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What we once thought of as a two-bucket proposition — Work and Life — is undergoing such a radical transformation that we will soon scarcely recognize it.

More and more of the younger generations are opting to call their own shots in a quasi-freelance, self-managing, laptop-is-my-office kind of work style. Meanwhile, forward thinking employers are beginning to question the bricks and mortar punch-a-time-clock set up as they plan for the virtual world coming around the bend. 

But where things will get really interesting is the kind of workforce that will thrive in this new economy. In the old model, the people who were valued and rewarded were often those who would give it all to their career. Up until now, the bright and shiny have been the dedicated staffers who would toil for incalculable hours, sacrifice it all for the company’s good, and pay whatever personal price was required to “make things happen.” But that construct is wearing thin as our collective anxiety level flies off the charts, a decent night’s sleep eludes us, and our capacity for happiness plummets. We are beginning to realize that somewhere on this trail, we began mistaking an adrenaline rush set off by unmanaged stress for passion and the external validation of achievement — as defined by titles, salary, and bonuses — for our real worth. Some of us try to “do” our way out of this malaise with an occasional yoga class or a rare spa day, but it’s not enough to make a difference and we know it.

Still, we are evolvers at our core. And a new day is coming into view

Integration is going to be the gold standard for a life well-lived. It will be a personal recipe that will incorporate work and creativity. The superstars of industry and innovation will be the ones who tend to their bodies, minds, and spirits with ferocity. From stress management to plant predominant eating to mindfulness to serious sleep hygiene, the ones who soar the highest will be the ones who are uncompromising when it comes to self-care. And they will bring their mentally and emotionally healthy, inspiring, intuitive, and uplifting selves into our companies and brands, and contribute more to the mission than anyone ever did in the era of soul-sapping self-sacrifice. 

That’s where we’re heading, and in this new climate everyone profits. Our families will thrive as we turn our houses into sanctuaries, and create new rituals that enhance that shared well-being. 

I was in a meeting not long ago with some entrepreneurs who are lighting up the world with their start-ups. They were sharing their difficulties with me — the number of hours they have to put in, the myriad problems they still have to solve, how they worry about this, that, and the other thing. I thought about my own career experiences, nodded my head in understanding, and offered some advice about the importance of self-care. One of the 20-somethings replied, “Oh, I would never miss daily Pilates, my Thursday afternoon massage, and Sunday brunch with my friends. I have to come first in my own life.”

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

This content is informational and educational, and it does not replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a health professional. We encourage you to speak with your health-care provider about your individual needs, or visit NAMI for more information.

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  • Sheri Salata

    The Pillar Life

    Sheri Salata’s first book, The Beautiful No: And Other Tales of Trial, Transcendence and Transformation has been named an Amazon best-selling new release and an Apple “must listen” audio book. Sheri is also the cofounder of the inspirational lifestyle brand, thepillarlife.com and cohost of the popular podcast The Sheri + Nancy Show. Her current ventures are the evolution of her 20-year career with Oprah Winfrey. Sheri served as Executive Producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show and Co-President of Harpo Studios and OWN.