Showing Up

Ask Roxanne!

Dear Roxanne,
I am a dad and a department manager at a national freight company. I also coach my son’s soccer team. It’s a bit of a juggling act sometimes, but I get everything done by multi-tasking. Now my immediate supervisor has started ragging on me about phone calls home and checking my Blackberry during meetings AND my wife is complaining about the work I bring home! I need somebody on my side here. Please help me show them that the outcome is the thing, and I’m doing all of my jobs well.—Philip W.

Dear Philip,
Hate to disappoint you, my friend, but I’m gonna have to side with the other team here. Even if you are getting your jobs “done,” it’s highly unlikely you’re doing the best you can at any of them. It’s so important to fully show up in everything you do. Read on to see what I mean.—Roxanne

Do you have a question about how to handle a situation or a relationship in the workplace? Ask Roxanne!

Showing Up

Ellen Galinsky, author of Ask the Children— What America’s Children Really Think About Working Parents, asked children what they would change about how their parents’ work affects their lives.

She also asked the parents what they thought their kids would say. Fifty percent of parents predicted that the child’s top choice would be to have more time together.

Guess again.

In fact, only 10-15 percent of kids said they would like more time with their parents. Contrast this with the 34 percent of kids who said what they want most is for their parents to be less stressed. Only 2 percent of parents guessed that this would be their child’s highest priority.

It’s not more of our time that our kids want but rather our vivaciousness—to be fully alive and enthusiastic wherever we are at any moment.

So do you fully show up wherever you are—or are you quasi-committed? Sometimes we have good intentions but just never get there.

Are you the kind of parent who talks about balance and blames your employer for pulling you away from your kids, yet has the television on while you’re with them?

Splitting your attention two or three or five ways all the time is the surest way to cheat each and every one of those parts of your life. Balance means living fully wherever you are—being fully present to your friends when with your friends, with your kids when with your kids, with your spouse when with your spouse, and at work when you’re at work.

If you’re thinking about your bowling league during the budget meeting, your numbers might be off. If you’re trying to figure out your fantasy league draft picks while you’re playing catch with your son, you might take one on the kisser—AND draft a third-rate running back. And that would be called justice.

Some of the best parents work fifty hours a week or more and are amazingly connected with their children in extremely functional ways. Some of the worst parents are stay-at-home mothers or fathers who watch television all day—know every soap opera, sleep through most of the day, and yell when their kids interrupt by asking a question.

Resolve today to make a commitment to be where you’re at, one hundred percent. When you’re at work, be productive in knowing exactly what the company objectives are.

Balance is about fully showing up wherever you are and deciding to enjoy being there. And that, like everything else in life, starts with a decision and continues with practice.

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