The Myth of Work-Life Balance

Does the idea of work/life balance seem impossible for you? Far too many people think there’s something wrong with them if they can’t achieve this mythical balance. It often appears that other people have it all together, while you’re just trying to keep your head above water!  If you feel like you missed the work/life balance boat, you’re not alone!  Learn to BUST the myth of work-life balance. You may find that you’re working too hard to achieve the unachievable and blaming yourself in the process.

A Modern Myth

The concept of work/life balance is considered a modern ideal to be achieved. It suggests you can achieve a state of equilibrium or perfect balance. However, the reality is that the IDEA of work/life balance is a myth. And, striving for it can be detrimental not only to your physical and mental health but also to your personal and professional success.

The myth suggests that individuals can achieve a state of perfect balance between their work and personal lives. However, this idea is not only unrealistic, but it’s also flawed. There are always trade-offs and sacrifices involved in managing all aspects of our lives. When we’re not able to manage everything smoothly like we imagine others can do, we may feel guilty. We blame ourselves and may think that we’re not good enough. Trying to compare ourselves with others is useless because we can’t possibly know what’s going on inside someone else’s life, home, or head.

Maybe It’s Your Thinking?

Have you ever considered that how you THINK about work and life balance is the problem? Like many of our clients, maybe you have an unrealistic idea about this concept. Instead of striving for work-life balance, perhaps the expectations you have about yourself and your ability to juggle everything is the real problem. You may be measuring yourself against an impossibly high standard, when in fact, you’re doing just fine. 

Reframe “Work-Life”

First, how you think “work-life balance” SHOULD be, needs to be reframed. There is no division between your personal and professional life (even though the Boomers wanted us to think that way, the millennials showed us it’s not true!). Our personal and professional lives are intertwined, a beautiful, sometimes messy, blending.

This blending is a continual juggling act, managing the evolving demands that individuals and families face. Whether you are a parent of small children, or grown ones, or furry, feathered, or scaly ones, or are caring for your parents – the humans and creatures we love and care for, ARE our life. Illness and appointments, evening events, volunteer activities, vacations, surgeries or end-of-life care all matter as much, if not more than our work.

The Importance of “Work”

Perhaps how you think about work or the importance of your professional life also needs revision. Have you ever stopped to consider where your IDEAS about work come from?  Who are/were your role models?  What were the roles of men vs. women when you grew up, or in your culture? Does your extended family live together, or are you a single parent?  Were your parents professionals or artists, and how does that impact your idea of work and life? 

Watch out for “Shoulds”

Start with your EXPECTATIONS, and how you think it SHOULD be done to do it RIGHT!  The words I emphasized are trigger words. They are words that trick your brain into thinking there is only ONE way to do something. The RIGHT way. When you fall prey to this kind of thinking, it causes you to believe you’re not measuring up to your OWN ideals. You can end up blaming yourself, feeling guilt, or carrying a heavy sense of responsibility – sucking the joy out of your otherwise beautiful life.  

Ultimately, the myth of work/life balance is not based in FACT, but in FICTION. 

How you THINK about blending your personal and professional life can lead to unrealistic expectations and guilt over not achieving this perfect state you’ve been led to believe is possible. Instead, by embracing the idea of blending your personal and professional lives, you may be able to find a more realistic and fulfilling way to manage the ever-shifting and evolving demands of your life. And just maybe when you step back, you will realize you’ve been looking at it all wrong. And, while it isn’t always pretty, it’s YOUR perfectly, imperfect life and you’re doing a darn good job!

If you’d like to learn how to make your life work better, complete our assessment and schedule a FREE introductory session with me.

Kristin Clark is a certified Axiogenics Coach and co-author of Living a Richer Life; It’s All in Your Head. Kristin has coached hundreds of people from a wide range of backgrounds and beliefs, industries, and professions. She teaches Valuegenic Self-Leadership, a powerful development program engaging, empowering, and igniting individuals’ and leaders’ potential to help improve their performance, relationships, and quality of life. |