Why work-life balance is attainable in any career
Many people have told me that they don’t think work-life balance exists.
But it does.
It doesn’t exist as they think. It’s not a particular schedule or time management technique.
Instead, work-life balance is largely a state of mind.
It’s how we go through our day with ease and without guilt, friction, resistance, and exhaustion.
In my coaching, I help clients achieve this state of mind in a few ways.
Today, I’m writing about one in particular that I consider to be the foundation of work-life balance.
It is a critical but often overlooked step in having balance.
That step is to answer the following question: What is YOUR unique definition of work-life balance?
Often times we answer this question through the lens of the people around us- our corporate culture, our family, our social circles.
I invite you to answer this question by going to your ideal scenario first. No constraints.
I invite you to relax and step into your dream of what’s ideal and ask yourself:
If I didn’t care about the judgment from others and didn’t fear what the future might hold based on my actions today, what would I create?
Would I feel a strong desire to put my kids to bed every night?
Would I feel a pull to get to the office at 7am?
Would I enjoy a client call on Tuesday when I typically head to the gym?
Would I get excited about working for eight months straight and then taking four completely off each year?
Would I look forward to cooking dinner for the family each night?
Would I relax into a commute by train?
Would I feel at peace if I worked through weekends?
Would I express my love for my aging mother by taking her to her doctor appointments?
Watch out for constraints that creep into your dream! (For instance “In my dream I would bike to work because I hate the train ride”… why would there by anything you hate in your dream?)
Remember to dream big.
Would you go for a swim in the ocean in the middle of the workday?
Would friends’ birthday parties only happen at lunchtime so you had every night free?
Would you have a tea garden right outside your workplace in the morning and a desert with camels in the afternoon?
It’s important to go to your biggest and wildest dream. It points to what you deeply want. (Hint: if you find yourself loving these prompts and wanting more, then you aren’t in your dream. You are in mine.)
And then, as you come back to reality, examine what comes up as you and consider what in your day-to-day doesn’t follow this ideal.
Look at the constraints you perceive.
Do you dream about one day a week without any meetings but believe that your team will be less productive?
Do you dream about working through the night but believe that you will be a bad parent if you don’t tuck your kids in often enough?
Do you dream about the hour train ride home in solitude but then think you should be spending that time exercising?
I urge you to consider that it’s possible these “but”s come from your upbringing, your culture, your family, your friends, the media you consume. They are not from your core self.
We often absorb our societal and cultural definitions of balance and “shoulds”. If you have trouble understanding what you’ve absorbed, hire a life coach.
Balance, when struck, is unique to every individual.
Those who know what balance is for them in their make-believe ideal are more likely to achieve it.
Let your unique definition of work-like balance be the foundation upon which you create it. And how do you create it? Well that’s for a different post...
I invite you to write me with your comments and feedback!