True happiness is possible, but ideal "balance" is not.
We're told it's the holy grail of a successful, happy life — achieving that magical, yet elusive "work-life balance" everyone's always talking about.
But what does that even look like? The term implies having some kind of an equal relationship between your work and the rest of your life. It also implies that this relationship should be constant and stable.
It's an idealistic way to view life. I'd also say, unrealistic.
Because, in reality, we all know that life is more like a roller-coaster, with unpredictable ups and downs. And that will never change.
When one part of our life is going great, another part may be in total chaos, and vice versa. The more we try to perfect one part, the more you use up energy and end up feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and have less resources to maintain the rest of your life.
Perfection does not equal happiness.
Work and life aren't separate from one another and never will be. That's a myth. Our work is an extension of who we are, as are other areas in our life. Instead of focusing on work-life balance, a better path to happiness is striving for inner-balance.
Achieving inner-balance involves asking yourself more often:
- What do I really want and why is that important to me?
- How is what I want, playing out in my life right now? Am I on track with what I want? If not, why?
- Where do I need to pull in the reigns and take responsibility for things that are not on track?
Starting with these bigger picture questions means you'll think (and then, act) to ensure that everything in your life right now is tied to your bigger picture.
This means making sure your broader life is collectively tied to purpose and meaning. People who have a sense of purpose and meaning in their life are much happier people ... now, in the present. They're not concerned with work-life balance.
When your inner-self is in balance, you're more likely to handle challenges with courage when life throws you curve balls, because deep down, you know that curve balls help you grow. They help you learn and stretch your capacity to the next level so you can be more, do more, feel more and achieve more — not just for you, but for humanity.
Every moment of your life defines your next step. If you strive merely for balance, you’ll ultimately strive for comfort, ease and equilibrium.
Striving for work-life balance can sub-consciously make you want to settle for less than your full potential.
Remember, each area of your life is there to teach you how to step into your big girls shoes and take responsibility, learn new things, grow up and help others do the same. All roads lead to Rome in this way.
Suzi Petrozzi is a Wellness Psychologist + Women's Empowerment Coach. She empowers smart professional women how to get clear on what they want, take charge of their life and make it happen! To download Suzi's Get on Track Guided Meditation and Workbook go to www.clearthementalclutter.com.