The funny thing about developing a community is that it throws a wrench in the whole “work life balance” conversation. My job is literally to facilitate the development and growth of a community, at Inspire Academy specifically, a community that grows and learns together. Guess what happens when you foster the conditions that result in a living, breathing, dreaming community? Friendships are developed. Real, deep friendships, focused on a common mission and everyone realizing their full potential.
Do I work with some of my closest friends? Absolutely. Were they my closest friends before the work or would we find ourselves in the same place without the work? Probably not. One of our staff norms at Inspire Academy is to unite around a shared vision and serve a common purpose. This is what a meaningful life is made of. So, yes, many of my closest friends are work friends…friends I met through the work of community development and education. They’re also life friends because we’ve structured our lives around the work and around community. People are drawn toward community, and I am no exception. My community brings me joy, friendship, and meaning.
So how do we turn off the work in a situation like this? Some would say we never do, but that is not entirely accurate. We make sure that we turn off the parts that drain us, the parts that are taxing, the parts that we just need to get done. We turn those parts off but continue in the relationships and the joy-giving parts of the community.
We’re all in this together, friends. Let’s make sure work/life balance is related to setting aside tasks, not people.