Stop right now trying to achieve work life balance. It’s a waste of time, and it will never work!
When we think of work life balance we often think of this image:
The very concept assumes that your work and your life are two separate entities and that you somehow must juggle them both to be happy.
It also assumes that you have work at one side of the equation, and life at the other – that they are at opposite ends of the spectrum – and the illusion is that somehow you can balance the two. That is a very damaging myth.
Here’s the truth… you don’t have work and a life. You only have a life.
The true secret to fulfillment is work life integration. When your work and your life are integrated, it’s easier to keep your balance, no matter how many challenges you have to face. You no longer feel that you leave YOU behind when you go to work. You bring your whole self with you, and you are more energized, enthused and engaged.
So how can you integrate work and life in a meaningful way, that makes the time and energy you devote to your work, and the time and energy you devote to all the other areas of your life, more creative, productive and FUN?
The first step is to get connected. What are you going to connect to? You are going to connect to your CORE… to the essence of who you are, to the part of you that is always steady no matter what is going on around you.
Your core is made up of three essential things.
First is your sense of purpose, your calling, your deepest reason for being.
Maybe you’re interested in work life balance because you have a job or a business that is taking up more and more of your mental, emotional and physical energy. In addition you could be chauffeuring the kids (or grandkids) to their ballet classes, birthday parties and soccer games. You might also be looking after a parent (or two). Perhaps you attempt to have date night once a week (let’s be realistic – make that once a month), so you don’t forget what your partner looks like…
For what? What’s it all for?
Here’s the secret to work life integration and to true success… Even though I know you are so very busy trying to balance work and family and all of your other commitments, it’s important to step back from time to time to ask yourself if your life is taking you where you want to go.
And if not, the first step is to clarify what that even looks like… What is your sense of purpose? What gets you out of bed when the going is tough? What is deeply meaningful and important to you? That is the first thing to get connected to, and is a key aspect of your CORE.
Next, it’s important to get connected to your unique strengths and gifts. Not just the things you do well, but those activities that bring you alive when you do them.
Very often when I begin coaching individuals who are feeling most stressed and out of balance, they are spending a dis-proportionate amount of their day in tasks and activities that are outside of their natural strengths and preferences. Now, that is exhausting!
So, get clear on what your true strengths are and organize your day around them as much as possible.
And finally, get connected to your values, the things that matter most to you. It’s impossible to live a balanced and fulfilling life when one or more of your core values are compromised, or simply not getting enough time and attention.
Especially in times of rapid change, it’s so easy to get knocked off balance. But these three things together (your purpose, strengths and values) are something you can hold on to, something you can trust. That’s because they are central and true about who you are. They are part of your CORE.
When you are living your purpose, expressing your strengths and aligned with your values… now that is living with Full Wattage!- Energized, Enthused and Engaged.
So the first step to integrate your work and your life is to get connected to your core, to the things that are essential and true about who you are, the things matter most.
Forget work life balance and instead think about how YOU can integrate more of who you are, and what brings you passion and joy, into your life. Then, you will find it is easier to keep your balance, no matter what challenges you have to face.