It has been said, “You are what you eat.” But in the American culture, you are what you do. In other words, that is to say what you do for a living.
Consider the opening dialogue during the introduction between two people just meeting. After the exchange of names and pleasantries, usually the next question will be; “What do you do for a living?”

In the American culture, we are obsessed with status and material possessions. Even though work is a means to an end, it is easy to misplace our values and become overly focused on work and wealth in a desperate pursuit of the “American dream.”

While blindly sacrificing meaningful relationships, many people have worked diligently to achieve their dreams only to awaken surprisingly to the nightmare of a reality of loneliness and despair.

What is the American dream, which people work so hard for, really about? Is it marriage, children, homes, cars, boats, vacations? No. Sometimes people think they want money, or a husband, or children; but the American dream is really a euphemism for happiness.

What people really want is happiness.

Happiness is derived from self-fulfillment expressed through the service of others. Therefore, work must be balance with time spent relating to others and serving their needs.

Here are five strategies for how to balance work and home:

  1. Make serving others the number one priority.
  2. If your home life is a deterrent, improve it. Make the necessary changes for the better.
  3. Be honest. Do not use work as an alternative to having an open and honest conversation with your significant other.
  4. Get out of your comfort zone and develop new interest.
  5. Do not bring work home. There is a time and season for all things.

A person’s home life is the roots to their existence. Work is a means to an end that should water the roots not replace them.

Michael McFadden is a leadership & performance expert, speaker, and author.

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