Do you want to improve your work-life balance? You’re not alone. Google it, and you’ll get over 600 million results on the phrase. Many people want to help you with it, and I’m one of them.
Most of the advice you hear about how to achieve work-life balance—meditate, unplug, let go of perfectionism, exercise, etc—is all largely unhelpful. Although these strategies are great for stress management, they don’t address the real issue: there’s no such thing as work-life balance in the first place.
The work-life balance phrase is a false polarity. Work and life are neither opposite nor separate. Life is the solar system of you, and work is merely one planet inside it. This is obvious, right? So why do people frame it otherwise? (Click to Tweet)
When you don’t see your work as an expression of yourself and a part of your life-purpose, but rather as something you “have to do” so you can do what you want in your free time—you will have work-life balance issues.
Alternatively, when you can relate to your work as an expression of you and your deepest values, and as an opportunity to challenge yourself and achieve your personal goals, the work-life balance largely happens automatically.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life?”
It’s a great idea that points in the right direction, but this cliché is impossible to embody. Whatever you do, there are going to be parts of it you don’t love. What happens then? You’re trapped in the life-work, love-hate polarity again.
The answer is to relate to the parts you love and the parts you hate in the same way, as serving you in a way that matters. Begin with this question, and sincerely answer it:
How am I using my job to become more who I want to be?
Make a practice of seeing and feeling that every part of your job can help you become that person. Everything is an opportunity designed to test you, to develop you, to hone you into a greater version of yourself. And here’s a hint: it doesn’t matter what your job is.
If you don’t like 99% of your job, then use it to prepare for the job you want to have next.
The alternative is mediocrity, depression, and whining about having to work too much. If you practice those things every day, what do you think you’ll get good at? Is that what you want to be able to tell your next potential boss when your dream job finally comes along?
If you’re a business owner, the same question applies. AND you’re also responsible for making sure everyone in your business has a compelling answer and that you’re supporting them with it. Want your people to be more engaged, more responsible, and care as much as you do? This is the way.
If you really take this question seriously, work-life balance issues disappear. Alternatively, you could take your lunch outside on sunny days and see how well that works. That seems easier, after all, doesn’t it? 😉
Wanna learn more about how you can use your job to help you lead a more fulfilled life? Check out the Clear and Open Dojo, where we tackle issues like this, and members work together and support each other in achieving their personal and professional goals.