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I hear it all the time. “How’s your business?” “I dunno man, we’ve just kinda plateaued.” Okay. “How’s your marriage?” “We’re really in a rut right now.” Hmm. “How’s that new project/initiative coming along?” “It’s pretty much stalled at this point.” Sure. The underlying assumption is that if things aren’t progressing, moving forward, or getting better then they are simply at a standstill, as good or bad as they were the day things quit moving forward. As if static is even an option. It’s not.

If your business isn’t growing, getting healthier, getting better then it is moving in the opposite direction. If your marriage isn’t getting stronger, more vibrant, with more intimacy then it is trending the other way. If that new project or initiative isn’t getting any traction then it is on its way to the junk pile. There’s no easy way to say it, if your business/marriage/initiative isn’t getting better it is getting worse.

by Trevor Lee

When life outside of work gets hard there are two common responses. One is to compartmentalize whatever is going on–creating a wall between work and the rest of life. The other is to have your work totally derailed. Neither of these is tenable.

Compartmentalizing serious issues in your life to keep them out of your work sounds like a good idea on the surface. After all, your failing marriage, loss of a loved one, crippling debt, struggling child, or medical diagnosis have nothing to do with your work. Except they do. The idea that your life can be broken up into pieces and walled off from each other just isn’t true. While you may be able to stuff your emotions and focus on your job, the subconscious is far too strong to make real separation possible. Your pain in life will start to leak out eventually, whether that’s in treating co-workers poorly, producing subpar work, or finding ways to medicate.

On the other hand, having your work totally derailed by problems outside the office isn’t an option either.