Your Balance is Not My Balance

Work life balance is a topic of many discussions. Frankly every time I design a leadership or management program, I get asked to include work life balance as a module. 

Quite often I decline for two important reasons:

  1. Firstly, your idea of balance is not my idea of balance, so which one should I talk about? Shorter working days? Or my idea of balance? Because you can work 4 hours a day in a job or position you absolutely hate and there goes your balance.
  2. Secondly, at times I find companies use the term as a bit of paid lip service. If the job needs to be done and overtime is required, if there is pressure to deliver and you are working in a stressful environment the term will fly out of the window. So, let’s not waste our classroom time on slogans.

Balance is not a foolproof formula. It is an individual choice of what is working for your individual circumstances.

Balance is a combination of the following:

  • Enjoying what you are doing 
  • Family
  • Support network and mentors
  • Downtime

My balance involves strong partnership, work that I love, and kids that watch me excel and sponge off the passion I display and learn from the way I conduct myself.

My balance comes from seeing my young daughter loving to see her mum kick ass. That, she herself, is slowly growing into an assertive and confident young lady. 

My down time and endorphins booster is cooking. I have worked with some of the best chefs in Melbourne that have ignited a love of food that makes me, and my family, happy. 

My balance comes from calling my mentors and talking about the task in hand and, even at times, asking advice on how to get unstuck.

So, my balance might not be your balance

To an outsider looking in, I have no balance. I work silly hours and I travel a lot (though, a little less in this post-pandemic world). But, I make a home-cooked meal for my family every single night and we all sit around the table recounting something good and something not-so-good that happened in our day. 

I don’t go out a lot – my friends are not a high priority in my balance formula. But, I do enjoy sitting down with a nice glass of wine and watching a game of footy or a test match with my husband or binging a trashy TV show. This is how I like to unwind from a hectic work week.

Everyone needs to find their own balance

When you LOVE your work, and get excited to go to work every morning, you might feel balanced. 

When you communicate and build a strong bond with your partner, you might feel balanced. 

When you find little hobbies such as team sports or walking the dog, you might feel balanced. 

When you create a support network filled with awesome, inspiring people, you might feel balanced. 

But how do we achieve that?

To start with, don’t obsess with the hours you work, but the effectiveness of your work, and why you are there to start with. 

I know it’s easier said than done. Some of you will see this as a privileged thought – some of us simply need to work just to pay the bills. So instead, try and find the parts of work that make you happy, or start focusing on finding joy in other areas of your life outside of work.

When I was younger I worked in a cafe to fund a business degree night course. I am a terrible waitress and the thought of working in hospitality did not excite me. So I chose a cafe based on the personalities of the owners. I loved the family who owned the cafe and I was able to make something enjoyable out of something that I absolutely hated doing. 

Talk to your partner or family about where you are right now, how you are feeling and how they can play a role in creating more balance in your life. Partnership is a two-way street. If it is not, then you will never feel balanced no matter how many hours you clock.

Choose something that enriches your soul. Whether this is a solo activity or done as part of a group, it doesn’t matter as long as it removes you from your day to day work. Cook, paint, box in the gym, whatever raises your endorphins. Go for it. 

And most importantly, talk and communicate as much as you can. Keeping things bottled up in your head often causes a STUCK FEELING and compromises the feeling of balance. This can make you incredibly unproductive, so break it down with your team, family or even therapist.

It is not a foolproof formula.

It takes adjusting and tweaking, but never stop trying to find your own balance.

About The Author <p class="admin-name">Oshi Kirk</p>

About The Author

Oshi Kirk

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