Maureen Was Already Feeling the Pressure of Her Need to Stay Socially Connected 24/7, When Her Husband, Robert, Was Diagnosed With Cancer
Taking Care of Your WorkLife Wellbeing is part of a series of people’s WorkLife health stories. Stories of how the stresses of both work and life impacted their wellbeing. Stories of how people needed to take better care of both their physical and mental wellbeing. Stories of people needing to establish better WorkLife wellbeing practices both in and out of the workplace. Stories of people needing to take time out, or to make time to take better care of their own and their families wellbeing.
Taking Care of Your WorkLife Wellbeing: A Case Study
Maureen was already feeling the pressure of her need to stay connected 24/7 to the clothing company she had started a couple of years earlier, when her husband, Robert, was diagnosed with cancer.
As Robert had chosen to be a stay-at-home dad, managing his work as a writer around taking care of their two children, Maureen knew she would now have to shoulder this. She would somehow need to do this alongside running her business, as this would be their only source of income for the foreseeable future.
It was all too much, and one day, a few weeks into the situation she was trying so hard to manage, her mind and her ability to function simply shut down. She felt her WorkLife had spiralled out of control, and that she had lost control. She didn’t know if it was deep anxiety, or depression, or burnout, but whatever it was that had forced her to shutdown, also forced her to think about which aspects of her WorkLife she had control over, and which aspects she didn’t.
To be able to do what she needed to get herself, her husband and their children through this, she needed to get back in control, and to do this she needed to let go of something: both the practical side of doing something and any emotional attachments she had to that.
Maureen immediately knew she had to let go of her need to stay connected to her work 24/7.But the reality was, this was her family’s livelihood, which she somehow had to maintain for them to survive. Technology was integral to the success of her business, and through social media platforms it had allowed her to build relationships with her customers, which it had played a key part in her connecting her with. But it was her relationship with technology that was causing her immense pressure.
She asked herself: How can I have a better relationship with technology, to do what I need to do in my WorkLife now, while still maintaining my relationship with my customers?
Through self-feedback the answer that came to her was that she needed to do the following three things:
1. To let her customers know what she and her family were going through right now. She had always shared aspects of her family life, because it was part of her WorkLife, and she had always taken a holistic approach in bringing her work and life together.
2. To set up a work schedule that fitted in around everything she needed to do for her family: taking her husband to his hospital appointments, and taking care of his needs while at home; preparing family meals, doing the school run, helping with homework; spending quality time as a family.
3. Remove all work-related apps from her phone. During the hours she scheduled to work, she got out her laptop. This decreased the chances of a mobile notification pulling her into work.
These three actions gave Maureen back the control she needed to manage the situation. It also allowed her mind to open up again. In doing so she was reminded of the:
“By adopting alternative approaches to your business, you and your company will survive to innovate another day.” Seth Godin.
She picked up the book Purple Cow by Seth Godin, which took her back to the principle: Ideas That Spread, Win. Godin says: “A brand is nothing more than an idea. Ideas that spread are more likely to succeed than those that don’t. I call ideas that spread, ideaviruses.”
“Sneezers are the key spreading agents of an ideavirus. These are the experts who tell all their colleagues or friends or admirers about a new product or service on which they are a perceived authority. Sneezers are the ones who launch and maintain ideaviruses.”
This is the principle that was responsible for the growth of Maureen’s company. She had told her brand story through platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest with images of her clothing range accompanied by short blog posts, telling stories of the people who wore the clothes. The sneezers shared these stories and her business took off. In sharing her current story, she reached out to ask people to share their own images of wearing her clothes and the stories that went along with them. She then asked her band of sneezers to help spread these stories wide and far. People were really happy to help out, resulting in Maureen’s business not just surviving, but thriving.
Words of Wisdom
“Your product will only survive in a crowded marketplace if you stop advertising and start innovating.” Seth Godin
Robert thankfully beat his cancer, and is now back to being a stay at home dad and to his writing. Maureen continues to keep her phone free from all work-related apps, pulling out her laptop only during the hours she has scheduled to work. The family are all experiencing greater WorkLife health, and spending quality time together. Maureen has rolled this practice out with her team to ensure they also experience better WorkLife health, free from the pressures of being constantly connected to work.
Today’s featured book is: Purple Cow by Seth Godin
WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:
The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride.
My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.
I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.