How to tip the work-life balance scales in your favor

I was coaching a client this past week and she mentioned what a relief it was that another woman was supporting and encouraging her to pursue her dreams in her career.

She mentioned that “ambition” had become a bad word among her friends and colleagues as most professionals her age were becoming more vocal about work-life balance and flexibility in the workplace.

It doesn’t have to be an either-or proposition.

First, the whole idea of balance is flawed.

When I hear the phrase “work-life balance,” I picture the scales of justice with career on one side and a personal life on the other, always wobbly and competing, with the scales tipping one way or the other at any given time.

There is always a victor and a loser. And because they’re both part of your life, you always feel defeated.

I much prefer to look at life through the lens of an infinity circle where there is no beginning and no end. Just constant movement, where we move seamlessly from one end of the spectrum to the other.

Although there are times where we are more focused on our professional life than our personal life (and vice versa), it’s connected, not disconnected.

We truly love and embrace every aspect of our lives and we try to integrate them as much as possible as opposed to compartmentalizing them in different buckets.

Second, this need not be a war.

As long as we continue to draw enemy lines with high-achieving professionals in one corner and part-time/flexible-focused professionals in the other, none of us will win.

(Note: If you get the first part down from above, you can be both high-achieving and part-time/flexible focused! Again, this doesn’t have to be an either-or proposition.)

I know women that have given childbirth and continued to work without ever fully taking a day off. Not because they had to. Not because they were workaholics. But because they LOVE their work. It brings them great joy and satisfaction.

That doesn’t mean all women should feel this way, but when a woman loves her career and pursues it just as much as her children, let’s not point fingers and judge.

When a parent chooses to step off the corporate ladder or at least slow the ascent to spend more time with his or her children, let’s not judge that decision either.

And it isn’t just about children! If someone wants more flexibility for whatever reason, let’s be supportive, not judgmental.

We’re all in this together!

If you want to ditch the scales and start living a more connected, integrated life, begin to say no to the things that aren’t important to you, emphatically say yes to what is, and don’t worry about what others will think or say.

It’s easier said than done but you can do it. Life is too short not to love every aspect of it.

Be kind and have fun this week!

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