In everything that we do, we are expressing our values not only to ourselves but those around us. In that expression, others will learn to anticipate where they fall on your hierarchy of values. If your choices communicate to them that they will always be #1 no matter what, they will come to expect that treatment every time. Why wouldn’t they?
When you get that phone call late at night, you are choosing to value it more than your time at home with your family. You are choosing to place greater value on not being yelled at than getting a full night sleep.
You are always making choices where to spend your energy.
Your job is not robbing you of the balance you seek. You are opening the doors and burning down all your guard towers. Why then are we so surprised when they keep doing it? You set the precedent by communicating where these types of interactions fall on your list of priorities: right at the top, above all else.
The only person you need to be mad at for constantly pushing your boundaries is you. Other people will not naturally violate our boundaries — they are taught what is acceptable. WE teach them what is acceptable by our actions. When they continually do so, it is only because they have become the monsters WE CREATED.
We’ve all seen those attorneys who just don’t give a F about not responding immediately to calls and emails. Everyone knows it, everyone gossips and gripes about it, and everyone is secretly jealous that they don’t have the guts to do the same. Not only do those attorneys still have a job but they also have all the balance we’ve been craving. People learned not to call them after 6 and deduced that they won’t respond to late night emails unless it’s truly an emergency.
They made a choice about what they valued more — not being gossiped about or having work life balance. For them, having more balance is worth so much more than being gossiped about for not be “responsive” all the time.
They made conscious decisions about their values and where the demands of the job fell with respect to those values. They clearly communicated their values and they stuck to their guns.
It can be as simple as that.
You do not have to respond to every email just because you saw it and just because someone else decided it was an emergency. Develop the art of cultivating your mail and only responding after hours to true emergencies (here’s a hint: they never are, we’re not ER doctors) or when you REALLY want to.
Humans are creatures of habit. If we allow others to call on us at all hours of the night, they will continue to do so if it yields the result they want. And they will stop if it doesn’t get the result they want.
You are not a victim to others.
You are only a victim to your own choices and luckily for all of us, we can start making better choices. Choices more in tune with our values.
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