“If I have 6 hours to cut down this tree, I’ll use the first 4 hours sharpening my axe”
The work/life balance is a difficult juggling act to really nail. Stewart Friedman argues that work/life balance is actually an ineffective way of framing the challenge: instead, he invites us to think about ‘four-way wins’: home and family, career, community and self. Pursuing a life that has a satisfying ‘win’ in each of these categories leads to a more integrated, holistic approach to success. Friedman bases his leadership coaching on the premise that authenticity, integrity and innovation are key to successful leadership harmony.
When we look at these three keys – authenticity, integrity and innovation – as character traits that permeate all of our life, then investing in our character becomes a four-way-win for our whole lives.
It’s a catch-word in business leadership circles at the moment, but what is authenticity? How can it make a difference?
Making a decision to develop authenticity comes down to asking yourself “Who am I and what is really important here?” and making choices that line up with that.
Act with Integrity
When we make choices that compromise us, or challenge our values, we end up fragmented, resentful and overwhelmed. Acting with integrity takes us out of that space, and allows us to find a supported, resilient network that resonates with our whole selves. Acting with integrity requires us to ask “does who I am, and who I say I am, and what I do, all line up consistently?”
Engage with Creativity
When we stifle our ability to innovate – to push into new territory or approach a problem from a new perspective, we foster pessimism and stagnation. Instead, by fostering innovation and creativity in our own lives and in the lives of our families, employees and colleagues, we breathe a sense of curious, engaged optimism into our sphere of influence. Engaging with creativity provides us with opportunities to explore difference and embrace diversity.
Steps to start
One of the most challenging steps to start the journey of four-way wins is to honestly allow yourself space to clarify what is important – not what you’ve been told is important, but what really is important to you.
- Where have you come from?
- What key events shaped your outlook on life and drive to succeed?
- What moments in your life challenged your endurance or re-shaped your priorities?
- Who are your heroes? Why are they so important?
Challenge yourself to think about the future:
- In fifteen years, where will you be, if you continue on this trajectory?
- Where would you be if you could dream big?
Challenge yourself to think about three or four key ‘character’ words that you identify as important to develop in order to move from where you are now to where you wish you could be. Words like ‘challenge’ or ‘harmony’, “justice” or “compassion” are actionable and definite – they are words you can act on.
Four-way wins provides us with a new way of thinking about success – not in terms of compromise, but in terms of value-adding and enrichment in all the areas of our lives. For more information about Four-way Wins, check out Steward Friedman’s book: Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Better Life
With synergy, we’re looking for the ways in which we can change the normal 1 + 1 equation and deliver something greater than 2.