When I told a colleague that I was going to take two extra days for myself in the interest of life/work balance after I was done working in Florida, she was aghast. “How can you consider that life/work balance when it means you’ll be away from home and family? “My idea of work/life balance is to stay home with my husband and daughter,” she proclaimed.”
It’s easy to tell other people how to run their lives. It’s also easy to tell people where they’ve “gone wrong.” If the intention is to help others enjoy their life and work, then leave them alone unless they ask for advice or feedback.
Work/Life balance is personal. People are happier and healthier when they have an internal sense of life/work balance, but it’s not the same for everyone. As a consultant to individuals and organizations my role is to help my clients determine what ideal work/life balance would look like for them, assess their present life and work and develop a strategy to close their balance gap.
Some of the ways that people reach their ideal balance would put me in a state of high anxiety. I don’t want to fly a plane for relaxation. I hate turbulence. I’m not going to go rock climbing, skydiving or bungee jumping. Any of those activities would cause great emotional and mental discomfort. At the same time, I would jump out of my skin spending hours crocheting, or fishing.
I’ve had colleagues who got burned out consulting, and then went to work for corporations. They’re happier, calmer and are able to be more present with their families. OTOH, I was extra stressed as an employee and found a better balance when I started my own business. There is no formula that works for everyone!
When my colleague was aghast that I was taking two extra days for myself, I told her that I’m a single parent of a teen-age boy and that I had been in a bad accident in 2008. I was hit by a car and run over. I had lots of time to spend at home with my son whose company I enjoy. In fact I spent several months in my living room, on my couch, not able to walk. I relished the opportunity to relax, swim, and be alone for two days. It was wonderful, and I came back renewed, more patient, and resilient. I know my son appreciated my two days away.
At any moment, life as we know it can make an abrupt turn.
Don’t spend too much time worrying what other people think about you. Actually don’t spend any time worrying about their opinions.
Decide for yourself what will help your sense of balance. Take some action and enjoy, you will be more productive, creative and fun to be around. You’ll be a better family member, friend and colleague.
Simma Lieberman Associates
Consultant, Speaker, Author
Diversity and Inclusion, Gender Communications, Power Living
1185 Solano Ave. PMB 142
Albany, CA 94706
Helping People and Organizations Create Profitable Cultures
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