Do you juggle?
I mean, not professionally in the circus or anything like that. (But hey, if you do, cool!)
I mean the Juggle of Life.
The career obligations. The family obligations. The personal needs and plans and desires. The spouse and the kids and the cats and the dog. And the mortgage and the bills and the carpool and the laundry and the 5 a.m. workouts and the 5 p.m. happy hours and that book you started writing 9 years ago but have only talked about since because there was no time to write, only time to pine about it.
Oh, wait, that’s me.
But perhaps you can relate. Are you someone who has it all but has no idea what to do with it?
Some days, is it all too much?
There were certainly times I wanted to chuck it all. But I wore my busy-ness like a badge of honor because I felt I was upholding some notion of Having it All-ness that people deemed important.
The truth was I worked. At all of it. All the time. And because on the surface I made it look like work was working, I’d serve on panels and join discussions about “Work-Life Balance.” People were eager to lasso their own Have-It All.
I couldn’t admit then what I can say now.
Work-Life balance is a myth designed to keep us juggling.
Sure, there’s the opportunity when you’ve had a bad day to go home to people who don’t rate your performance (or shouldn’t, at least) or to hobbies and passions that fill your heart.
And there’s also the opportunity when personal demands become too demanding or your children are treating you like a human napkin that you can go to work and be challenged by like-minded colleagues and compensated for what you do there.
But that’s not “balance.” That’s merely the opportunity of a multi-component life.
The reason I hate the term “Work-Life balance” is because it conjures up images of a scale in which all things should be equal.
And, as we know, it rarely happens that way.
Often times, work requires you to dig in to the detriment of everything and everyone else. Because, you know, that’s your job.
Other times, your needs outside of work demand priority and the scale shifts in the opposite direction.
And you probably worry in both of those cases, “Am I doing it right? My work-life balance is out the window!”
Balance suggests an equality on each side. Forget it. It doesn’t happen.
You’ve been waiting, so here’s my suggestion for a new phrase to replace Work-Life balance. Drum-roll please. Let go of those juggling balls…
Let’s strive for Work-Life Enough-ness.
Wait, I hear you say. That’s not a word.
Neither was being a “Belieber” until Justin Bieber came along. Neither was “meme” or “binge-watch” or “covfefe” until recently.
So now we have “enough-ness.” What is enough-ness?
It’s ensuring that over time, all facets of your life have enough – the right amount – to meet your needs. Not too little, which leaves you unfulfilled. And not too much, which creates overload. That’s not ideal either.
When you’re in overload your gas tank is so full it runs over. And the excess has nowhere to go. But it’s likely flammable so we find we rev down the highway trying to burn it up. Siphon back. And be more mindful the next time of how much your tank can hold.
Now you can look at all parts of your life and say, “Do I have enough here? Do I have too much? How much is enough for me?”
Lose the notion there is an attainable state of equilibrium. Strive only to have enough.
So here’s my exercise for you:
Take stock of your happiness. Review how you spend your time. Do you feel fulfilled? Where are you lacking? Where are you overloaded?
When the cup is empty in an area you deem important, fill it.
And just like when you’ve had too much to drink, when you’ve had enough, pour a little less the next time.
Healthy lifestyles suggest you ditch the scale. I say the same. Let’s stop teetering in the name of balance. Enough with The Juggle. Embrace Enough-ness instead. That alone is Enough.
Valerie Gordon is an award-winning television producer, content creator, lifelong storyteller and the founder of Commander-in-She, LLC. She offers presentations, workshops, team-building and individual coaching to help clients harness the power of their stories for greater exposure and satisfying next chapters.
Originally published at commander-in-she.com