Work/Life Balance is a Fantasy!
The very concept of work/life balance is flawed and non-tenable. It postulates that work is separate from life. Even if that were a possible outcome, I would think it would leave work a very empty and unfulfilling experience. Work is life. It is just one of the many roles we play in our lives. I am consultant, coach, speaker, husband, father, friend, community member, son, brother. There is no separation; they are all just roles I play in my life.
Why would we want to cut work off from life? A vibrant career is a key ingredient to a fulfilling life. It is not about work/life balance, it is life balance. It is finding the equilibrium between all of our roles and discovering the passion in each. Our numerous roles pull, tug and drag us in many directions. Find a way to allow them all in, fully embrace their demands and meet them with equanimity.
I can suggest some strategies to begin to breakdown this separation between work and life. Let’s start with passion. We have all heard or been told to find a job or career for which we are passionate. While that is a great suggestion, it is not always possible. So I offer a slight pivot. Find your passion in what you do. Let me illustrate with a personal example. I have a passion to teach and learn. So, when I was working as an executive, I found ways to mentor and teach future leaders. I was also meddlesome, inquisitive and interested in learning. I would walk into the plant and spend time learning how a filling machine operated. What is your passion and how can you connect that to your current career?
Another suggestion is to shift your perspective. Stop thinking about being a successful businessperson and adopt the mindset of being a successful person in business. A businessperson is an identity a further segmentation. A successful person in business is an individual who takes into account all of the roles played in life. Allowing the room for each role to occupy a part of their life and bringing that fullness to work for the benefit of all and the organization as a whole.
I do struggle with life balance. Work is a big part of my life. I love what I do. I also love being a dad, cherish my role as a husband, think I make a pretty darn good friend and strive to make a difference in my role in the greater community. What I don’t do is attempt to separate work from life. Rather, I do my very best to prioritize and create as much space for all my roles. The messiness and chaos that comes from that juggling is what makes this life so vibrant and joyful.
Remove work/life balance from your list of goals. Replace it with life balance and I believe you will find yourself more effective in every one of your roles. We work on life balance with leaders in our coaching program. To learn more, click here.
Thanks for reading.