A Place In-Between

Many of us act differently in our home and work lives due to the different demands that these two environments make.

For example, does a nasty boss act in the same manner around his family? Can you imagine what your best friend is like at work?

In the workplace, we may need to exercise decisiveness, focus and promptness to get the job done. However, at home we need to express our nurturing and caring side. Sometimes a combination of these behaviours is required, such as when you are coaching your kids’sporting team on the weekend or a work colleague is in need of emotional support.

If we don’t properly transition our minds when moving between roles we can carry the emotions, behaviours and mindset of one environment to the next. This can cause problems by limiting our effectiveness in that role and our ability to be fully engaged.

Workplace consultant, Dr Adam Fraser suggests that a “third space” can be found to help us successfully shift between the various roles in our lives. This can be either a physical or mental place where we can clear our mind and start afresh.

An example is an executive who brings the pressure of his work environment home to his family. He shouts orders to the kids and finishes his wife’s sentences. With an unhappy wife and children who stay out of his way, he soon realises that his work role doesn’t sit well at home.

The solution he finds is to head straight to the shower when he gets home – even before seeing his family. He consciously lets the water wash away the stresses of the day and clear his mind. Only after this exercise does he feel ready to greet his wife and children.

This “third place” doesn’t have to be a separate physical area as in the example. It can be a simple activity that you do each afternoon on the way home, maybe even a visit to the gym after work to relieve the stress.

Think about where you could benefit from having a “third space” in your life.

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