giving a “soft no” to someone who has been trying to get together with me, but the truth is I should have just said no instead of stringing them along and rescheduling the meeting.

Try it out, let me know how it works.  This may bring some needed balance to your life, and let you find yourself, not just serve others.  Use it well, and let me know how it goes.  I have a hard phone call to make, but it would have been easier if I had used this phrase in the beginning.

“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes.  It is very easy to say yes.”  Tony Blair