Work/Life Balance for Men: Starting a New Discussion
How many of us ever thought we would see a blog start with this heading? In my own research on this topic I found many resources for women seeking support on balance issues. Web searches reveal an abundance of sites dedicated to supporting women on balance, while support sites for men are hard to find. I do not believe this is because the need is not there. Maybe us men are a little slower at admitting we face this challenge also, and maybe we are a little slower at asking for support. We like being independent, and we surely don't need help. Right?
Why my interest in shifting a majority of my practice over to supporting balance issues with men? As a coach I've always known that what the client ends up speaking about is what is important to them. Call me slow to catch on, but as I was going back over notes from many past sessions with successful male business clients, the consistency hit me. I began to realize that regardless of the issues we began our sessions with, a vast majority of them somehow worked around to the topic of home, family, and work/life balance opportunities. It may be a desire to reconnect and/or improve a relationship with a spouse, spend more time at the children's activities, impact of a life event (promotion, new job, upcoming relocation, preparation for retirement, etc.), or the increasing demands at home. Whatever the challenge, once they found a comfortable and safe place to express themselves, they did. I was honored to be there to support them from gaining clarity of the challenge to creating action steps to address it.
Times and social norms are changing, and we are finding both men and women are challenged by balancing the demands of today. Recent studies report similar levels among men and women with conflict on life balance issues. What surprises me is how slow our society is to address support for men going through these challenges. From one extreme to another, we may be newly married and just starting our careers, or we may be beginning to consider what it would be like to slow down a little on work hours and demands. Regardless of our position, it is time to give some thought to how we might consciously create the balance we desire and live the life we deserve.
As a husband, father, former corporate executive, and now as a business owner, I have lived this. I understand the challenges, and I'm ready to discuss them in an open and honest format. I welcome any comments and ideas you would like to contribute. Are there specific issues or challenges you would like to address? The more discussion we can generate, the more productive this will be. Don't be shy, I would very much like to hear from you.