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The Amazon Effect: Striking Work-Life ~Harmony~

We’ve spent quite a bit of time going over the success of Amazon and Jeff Bezos. And for good reason! Bezos is extremely successful with a thriving business. Amazon is arguably THE example of how to do well in business right now. And for entrepreneurs and small business leaders, to interns and part timers and back, “work-life balance” is a buzzword that gets tossed around a lot.

In a world where the lines between work and home are often blurred, we have to be far more proactive in establishing boundaries and making sure that we don’t let work overtake our lives. It’s not a healthy way to live, no matter how passionate you might be about what you do for a living.

But, because of our connected we are, there are some obvious pitfalls in attempting to achieve work-life balance.

First off, drawing concrete lines between work and home just might not be possible for you, especially if you’re an entrepreneur or a business leader. Even if you delegate well and create systems and structures within your business, there will always be things that need you and you alone.

Striving for complete balance for certain individuals in some industry might be entirely impossible and could just end up leaving you frustrated and resentful toward your work.

Jeff Bezos likely falls directly into this class of people. Amazon, as a business, is as well-oiled machine as any; designed structurally for individuals and groups to be empowered to make decisions.

But it is impossible for this company to exist without Bezos and his stewardship, his daily input and involvement. This is why, in his own words, he prefers to strive for “work-life harmony” as opposed to balance. This could read a bit like semantics, and that’s because it might be.

To strike a balance is mathematical; something either is balanced, or it is not. There are clear lines and delineations. Harmony on the other hand is musical; it can best be described by how it feels.

Bezos views the term “balance” as implying there’s a strict trade-off between your work and your life. He views his work and his life as a circle - there’s give and take, and ebbs and flows. There aren’t two competing time constraints for him, where work ends at 5pm and life begins at 5:01pm.

"If I am happy at home, I come into the office with tremendous energy," said Bezos. "And if I am happy at work, I come home with tremendous energy. You never want to be that guy — and we all have a coworker who's that person — who, as soon as they come into a meeting, they drain all the energy out of the room ... You want to come into the office and give everyone a kick in their step."

So consider trying to get yourself to a point where your work and life are harmonious.

Remember: no two people are alike. For someone, the idea of thinking about a work assignment at home is tantamount to being held by their toenails. To another, working through a work issue at home with a loved one might be a means to relieve stress and could help them integrate their home life with their work life.

Your goal is to achieve peace and happiness in your life, leaving room for both work and for your life: harmony.

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