Author and presenter Alain de Botton said, “There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.” Business executive Jack Welch also said, “There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.” And Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said, “So there’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s work, and there’s life, and there’s no balance.”
70% of people can’t find work-life balance, and the reason they can’t is because they have the wrong definition of work-life balance. I used to fall into that 70%, beating myself up rather than making the most out of every moment of life, but when I saw that what I was building wasn’t going to slow down anytime soon, I decided to embrace the fight that living a good life is, and began living life to the full. Instead of worrying about balance, I began to see the bigger picture. Sure, I hired more staff, delegated more often, and began focusing on what was truly important to up my productivity and improve my work, but there’s more to my findings than merely making a few tweaks. No, the solution wasn’t completely found in managing my time better; the even bigger problem was that the pressure I placed on myself kept me more focused on tasks than the beauty found in the every day moments I was missing out on.
I used to think that the mystery of balance was somehow attainable, but after years of searching for perfect balance myself, I finally gave up on the hunt, and now I know why — the balance that self-help gurus sell people is a complete myth. In fact, after running two businesses for years and working over 100 hours a week, while trying to salvage some sort of family life, searching for this “balance” became more of a frustration than anything else. What I did find while following this false sense of hope, however, was the true meaning of balance — where life and work is woven together, not separated.
I love what Michael Thomas Sunnarborg says on this very matter, as I believe he is spot-on. He says, “A true balance between work and life comes with knowing that your life activities are integrated, not separated.” The more life I live, the more truth I find in Michael’s discovery. Making an impact on this world and influencing people isn’t a thing that you should just stop doing when you clock out, but when you are doing things right, it becomes a way of life.
We all have twenty-four hours in a day, and I had to decide to be grateful for each moment. The struggle for balance isn’t a battle won with time, but with a thankfulness for life. This perspective shift I made was liberating to say the least. I wasn’t creating more time, but I began sucking every ounce of life out of the time that I already had. I wasn’t fighting for balance any longer; I was fighting for passion, influence and impact.
So, the lesson in all of this is this: you need to stop asking the wrong question, which is “How do I achieve work-life balance?” A much better question is, “How can I learn to fall in love with my work and my life?” Because when you find the answer to this question, the only thing you’re worried about is having more of what you love, and embracing every opportunity that comes your way — ultimately the fulfillment you were looking for in work-life balance all along.How can I learn to fall in love with my work and my life? Click To Tweet