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PEP Buoys

How channeling PEP (personal, energy and professional vision) can help you achieve your work-life balance goals.

June 3, 2014
Related Topics: Corporate Culture, Work and Life Balance, The Latest, Talent Management, Workplace Culture
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PEP buoys June 2014

Successful and satisfied people have one thing in common: PEP, as in personal, energy and professional vision — a clear sense of what one wants to accomplish in life and work.

It is essential that we integrate professional and life goals. As a backdrop to goal-setting, it’s important to focus on the balance between work and life. A life and a career are about making plans to build a future. It’s about having clear goals, vision and a sense of direction that will help people navigate the changing realities of work and life. Imagine your life three to five years from now; you can get a clearer picture using PEP.

Your career is your professional creation. When was the last time you really gave thought and time to planning it? Ultimately, you own your career and you own the vision for what you want it to be.

Begin to craft a personal vision using these questions:

• What family ties are most important to you?

• What longtime friendships still fill your life?

• What community connections do you find most fulfilling?

Now, translate these answers into personal goals. Get focused.

At work, you are thinking about family; at home, you are thinking about work. Think of all the wasted, guilt-ridden hours spent in both situations. Identify personal goals that allow you to find focus at home and at work.

• I’ve unleashed myself on the weekend — no cellphone or email. I explained to my boss that I need to unplug now and then. He seemed to understand, and, in fact, is trying to do the same.

• My office is at home. The good news is I can sneak into my office and do some work. The bad news is that it’s right there and hard to ignore. I established official office hours. I now turn the ringer off and close the door at 5:30 p.m.

• When I’m with my family and my mind starts to wander toward work, I force myself to picture a red stop sign. Then I bring myself back to the present and to them.

Achieving any personal or professional goals will require energy. Having an energy vision gives you the power to pursue your goals.

Get energized by defining goals to stimulate your mind, body and spirit. Identify and pursue goals related to health and fitness, intellectual and vocational growth or a relationship with a higher power. Consider these questions:

• What keeps you physically in good shape?

• What activities, events and sports are fun for you?

• What spiritual pursuits give meaning to your life?

• What creative or intellectual challenges stimulate your mind?

Practice wellness, stay healthy and feed your soul. “People who cannot find time for recreation are obliged sooner or later to find time for illness,” said early 20th century advertising and marketing pioneer John Wanamaker.

• Stay out of the office for the entire weekend.

• Take work home only twice, not five times, this week.

• Leave exactly on time at least once this week.

• Take a vacation and leave the technology at home.

• Schedule a checkup.

Let’s Get Real — REAL SMART

You may have heard it said that goals should be “SMART” — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

It’s good to have SMART goals. When it comes to getting personal, energy and professional vision, or PEP, in work and life however, SMART simply isn’t enough. You need to be REAL SMART.

Getting REAL with PEP goals means going beyond the process of simply setting a goal and more to the heart of what will make it happen — more importantly, what will make you want to make it happen? Are your goals REAL? Ask yourself these questions:

Is it relevant? Will the results be simultaneously aligned with where you want to go and where your organization or your life is headed? How do you know?

Is it enticing? Does it look really good to you? Do you want it enough to make it happen? Do you smile when you think about achieving it? Why?

Is it achievable? Does it look like you can complete the actions that are required within a defined period of time? Is it a bit of a stretch but still within your means? What would your first step look like?

Is it leveragable? Does it serve multiple purposes? Are there ways to apply your hard work to other PEP goals you might have?

—Beverly Crowell and Beverly Kaye

Look at creating goals that help you better manage your time and use that time to exercise, sleep, eat well, relax, unleash and unplug.

Your career is your professional creation. When was the last time you really gave thought and time to planning it? Ultimately, you own your career and you own the vision for what you want it to be.

Look at yourself: To create a meaningful career, you need to be clear about your interests and your values. What are your key skills? 

Look around: Given your interests, what do you want to learn? Seek out your critics and listen to them. Pay attention to what’s happening in your organization and your industry to help identify your career options.

Look ahead: Realize that not every step has to be a step up. Consider a lateral move to expand your experience and exposure to the rest of the organization. Find ways to enrich and grow in your current job. Explore opportunities in others parts of your organization as part of short-term assignments.

Put It All Together

Use the information about you, your company and the multiple options to help develop goals. Those goals will become the cornerstone of an action plan — a plan to help get PEP in work and life. Give yourself exact steps and deadlines. Revise along the way. Forge alliances with people who can help you reach your goals: managers, mentors, family, friends, peers and supporters. Don’t be afraid to give your PEP plan a reality check. Consider some key questions:

• How will my PEP goals get me closer to my personal, energy or professional vision?

• Am I excited about moving forward?

• Is it realistic?

• Do I have the support needed to make it happen?

• What’s in it for me, my friends/family and my organization if I achieve my goals?

If you are an employee, aim for PEP. If you are a manager, realize that employees are watching how you balance work and personal time. They observe how managers deal with stress, and they can detect when a manager is ignoring one or more of these three important goal areas.

These observations can lead to conclusions about what the organization expects. Just as important, however, is the fact that managers are people, too.

Beverly Crowell is executive vice president of Career Systems International and a contributing author to “The Talent Management Handbook.” Beverly Kaye is founder of Career Systems International and co-author of “Love ’Em or Lose ’Em: Getting Good People to Stay.” Comment below or email editors@workforce.com. Follow Workforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.

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