The 'Work-Life Balance' Thing Is Nothing But A Myth

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The Work-Life Balance Thing Only Creates Stress And Anxiety
Family, Love

You need to try THIS new way of thinking.

Work-life balance is a topic I've watched remain a consistent source of stress and anxiety over the last 25-plus years of conversations in my personal and professional lives.

When I hear this issue raised, I always think back to a time several years ago when my wife and I attended a mind-blowing performance of Cirque du Soleil. This particular show included horses — riders balancing between them, trading spaces from one horse to another, twirling objects around, and all of the typically wondrous techniques unique to a Cirque performance.

I sat mesmerized, thinking to myself, “How do they do that? What tremendous balance!”

At intermission I had the opportunity to speak with one of the performers, who was still on stilts as he sold show memorabilia next to me. As he looked down I said, “I am so impressed with the balance of you and your fellow performers! I'm a life coach and I work with my clients to achieve balance in their life. You're just amazing!” 

He replied, in his charming French Canadian accent,“Obviously monsieur, you were not paying attention. We only achieve balance momentarily … we are in a constant state of motion!”

Wow! The insight that came to me at that moment was palatable. I left the show thinking what he said is exactly what I have believed all these years, and had not yet been able to articulate it so well.

We can all strive for balance between our activities, both those we choose and those we have no choice but to make work, but to succeed, we MUST select a place on which we center ourselves — a core space of strength to come back to in those moments in time when the competing energies in our lives draw us off center.

When using the common leadership tool — the Life Balance Wheel — most coaches show their client the main categories of their life, asking them to score their level of satisfaction with each.


Most teach that we should all strive to make the wheel round, getting the same high number in each category. 

I believe this wheel is a useful. But instead as one to look at our relative levels of satisfaction in each life area at any given time, knowing these levels will ebb and flow as our circumstances change — and then change again. The wheel is a measure of energy, focus, and satisfaction, not a static attempt to get high scores and then achieve constant balance.

I also believe it is crucial to find both a daily centering activity, as well an instant "center" we can look to in times of weakening balance.

Daily centering could mean meditation, walks in nature, yoga, Tai chi, or reading. An instant center is a place we can go to in our mind and body when our balance feels most thrown in a dizzying loop.

This is the reason people instinctively feel the need or desire to take vacations away from their routine. Our balance is actually restored when we MOVE — when we embrace the constant state of motion the Cirque performer taught me about. 

Here are 5 simple steps to creating a place of balance you can apply to centering yourself in both your personal and professional lives.

1. Find a calming place to sit for a moment.

2. Think of the most beautiful place you have ever been, or have dreamed of visiting.

3. Go to that place in your imagination and pay attention to every detail of the sounds, sights, and emotional feelings that place brings to you.  

4. This is your place of power, security and centering. Go there in your mind whenever you need to be energized or calmed. 

5. Create a centering routine around this vision which you can do effortlessly. A daily walk in nature, bicycling, tai Chi, yoga, inspirational reading and journaling, meditating … anything you choose to have available to you to do routinely.

Dr. Pat is an internationally acclaimed coach and speaker. His recently released book, 'Getting Naked: On Emotional Transparency At The Right Time, In The Right Place, With The Right Person' is available on and Balboa Press



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