Life Balance! What If It’s Not A Myth?
By Donovan Grant
"Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?" ~ Bob Marley
What if we all had the ideal work-life balance? What would your life look like? You could have all the time, money, family love that you want and even work would be a pleasure.
The truth is though, that the majority of us struggle to get enough satisfaction in our lives. We have lots of heavy demands and commitments placed on us and we are compelled to honour them. So we end up out of sync.
Maybe we are just expecting too much out of life or maybe we are just too unorganised. So instead of being the victim, we are in fact the cause of our own struggles. Let’s follow this one a bit further . . .
Let’s imagine a young married couple who have been living together for a few years and they decide to start a family. They choose to let mum put her career on hold while the children grow up and dad pursues his career to bring in the steady family income. (This is in fact a typical family pattern and has been working well across the world for as long as we know.)
When the little ones come into the world, family life takes a shift and sometimes the impact is bigger than we thought that it would be. Husbands, who were previously reasonably organised, become unreliable and unable to keep on top of things. Unfortunately, many dads only see their new born babies in the morning and at weekends because by the time he returns from his stint at work, baby will be asleep. Working long hours to earn more or just keep up with the pace at work is necessary, but it can do more damage than we realise.
Life can change in different ways
Dad could experience big changes that cause the balance to tip in new directions, for example:
- He’s likely to feel guilty to miss out on important occasions while children are growing
- Dad’s often give up on their own hobbies and past-times to get involved more
- He may even put pressure on himself to do more with less time
- One thing for sure is that his stress levels rise and he’s likely to become more moody than normal.
But, imagine if this young dad had the ideal work-life balance?
Dad would be living a different experience because he would have the best of all worlds. On the home front he would be able to see the children in the morning and the evening. He would get better enjoyment out of work because he would be able to work regular hours and make it home on time. He would have more energy and fun because he has less stressful demands on him. Dad would also welcome back the opportunity to pursue some of his hobbies that he may have given up. Getting back into his hobbies would give dad spiritual lift and help to remove any pressure that he may be feeling to perform in a certain way. Dad would have a more balanced life style.
When we look at it, work-life balance is really a journey and not a destination. A better way to phrase it is probably work-life satisfaction. If you were to grade yourself a score of 0 – 10 on life satisfaction, where would you put the X. The closer you are to 10, the better your satisfaction and ultimately the better you feel about yourself. The real benefit is that when you feel good, you tend to have a certain glow and this will rub off on anyone who is around you. You become a walking conduit of ‘feel good factor.’
Just for a moment, try to picture a large set of weighing scales. On one side you have work, with the commuting and long days away from home; on the other side you have your home, family life and all the fun stuff you do together. Let’s be honest, you won’t ever get the scales to be equally balanced. I apologise if this statement shocks you. It’s just the way it is.
If work-life balance is on your mind, I would highly recommend is that you ask yourself questions like these:
- How satisfied are you with your balance of work and life (0 – 10)?
- What is one thing stopping your satisfaction from being higher?
- What options do you have to improve your satisfaction?
- What will you do to make the improvement happen?
So, what if we all had the ideal work-life balance? What would your life look like?
I’d like to encourage you to take the time to consider your situation and really answer the questions above. You may discover more than you realise.
I believe in you and I am grateful to you for allowing us to serve you each and everyday!
Donovan Grant is a "Honest and True Step By Step Work-life balance and Career Coach. His systems help the average career changer as well as high flier get extra-ordinary results quickly. www.donovangrant.com.