I’m starting to hate the phrase “work-life balance”. It’s used a lot and it appears to mean that you need to live with an equal amount of “work” and “life”. But why do we split the two? Why do we have work on one side and life on the other?
This phrase also projects an image that work is hard and life is good. But we know it’s not like that at all. Some people find that their work is what gets them out of bed, eager to face the day, while the relationship with the person sleeping next to them is slowly suffocating them.
We all have a life whether we’re working or not, and this life is made of many parts. There’s our social life, our health, our love relationships, our spirituality, our interests, learning and character, as well the work we do to earn money.
When you look at all the different parts, you see that they’re all connected and each needs to be integrated into our life. What’s more, each part affects the other.
I don’t know much about cars but I’ll use a car as an analogy. I know that if a wheel falls off, the car cannot move. If the steering wheel is missing, there’s no way to drive it, and it’s the same with the gears and the fuel. All the different bits are important, and vital if you want to drive to your destination.
We can look at our life as though it is a car. If our health is not good, our work and lifestyle is affected. If our work environment drags us down, that’s likely to have an affect on our relationship at home; “Welcome home Mr Grumpy, how was your day?” If we have no time for the interests or hobbies we really enjoy, how does that affect our emotions? All these parts make up our life, and they all need to be integrated.
When we are running a business or building our career, we’re naturally focused on that. New entrepreneurs especially put a vast amount of energy into nurturing their new baby, even having the sleepless nights that a newborn brings! But what happens when all one’s focus is on work and the other parts are neglected?
- Your love relationship fails
- Your environment gets shabby
- You don’t spend time with your friends
- You’re an absent parent
- You don’t eat well or exercise
- You don’t have much fun
- You don’t give yourself time to relax, restore and refresh.
Everything else falls apart. What is the point of growing a successful business, getting a promotion and earning a lot of money if you’re alone, slowly dying inside?
So let’s forget this work-life balance idea and realise that work is just a part of a rich and fulfilling life. It’s a very important part but just a part nonetheless and you only have one precious life. So when you’re focusing on winning in business, make sure that your whole life can be celebrated too.
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