Ellen B. Van Oosten, Ph.D.: Work-Life Integration | Sero Boost #18

In this episode, host Lu Ngo is joined by Ellen Van Oosten, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Faculty Director of Executive Education at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management.

Achieving a balance between personal and professional life is a challenging task in today’s fast-paced world. Many people strive for work-life balance, but work-life integration is a better approach. The conversation in this episode revolves around creating a more harmonious relationship between your personal and professional lives by aligning your values, setting boundaries, and focusing on your priorities. 

Meet Ellen Van Oosten

Ellen B. Van Oosten, Ph.D is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Faculty Director of Executive Education at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. She is an expert in coaching, leadership development, emotional intelligence, and women’s leadership in STEM fields. 

Additionally, she is the Director of the Coaching Research Lab and has written several articles on coaching and leadership. Ellen is also a mentor coach with over 27 years of experience and holds certifications as a board-certified coach (BCC) and associate certified coach (ACC). She directs and teaches coach certificate programs at the Weatherhead School of Management.

About the episode

In this episode with Lu Ngo, Ellen shared that true happiness is achieved through holistic well-being, which encompasses physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional aspects of life. She mentioned that acquiring material possessions does not necessarily lead to happiness. Instead, meaningful engagement with others is integral to achieving true happiness. 

She suggested that people must be self-motivated and inspired in their work or activities to achieve a fulfilling work-life integration. This requires identifying core values and prioritizing what is important to them. By aligning values with work and daily activities, individuals can experience a greater sense of satisfaction and happiness. 

According to Ellen, individuals who are passionate about their work can experience burnout, especially if they are managing others or performing challenging tasks. Stress is a natural part of work and life, but chronic stress can be debilitating and lead to dysfunction. To combat this, it is important to take short breaks from work and engage in activities that promote relaxation and renewal. 

Furthermore, Ellen’s motto, “Live well, laugh often, and love much,” encapsulates her beliefs about happiness. She emphasized that self-awareness and clarity about one’s values and identity are fundamental to achieving personal happiness and work-life integration.

She also mentioned the importance of balancing stress with renewal through the “sacrifice syndrome” approach. Taking time for self-care and renewal is essential for maintaining long-term well-being and avoiding burnout.

In conclusion

Try to experience and contribute to life in all dimensions. Don’t get consumed with the pursuit of wealth and miss out on meaningful interactions with the world around you. Take time to explore your core identity, and this will give you a clear sense of purpose and meaning. Lastly, it’s important to prioritize your well-being. Whenever stressed, engage in activities that bring you relaxation. 

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