Redefining work-life balance

I hate the term work/life balance and I want to challenge you to think about it differently. Isn’t your work part of your life? Of course it is. The term work/life balance implies work and life are separate. The term sets work and life against each other, and the thought that follows is that you are either working too much and living too little or vice versa. The term diminishes that work can be a rewarding part of a person’s life.

I don’t believe women want work/life balance. Women want to live satisfying lives both personally and professionally. They want to know that both are possible at the same time. They don’t want to have to sacrifice their personal priorities in order to have a satisfying career. I believe women want personal and professional satisfaction.

Personal and professional satisfaction run hand in hand. If you are satisfied at work you are more likely to be satisfied in life and vice versa. This change in mind set can make all the difference – I know it did in my life.

For a long time I struggled with working too much because I wanted to be a high achiever and feel successful. I felt guilty if I left the office at decent hour, like I wasn’t giving my company enough. The thing is I was working around the clock and found myself constantly exhausted. I may have been achieving at work but I was generally unhappy.

An amazing thing happened when I stopped pitting work and life against each other and realized satisfaction in my personal life leads to satisfaction in my professional life – I believe I found the illusive balance I had been seeking.  Instead of feeling guilty for leaving work right when the clock hits five, I remind myself that I’m working on my personal satisfaction which will, in turn, make me a better employee.

It is not always easy. I have to challenge myself to look at my life as a whole and think about work/life balance differently. I have to challenge myself and put my work down, practice self-care and come back to my work refreshed. I have to work towards making both my personal life and work life sustainable and high satisfying.

Today, I challenge you to look at work/life balance differently. I challenge you to view you work as a part of your life instead of pitting them against each other. Stop aiming for the illusive work/life balance and start aiming for personal and professional satisfaction.

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