In my many conversations with moms running businesses, there is a term that inevitably comes up — work/life balance. It is usually mentioned with a frustrated sigh, an eye roll or a sheepish expression.
It’s at the top of everyone’s list of wants but no one seems to know how to get it. A unicorn, if you will, that many find mysterious, illusive. Some women even get angry talking about work/life balance because they believe it’s such an unrealistic expectation. An impossible standard we set for ourselves and, therefore, just another excuse to feel like a failure.
Well, I'm here to tell you that balance is not unattainable. Here are some ways you can take action and find more of it right now.
1. Balance is not a destination
It is something you are always moving towards or moving away from. It’s not a static place where you “arrive”. Balance is about the choices we make, minute by minute, that take us closer or further away from our own personal definitions of harmony and fulfillment.
Action Step: Write down what work/life balance means to you. Put that definition on a post-it note on your computer or in your wallet. Before making daily decisions, take a deep breath, look at your post-it and ask -- will this decision take me closer to or further from my version of balance?
2. Balance = Priorities
A wise coach once told me, "You CAN have it all. You just can't have it all TODAY." I believe we feel out of balance when we are trying to do everything. All at the same time. Balance is being strategic about what you do and when you do it.
Action Step: Decide what you are prioritizing this month and let the rest go (please don't forget that last part!). For example, if you have a clear priority of finishing your first manuscript this month, you can easily say no to projects/opportunities that don't support that (without guilt or doubt). If your current priority is self-care, perhaps you decline more social invitations than usual in order to have more me-time.
3. Balance is a state of mind
Not to be all woo-woo about it, but I really do believe that like attracts like. Where the mind goes, energy flows. If you are in a constant state of lack around balance, you'll just get more lack.
Action Step: Observe your thoughts and words around balance and when you notice yourself in the negative cycle, stop and make a more empowered choice. For example, instead of Everything is so out of control and screwed up. My life is a mess, try shifting to something like Today was chaotic but I know that overwhelm is a choice. Tomorrow I will make choices that nourish me and move me closer to balance.
I’d love to hear from you on this loaded topic. Do you believe work/life balance is possible?