Living an Integrated Life

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 6.57.09 AMMost of us want to live a full life – a life that has aspects of career, outside interests and time for ourselves.  Our old career model, the one that’s come about in the last 15 – 20 years, is work-centric as if the only thing that matters is work or if you have obligations outside of work, like family or an illness, the only that matters is life.

But the bifurcated model that’s arisen – either you choose work for all of your life (if you want to move up) or you choose to make it secondary – acts as if life is a hierarchy of choices where sacrifice is required.

Instead, we want to frame a new career model, The Orange Line, where we can have a career path characterized by both a full and enjoyable career as well as a robust, integrated life.  Instead of a singular focus on work, the Orange Line individual turns early career traction into a launching pad for a robust, whole life with enriching and fun work, family, and life activities.

Why integration?  Integration means we don’t leave out parts just because we don’t know how to fit them in.  We don’t leave out life because our boss wants us to stay until 8 every night and we collapse exhausted in bed. We don’t leave out time for us because it’s a nice to have and it’s the easiest thing we can give up because we have complete control over it.  We don’t leave out career because it seems like everybody wants us to work more than full time.

Instead we consciously figure out how to integrate all aspects.  Consciously means we think about our goals across all three components.  Figure out means we experiment, try new things, push a little, give a little, and are flexible in what we deem “success.” In essence, we don’t seek perfection but instead, prioritize the areas in which we need and want to invest our energy.  For those areas that require a high level of quality to meet our objectives, we invest.  For those that just need to get done, we get done good enough.

The boundaries used to be clearly set for us.  The days of 9 – 5 are gone in many jobs.  Therefore, we have to learn to ‘figure out’ and set boundaries ourselves.  Integration is feasible – it just requires some investment to set up. But the beautiful result is that no longer are the rules telling us how we can live – now we get to decide.  We can get good at this. We just have to start.