There is No Such Thing as Work-Life Balance

by Simla on April 30, 2011

We go around looking for the holy grail of “work-life balance,” and fail to find it again and again. It’s fleeting at best, it’s the promised land that seems as far away as ever as we paddle furiously towards it, trying so hard to make it happen.

We think that, if only we did things “right”, we could have this magical equilibrium between our personal and business lives. One that makes us and everyone around us happy.

By definition, however, balance is a state of micro-adjustments, not a single, perfect, static state that you can hold indefinitely.

Try this: stand on one foot, close your eyes to really tune in, and try to stand still for as long as you want. Impossible. Even if you’re able to stand erect, notice how the 20 muscles and 26 bones in your foot are clamoring to hold you so. Your brain, at the same time, is sending 10,000s of commands to do the same.

Life changes all the time. And  – news break! – there’s no real separation between “personal” and “business”, is there? It’s all part of our big, messy, and hopefully happy, lives. The different parts of our lives, the different roles we play – these all blend, shift, and merge constantly. Especially as entrepreneurs!

So what is work-life balance, really?

It’s having poise and grace that springs from a deeper place of assuredness when there’s chaos around.

It’s a subtle state of surrender in which you retain your free will but submit to the mystery of the life swirling around you, trusting that there’s rhyme and reason to what’s happening, even if you can’t see it.

It’s a state of mind.

So how do you attain this state of mind?

In my experience there are FIVE things that contribute to this state of mind, which I believe to be the true essense of balance.

#1 Energy

When you’re tired, the whole world looks tired to you. You project – we all do – what we perceive, and most of what we perceive comes from what and how we feel. If you’re tired, again what’s going on with your mood? It’s probably dragging too. Your mental focus, your drive, your belief in yourself and your abilities, all are tarnished when you’re tired. How can you keep up with your life and maintain a resilient, flexible mindset when you’re tired.

Where are you going to find this energy? You’re going to regenerate your own. You have the source. You’re just not feeding it, cultivating it, and protecting it correctly yet. When you do, it flourishes, often in as little as a week or two.

The food you eat; the sleep you get; the self-care you guiltlessly give yourself; moving your body the way it naturally craves; doing what makes you happy; being true to yourSELF; the relationships, mental focus and beliefs you cultivate… all of these factor into creating steady, strong energy.

#2 Being present

This is basically the ability to stop living in the past and to stop living in fast-forward. A lot of our sense of overwhelm comes from our double-edged sword, our brilliant human brain and its ability to store oodles of information about the past, as well as envision the future.

When we think about our massive to-do lists, our heads are living in the future, divorced from our bodies and the physical truth in front of us, and our ability to exert control over what we really can – the here and now. All we see is the hypothetical future and mountains of to-do’s that stretches out in front of us, rather than the single to-do we can attend to in this moment.

Talk about discord! No wonder we get overwhelmed!

And this is connected to…

#3 Living in a state of flow

The one described by athletes when they are in the “zone”.

The one I’m sure you’ve experienced at times, when you were so engrossed in something that you no longer felt tethered by worry, or by time, or by should’s. You just did it and did it well. Playing as a child and not realizing it was dinner time? Running, feeling naturally high, lost in the music coming from your iPod? Well, athletes are known for this for a reason, because most are trained to create this flow on command. It’s a learnable skill.

It’ll help you stop living with your heels dug in, resisting life, and instead help you start living like you mean it.

#4 Giving things their due space and attention; no more, no less

This includes the ability to give to yourself and to receive generously and find joy even when your mind only sees “lack”.

For this, you need to shift your perspective. This is a muscle you can strengthen, and that muscle is called “pollyanna” – just kidding. But, you know what, we are unique in having the ability to make CHOICES and decide what our perception of any given situation is going to be. And you can learn and practice this skill until it is more second nature.

Of course life has bumps, sometimes huge ones. Sometimes it’s plain shitty. But you can choose, you can DECIDE, that that’s not going to drag you down. And every moment is a new opportunity to reshape, redo, release.

If you’re stuck in the lack, what you probably need first is to establish some perspective. Look around. Get out of your head and out into the world, even if for 10 minutes. Watch the news (the only time I recommend this) to see how, relatively speaking at least, just how wonderful and full of possibilites your life is.

#5 Following your bliss & not should’ing on yourself

Do more of what your heart and gut say; less of what your head insists you “should”.

Not there yet? You need to make room for it. Create little spaces. Remember what it’s like to daydream? Do it.

Not realistic, you say? I will challenge you on that.

Achieve True Balance

Join in on the conversation, exploration and dedication to true balance here.

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Simla Somturk Wickless, MBA, CHC, CNE, is the founder of Delicious Health LLC. Simla is a health, nutrition, and balanced living coach whose mission is to transform Busy Bodies into healthy, Balanced beings TM. Simla loves working with women entrepreneurs, professionals, and autoimmune clients to help them double their energy, tame their stress, get to their natural weight without dieting, and take back control of their health to live intensely pleasurable and impactful lives. Learn more  at www.EnjoyDeliciousHealth.com or www.DeliciousHealthBlog.com.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nicole | Chic Cheap Nursery May 26, 2011 at 7:34 am

Great article! Everyone talks about a work-life balance but it doesn’t exist. Especially when you work for yourself.
Surrender and energy are key to keeping our sanity =)

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