Question: How to balance personal and professional relationships?

This is the question I was asked during a talk I gave to Seed the Future Program organized by Shinhan Future’s Lab Vietnam.

Question: So, moving to the next question we have is: Can you please share how we can balance personal and professional relationships? And could you share example from your own experience?

Watch the full talk here: 8 + 1 ENTREPRENEUR THINGS TALK.

Answer: I got a lot of questions like this before. And then there’s a term called “work-life balance” and “work-life integration”. And I would prefer the word “integration”. So work-life balance may distract people and confuse people about work on one side and then life on the other side, meaning that personal relationship and professional relationship are two things different. And that works very well. Or that’s the norm in the Western culture. Like when I used to work in the US, it’s very hard to visit the American co-worker at home during the weekend. But for Vietnamese people, then we hang out during the weekend. So I learned that lesson. So I learned that from the Westerner, from the Western culture, they promote independence, they promote creativity, they promote productiveness. But then for that close intimacy relationship or kinda things, they don’t promote. And that causes a lot of depression issue for Western culture, I would say. So when I learned that and I go back to Vietnam and then I mix the two. So Asian people like us, we prefer, I mean, we respect relationship. We are relationship based culture, right? So as long as you can really keep ourselves, our mind as innovative, creativity, independent and proactive, and then (if) we still can maintain our relationship and that would be good. And then for me, integration means that.

My friends, my partners are also my business partners. So, if I live like that, then I don’t separate between personal life and professional life anymore. And the truth is that even now, (though) I am not the managing director of KMS anymore (I withdraw, I mean, I resigned two years ago), but all of those people in KMS, KMSers, they are (still) my brothers and sisters. We meet each other. We laugh. We have a lot of fun time together, even now, (once) I’m not their co-worker (any longer). That helps a lot. So my suggestion to you is that… As I said before, two thirds of the time you spend your time in your office, right? You meet those people in the office. And I suggest you to contribute to build that as your second family. So start with the small group, that is the group are in. That’s enough. Five people, four people or ten people… Then you contribute to do that, your second family. And then after that you have a close friendship, (once) you really become one with them, you will see my meaning like professional and personal relationship are not needed to be separated. So by no means, I don’t mean that it would work for everyone, but then it works very well for me. I can be a proof for that.

Viet Hung | A Happiness pursuer | Author of The Happiness Journal, Tản mạn về Hạnh phúc and NGẪM CAFÉ 
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