Work-life balance: using the Map of Meaning

It’s spring, and to help pick up on the theme of growth and connectedness Dave Burton (from Potential Development) in this webinar (recording for the session; Padlet of ideas shared during the session) helped extend our thinking about work and life – in particular about how it can help us achieve a ‘life work balance’.

The Map of Meaning model (originally developed by Marjolein Lips-Wiersma, Lani Morris, and Patricia Greenhough) also helps us examine where our focus is, on others or on ourselves. Most importantly it introduces the 4 main components which lead to us having a sense that our work is meaningful and of value to ourselves and to others.

The model helps us understand how we’re investing our time and whether that investment is helping us achieve our real goals; the goals that matter most. Dave started by talking about finding balance, as well as negotiating the path between your own reality and inspiration, and shared an example of his own experiences this year.

The model

The tool was unpacked during the session and stories shared that opened discussion to help us find ways to recognise and value how we balance the demands of life and work – from reality to inspiration. Some of the key areas of behaviour were:

  • Developing the Inner Self – Developing oneself and one’s resources.
  • Unity with Others – Building and maintaining relationships. Dave suggests that there is less and less time at work to ‘chew the fat’, to build relationships.
  • Expressing Full Potential – Promoting or representing oneself, taking oneself to market. One element of this is “exercising one’s mark and putting it on the table so that others can hear it and respond to it. For example, a head of department needs to be aware of what you have done”.
  • Service to Others – Delivering the goods. This one has “much more of an action to it. Doing what one says one will do. It’s rather more practical and involves doing the things and getting the results”.

Experiences and reflections

Vicki shared that she feels as though “I have lost my voice in the school I am in…am feeling more oppressed now”. Dave suggested that personal development (developing personal self) comes under threat when things are busy.

“The loneliness of the long-distance runner”…the change agents, needs the support of others who are willing or able to acknowledge that it’s tough. It could be a shared experience of facing challenges that draws us together, whether it’s “motorcycle gangs or an acapella choir”.  It’s also important to express what we can offer, and summarise what we’ve achieved; in a way “sounding your own note in the Universe”.

Questions

During this webinar Dave encouraged everyone to explore the tension between the inspiration that drives us and the circumstances in which we’re working. The questions he used to help frame up our thinking were:

  1. Where has the focus been for you in your work this year?
  2. What has supported/ensured your survival?
  3. What has been in balance, out of balance?
  4. What have the consequences of that been for you?
  5. How might you adjust your focus: For the remainder of this year? For next year?

Nathaniel shared that “Focus for me in work has probably been focused on service to others (and not just this year either). I think this is almost an easy place to be and stay in. I find I’m not so good in the unity with others, although I think I’m experiencing growth in this area. I probably need to focus on developing my inner self – or perhaps my whole self in terms of keeping healthy physically which will help mentally also”.

Wrap up…

This webinar helped us understand that working with this model not only helps ensure that we stay on track with our work, it helps us understand why we may be feeling stressed or even overwhelmed. It helps us adjust how we spend our time to lessen those negative feelings and ensure that we do find meaning, purpose and value in our work.

To use the Map of meaning as a means of survival, is quite an investment. Having a clear sense of what inspires you is one of the steps to leading a meaningful and successful life. However, there is often a gap between the inspiration that motivates us, and the reality in which we find ourselves.

Missed the session?

If you missed the session you can always access the recording, here:

http://connect.vln.school.nz/p4k4bghry5k/

And you can watch a couple of videos about the Map of Meaning here:
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Images

  • Spring. CC (BY ND) licensed Flickr image by Moyan Brenn: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aigle_dore/13026815355/
  • Balance. cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by James Box: http://flickr.com/photos/b0xman/2622396232/
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About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ (http://www.ethosconsultancynz.com/). I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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