One of my favourite podcasts is The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes, and he recently interviewed Jay Papasan, co-author of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.
It’s a great interview, enough so that I just ordered the book on my Kindle app, complete with the professional narration option so I can listen to it in the car (it’s all about finding time, right?). I can’t wait to read it and soak it all in, but I can’t really tell you anything about it at this point. The reason for this particular blog post is one thing (no pun intended) that Jay Papasan said during the interview.
“Work-life balance isn’t a thing. It’s a verb.”
WOW. People all over the world, and I would venture to say especially women, are constantly striving for work/life balance, as if it is something you can ACHIEVE. Sheryl Sandberg has an entire empire devoted to encouraging women to “sit at the table” of their careers while still maintaining a healthy family life. I LOVE her book and its messages. But I’ve always looked at the idea of work-life balance as something you either had, didn’t have, or had in small glimpses in between the chaos.
As Jay Papasan said, “The idea of work-life balance is being sold to us as a destination.” In my mind it’s always been a place you will one day get to, if you just work hard enough, sacrifice enough, and stress yourself out enough.
BUT. When you re-frame it to think of the concept as less of a concept and more of a VERB, everything changes. Work-life balance is something you DO. You BALANCE between work and non-work. Between work and family.
You never “have” balance. You keep balanced. You balance your priorities. It’s an active word, something you actively do and make choices about. You choose how you balance between work and life. Some days work takes more time, some days you can devote the full day to your loved ones. You balance yourself and your life.
It’s actually empowering. Instead of “I’m trying to find work-life balance,” choose to say “I balance between work and life.” It’s not elusive, because YOU ARE DOING IT. You’re in control.
How do you balance your work and your life?