Q2 · 2022Be determined to enjoy “more life”

As many of you know, I am extremely passionate about sustainable high performance in the corporate and athletic worlds, about great teamwork, and about creating healthy and productive cultures so that people can become truly extraordinary.

And there is another thing I am equally passionate about: creating and maintaining healthy relationships and exciting family lives, while succeeding in professional roles that carry massive responsibility.

In my experience, it’s very easy for business leaders to pay (too) little attention to their private lives, which is understandable because they tend to be incredibly dedicated to, and preoccupied by, their work. Professionally, there is always “unfinished business” that can keep their minds occupied. Even when with family and friends, there is the potential to be mentally absent because of the distraction of work-related issues.

In this part of the world, summer has arrived and many of you will take some time off for holidays. This is a great opportunity to continue to build and maintain great relationships with your family and friends. It is these close personal bonds that are part of the strong foundation you need for success and fulfillment, not only in your career but in your whole life.

Summer is a great time for me to introduce you to some impactful techniques that can help. You can, however, consider these actions day-in day-out, all year round, not just in the holiday season. My aim is for you to not only be highly successful in delivering amazing performance at work, but to do it in an enjoyable, playful and sustainable way that is entirely compatible with a happy and fulfilling life at home.

This approach forms an integral part of my work with senior executives and business leaders, and some of them recently have been willing to share their experiences in interviews, so that others can benefit from their experiences. So, let’s look at some key techniques through their eyes:

Transition from work to home

“I am somebody who gives everything at work, so I would go home and just slump in the evening. I wouldn’t have much energy left for my family or to connect with friends.

Christian taught me how to transition into the ‘home zone’, so I don’t just turn up. After a super busy day, my head is usually very full. I take a little time to think about how I want to show up in my private life – How can I enrich the lives of my loved ones today? How can I create positive emotions? I use a ritual to transition from businesswoman to wife, mother and friend.

The ritual is: I consciously close down my computer and pause for a moment of reflection. I close my eyes and start with a short meditation, where I do some minutes of conscious breathing, and I visualize myself joyfully interacting with family members. Only after this, when I am peacefully connected with my ‘best side’, do I approach my family and connect with my friends outside work.”

Hold family meetings

“Christian was able to show me that I could include the kids more in my thinking. He helped me to see the need to understand their expectations of me, and to express my expectations of them. Now, every week, before we start our Sunday night dinner, we hold family meetings. Here is how we do it:

Each of us will go through our schedules for the upcoming week. We all share our challenges. As both of us parents – my wife and myself – have big jobs, we discuss when our most important things are happening, and how we feel about them. The same with the kids – they share when they have tests at school and any other things that they want to go well. We then talk about how we can help and what we can all do to support each other best. These family meetings have been amazing for us: they’ve brought us closer together and created more understanding of each other’s challenges on an ongoing basis. It’s definitely removed frictions. We all feel that we’re ‘in this together’, that many things are within our control, and that we have each other’s backs. It’s also helped us to avoid getting stressed about things that might not be perfect, but which aren’t all that important. It’s truly helped us to be happier as a family.”

Grow within your family

“When working with Christian, I learned that part of bringing peace to yourself, your family and your home is to accept what we are and what we are not. Create a healthy climate in your home full of feedback, input and discovery. Admit your mistakes and weaknesses as a spouse, parent and friend. Allow your kids to let you know what they would wish to see more of. Be a role model in terms of both giving and receiving feedback.

To achieve this, Christian recommended that every 3-4 months we should give meaningful feedback to each other. So, everyone in our family now prepares a few questions in advance for each of the others. For example:

  • What do you like the most in me as your spouse, as your mother/father? What do you think are my best sides?
  • When spending time together do you feel that I am fully there, engaged and present most of the time?
  • If you had a wish for me, that would make me a better spouse/mother/father, or us a better family, what would it be?

This ritual has impacted us very positively. It has brought us much closer together, keeps us honest, and allows us to grow over time. I realized how a climate of open feedback creates peace in the long-term for us all.”

Enjoy “more life”

These are just snapshots of how it’s possible to get more from life at home as well as at work. One of my books, “More Life, Please!”, can provide you with lots more practical advice on this. But the key thing to remember is that, ultimately, it’s up to you to take responsibility for enriching your life and the lives of the people around you, not only at work, but also in the private space.

So, this summer, why not make a conscious commitment to bring to your home life the same professional dedication to excellence that you bring to your work? Take positive actions to nurture healthy relationships with your family and friends.

Wishing you many exciting and memorable moments!