I don’t want to repeat 2017 in my work life and I don’t want that stress to carry over into my home life. I don’t want my wife to ask me, “when will you have time for us?”Scott Elder
Yesterday I was asked “what is your word for the new year?” and my response was weak at best. However, that question engaged my brain in a way that I didn’t expect…
This past year was a learning experience. Learning how to establish boundaries between work and home. Learning how to juggle the roles of leader, husband, requirements-gatherer, father, expectation-setter, friend, developer and implementer. I learned to tune out everything and push through adversity — all the while feeling like I was never able to really “finish” anything and battling my own inner struggle with failure. The result: no accolades at the end of the project, just a strained relationship with my wife and family and higher blood pressure readings. My finding: working harder isn’t the solution.
I don’t want to repeat 2017 in my work life and I don’t want that stress to carry over into my home life. I don’t want my wife to ask me, “when will you have time for us?” Instead, I’m choosing a path that is encapsulated in a single word — eudaimonia (εὐδαιμονία [eu̯dai̯mo’níaː]) — taken from the Greek, it commonly translated to mean “happiness” or “welfare”, but I like the definition of “human flourishing” instead.
At its root, this word drives me to get good in my spirit, fill myself up with wisdom, to persevere when the going gets tough and pursue a character of excellence and virtue rivaled only by the Stoics, while also learning how to say “no” and taking care of myself so that I’ll be of benefit to others for the long-term and not just the “right now”.
Businesses come-and-go. Projects are temporary. Facebook friends are a virtual commodity. Wisdom, passion, excellence and virtue are long-term and our families are the true reason that we strive to be the best. Improving ourselves will not only improve the quality of life for everyone in our circle of influence, it will ripple out into other circles by way of connection. If we foster those connections — and I don’t mean through a social app — truly connect with people and reconnect with family and friends the possibilities for us will grow and out of that personal growth will come professional growth as well.
So, what’s your word for the new year? How will you choose to approach your work or home life? Oh, and go ahead and strike up a conversation with that passing stranger — they may need a little bit of your wisdom, passion, excellence or virtue today.