ThirdPath

The Importance of Hope

August 14, 2019jdegrootBlog

Creating Culture Change Requires Courage and Hope

What keeps the ThirdPath community moving forward? Learning from and being inspired by the amazing moms, dads and leaders who have gone ahead and asked for change – even when they’ve had to be the first to do so. Since founding ThirdPath I’ve learned that connecting to this courageous community has made us smarter, it’s also fostered my sense of hope. What derails the progress we are all working towards? Losing hope, and losing courage.

Why do I know this? Change is hard. It requires overcoming many obstacles, But here are a few things that help us stay the course:

  • Previous positive experiences around work-life integration – so even if you are failing at the moment – you stay motivated to keep making changes to achieve integration once again
  • Strong support at home, including someone who keeps encouraging you to reach for an integrated solution, even if it means leaving an unsupportive workplace
  • Seeking out role models who inspire you that integration can be achieved
  • Taking time to recharge and replenish your energy so you can overcome the next obstacle

As Peter Senge taught us long ago (see info graphic on right), when people maintain hope around what’s possible, it helps them avoid lowering their goals, it also helps them discover new and more creative solutions.

Why do I know this better today? Because of how personally challenging this past year was.

I have always believed there is a “win-win” answer around work-life integration. However, this year, as I balanced my leadership role at ThirdPath with the unexpected and all-consuming demands of elder care, it taught me that some years we will fall short of this goal. Sometimes life will demand more of us, and work will need to take a back seat.

In fact, if you think it’s gotten easier for leaders to integrate work and life since ThirdPath was founded, think again. Here’s why my experience this past year reinforced these lessons:

  • Creating a high performing team that supports everyone’s work-life integration goals is the best way a leader can achieve work-life integration themselves
  • Creating a team like this is harder than you think, especially in a chronically overworked workplace
  • Unpredictability – like what I experienced around elder care – makes planning much more challenging
  • Unpredictability and lack of time for thinking and planning is an increasing problem in chronically overworked workplaces
  • When leaders don’t have time to think and plan, they give up hope of improving their own work-life integration, as well as their drive to think more creatively with their teams around these issues

Given these truths, should we be surprised that so many leaders give up hope, lower their goals, and let work take over their nights, weekends and even vacations?

I know there is a better way. I know supporting leaders to model integrated lives is key to change. However, this year also taught me to more fully appreciate how the road to work-life integration may feel pretty hopeless for too many leaders, and how this hopelessness might be an unexpected obstacle to change.

How do you renew hope? Find support. Take time to recharge. Recommit to your goals … AND listen to the amazing conversation I had with Brigid Schulte about this exact issue. I promise it will renew your hope that change is possible.

Another option? Join one of our Overwhelm Mitigation Groups. Let us help you learn how to set win-win boundaries at work, so you can have more time and energy for life.

Our Mission

Assist individuals, families and organizations in finding new ways to redesign work to create time for family, community and other life priorities. Develop a growing community of individuals, leaders and organizations to influence wider change - both within organizations and at the public policy level. Support a new mind-set where everyone can follow a "third path" - an integrated approach to work and life.

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ThirdPath Institute
P.O. Box 9275, Philadelphia PA 19139
Phone: 215.747.8790
Email: time4life (at) thirdpath.org