6 Lessons My Car Accident Reminded Me About Work-Life Balance

All I heard was deafening silence.  For a moment my podcast cut out.  I felt an impact on my left side.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw the front of another car tear my front end off.  My eyes followed as I watched my bumper bounce through the intersection.

The podcast broke the silence.

I looked down at the deployed airbag that apparently hit me.  I got out of my beloved Honda Civic for what would be the last time.

Being in a car accident is never any fun.  I spent the initial 24 hours worrying about my deductible, how much I would get for the car (I knew it was a total loss), and what a replacement vehicle would end up costing me.

Eventually, my mind focused away from the business and (most importantly) into the life part of the accident.  Here are six simple work-life questions I was reminded of as a result of being in a car accident.

  • What are you grateful for (and do you practice it)? At the end of the day I was just grateful.  I try and practice gratitude daily but after an accident I really focused on it.  I was grateful for my health, grateful I got to see my family that night, I was even grateful that the accident occurred near my house (vs the middle of a strange road or highway).  The next morning, I woke up as the sun rose over the pond in my yard and I just felt grateful for that moment of beautiful peace.   Although the experience was stressful, gratitude helped center me and even forced a smile out of my occasionally grumpy face.
  • Is your workplace supportive? Whether it be a car accident, illness, or other household emergency, having a supportive and flexible work environment has a value that goes beyond dollars and cents. Having enough sick/personal days to bridge any time off is helpful as is a system that allows you to work from home, shift hours, and generally make any reasonable accommodations needed.   Above all else, the response you want to hear is “Take care of yourself and we will find a way to work it all out.”

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