Work Life Integration – TEDx

Late last year I had the pleasure of speaking at a TEDx event. It was TEDxBrentwood. This was my first TEDx talk. It was terrific. The day was exciting, there was a ton to learn, amazing people to meet, and lots of ideas, concepts, and opinions. I loved it!

The theme of TEDxBrentwood was Transformation and Transformational Experiences. I talked about the transformation of our thinking around “Work-Life Balance.” Many of you who know me personally would say I know nothing about this topic. I cannot balance the two. My travel schedule is ridiculous or I get up way too early to have any balance at all. And you are right, but it is not because Icannot balance work and life. The truth is really none of us can!

We need to change our way of thinking. We need to transform from the delusion that we can balance life and work silos. It is not possible. What works in today’s world is work-life integration. We have moved from an industrial age and clock-punching nine to five jobs to always being “on call.” We are picking up kids in the middle of the day or researching a vacation on our mobile device while in a meeting (I have a few thoughts on that as well and will share them in the future)! The lifestyle that coined the phrase “work-life balance” has long passed and those who cannot transform their thinking to work-life integration will continue to stress and struggle as they try to find that “balance,” not believing that it is futile to think they can reach that balance.

So, what is work-life integration? It is accepting that work and life are no longer in silos. People do not do one, switch it off, and do the other. They are truly integrated. When that email comes on a Saturday with a confirmation of a meeting next week, we block it in. When we are at the arena watching our kid play hockey, we read the report we never got to during the day on our tablet. Riding the elevator from the office to the main floor to meet a client in the lobby and go for coffee, we read the parent teacher schedule times and book our meeting.

It is more than what technology has done to force us to integrate work-life balance. We do things like bring our family along on business trips to mix and integrate work and leisure. It is through transforming to an understanding of work-life integration that I was able to take a 56-day road trip holiday (9,200 kilometers put on the vehicle) this summer with my family and not lag behind when I got back to the office. It was quality time, but work (calls, emails, proposals, closing deals) was integrated into it. It also means that, every year for the past 10 years, I have taken between 10-12 weeks away on “holidays”-time away with my wife and daughter outside of our home-but if you are a client of the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™ and work with me, you would never believe that. Why? Because I integrate work into those 10-12 weeks, it is not overbearing, I get quality time with my family in Saskatchewan, Hawaii, California, or BC, but integrate work. And again, I am not overburdened with a pile of things to catch up on when I return. Nor are my clients affected. They do not know I am away with my family, and they don`t have to, so long as their needs are met!

To those who cannot shift from the archaic thought that they can balance two silos called work and life, all the best. There is nothing I can do for you. Those who clearly understand that work-life integration is a reality, and can transform their thinking in this way, will thrive and be happy.

Here is the link to my TedXBrentwood talk. It is under 18 minutes! Have a look and let me know your thoughts, or just provide me with feedback from this blog about where you stand on this fence-balance or integration.


  1. Great post Brent. I think many of us have intuitively adapted to this work/life integration you talk about, doing exactly what you describe. I think the problem is that our institutions and organizations haven’t adapted while we have, so at least for me, it sometimes feels like these two things/selves are in conflict with one another. There is an expectation we are on call at all times, checking email before bed, and responding to client requests on the weekends or holidays, but our organizations haven’t adapted to the life being integrated into work….

  2. Work life integration? That’s why I created a 24 hour golf marathon fundraiser! The best of both worlds! :o)

  3. Erika,
    Thanks for the comments and feedback. As I note int he video, this paradigm shift must be adopted by all (our spouses, our friends, out families and our clients and our “bosses” for it to really work. Slowly I believe we will get there. Slow and steady wins the race… or survives. I (for the most part) close my computer down – and Blackberry) at about 5 pm and don’t look again until morning. I have no guilt. Those that expect a more immediate answer or response….

    We are still always in control of our own destiny and work-life integration allows us that respite!

  4. Dave,
    So very true… work – life integration at its finest!


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