“Kids, marriage, career, travel, and me-time … How do you balance it all?” This is a question I get asked regularly. In fact, if you’ve tuned into any of my recent TV or podcast interviews then chances are you’ve heard me talk about it. My answer? Well, it may not be what you expect.
Balancing It All?
If you look up the term “Work-Life Balance”, you’ll find this description:
“Work-life balance is the state of equilibrium in which demands of personal life, professional life, and family life are equal.”
How realistic is it to be able to control the demands at work and the demands at home so perfectly that we arrive at a state of equilibrium at both? I’d like to suggest that we get rid of this concept of work-life balance entirely.
I once had an employee who was extremely dedicated to her balance. She’d leave work at 5:00 pm on the dot to take a yoga class and then have dinner with friends … despite deadlines and important work that had to be done (she didn’t last very long). I have other friends who are desperate to pursue their career passion but terrified of sacrificing “me” time, so they remain paralyzed and yearning for something more.
In our modern world, we’re juggling a tremendous amount. And it ain’t easy! To help us find sanity, I say we ditch the notion of balance and, instead, we manage the many different tasks thrown our way by prioritizing what matters most at any given moment.
I call it counter-balancing.
This may sometimes mean staying late at work for an important deadline. It may mean missing a morning run. You might have to leave work early to make it to your daughter’s piano recital or take an extra day of vacation to spend time with your spouse or loved ones.
“You Can Have It All, Just Not All At Once”
Counterbalancing Your Way Through Life
During my childbearing years, counterbalancing meant that I put higher career aspirations on hold. Now that my kids are getting older and my work life is busier, my time with family and working is never split perfectly down the middle. I recently spent three weeks traveling across the US for my FOOD YOU WANT book tour. I was away from my husband and four kids, and focused solely on my career-totally off balance!. So, as soon as I got home, I immediately shut off emails and took my bunch to the beach. That whole next week I went into full mom-mode and my work life was totally off balance!
In end, we aspire to a state where we feel accomplished, healthy, and happy. A slight tweak to how we view the path to getting there should take some of the burdens off our shoulders and allow for an even greater state of fulfillment.