In today’s culture, we're constantly preached to about the virtues of moderation and balance.
And I’ll be the first to admit that I am totally guilty of this, because I know that I function a lot better when I’m more “balanced” in pretty much every sense of the word.
We also live in an unprecedented era of instantaneous communication and “always on” connectedness. With the lines between “work” and “life” increasingly blurring, the term “work/life balance” seems like a leftover relic of the 90’s, especially for working parents and entrepreneurs. The intersection of work and personal growth is fascinating to me, because I view them as one and the same.
I’ve heard the term “work/life integration” used to describe this new era, and I like this because it describes the reality that life is not often siloed into these separate buckets, especially with certain kinds of work. Yet, of course we need to be able to implement some boundaries, or else what's stopping us from becoming tethered to our devices 24/7 and adapting to a state of Continuous Partial Attention, especially with the flesh-and-blood people who matter most in our lives?
I don’t believe that the idea of “work/life balance” is a myth as some argue, or an antiquated, obsolete idea. I just think we need to be more aware of how we’re each defining it.
Hence, I’m starting a new weekly feature on the blog that will be published every Thursday: Life Balance 2.0.
In this series, I’ll share stories and actionable tips and strategies for how to better define and practice your unique version of balance — whatever that means at this particular point in your life.
When I was visiting family in DC earlier this week, I watched my aunt and uncle get ready for the workday as they tried to get two small kids up and ready to go on time without forgetting any crucial items. It was like a mini circus, but nothing out of the norm for their average Monday.
The old idea of “balance” would be laughable in this situation. Some weeks require travel or crazy-long hours. Sometimes the kids have camp, other days are play dates or family outings. There is no “normal” or “ideal” balance that could work all the time. Real life does not look like Pinterest.
I picture my aunt or uncle trying to walk down a four-inch-wide balance beam while holding a phone, their work bag, lunch, a kid, the kid’s backpack and lunch, an umbrella, and car keys. If they fall of onto the left side, balls get dropped at work. Off the right side, balls get dropped at home.
“Balance” seems pretty ridiculous and impossible when you think of it that way, right? A set-up for failure. We can’t define balance so narrowly or one-size-fits all. What works for one person or family may not be work works best for another.
Where does "work" end and "passion" begin?
My husband calls me a workaholic because I’m “always doing something" (guilty as charged on that part). It’s definitely true that I need to learn to chill a little more and step away from the screens — but what drives me is my passion for constant growth and voracious hunger for learning, so I can more fully experience the world and share those experiences and information with my people both online and in my offline life and work.
I’m always bouncing around from psychology to spirituality to marketing and entrepreneurship, trying to become a little more informed and more helpful to my tribe every single day. To someone else, my life might seem totally “off-balance.” But to me, most of it doesn’t feel like “work.” It’s part of my purpose for being here.
And just like all of you, I’m also still learning everyday about what a more holistic “balance” means for me at this moment in my life. I want to keep experimenting with new ideas and systems to ensure that the various little gardens of my life (marriage, career, finances, friendships, etc.) are all getting enough water, and that I have enough in each water “bucket” of mind, body, and spirit to properly tend to those gardens.
I hope this series will be useful to you, because I’m already excited knowing it’s definitely going to help me on my own quest for defining my own personal Life Balance 2.0.