Over the years I’ve had the good fortune to participate in several panel discussions on career development — both as a moderator and a panelist. One topic that often pops up is the question of how to maintain work/life balance. In today’s fast-paced working world, where the lines between our personal and professional lives are increasingly blurred, a tempting answer is:
“Work/life balance is a myth.”
With all due respect, that answer promotes a terrible compromise, at the personal and professional level. Sometimes compromise makes no sense, like putting a ski on one foot and a snowboard on the other.
Life is about finding balance and operating from a centered state. By balance I don’t mean a 50/50 split or a strictly 9 to 5 job.
We perform best when we don’t go to the extremes in any given area. Just as you can’t work 80 hour weeks forever, you can’t satisfy every personal priority 365 days a year. Like a pendulum, the further you swing in one direction, the further the pressure to eventually swing back. When we operate from a healthy center point, where all demands are being balanced, we have more energy, better results and less backlash.
So how do you accomplish this?
It’s simple. Don’t feed the extremes. If you give each area what it needs and don’t get carried away, you will find you are happier, healthier and more effective. In order to do this, don’t allow baggage from the past or anxiety for the future dictate your decisions. Instead, respond based only on what is needed as each scenario arises. Your manager, your family, and your friends will notice the difference and you will have no regrets. So remember, balance is not a myth. It’s the path to living your best life.