Are you walking a work-life balance tightrope?
A high-wire acrobat elevated above the crowd is an awe-inspiring sight. Success for her means achieving and maintaining perfect balance. She does this through superb concentration and by tightening and relaxing the muscles all over her body. It’s stressful – especially knowing that even a minor error or lack of balance could result in sudden death. While trying to maintain a perfect work-life balance won’t necessarily lead to sudden death, it can be pretty stressful on your health! Yet I’ve seen countless people get strung out because they fear they don’t have the perfect work-life balance they seek.
Like A Recent Client…
“So what do you want to achieve?” I asked her.
“Well, really I just want to achieve a work-life balance,” she responded.
“Hmm, and what exactly is a work-life balance?”
Like many others, she seemed confused. She mumbled something about, “having more time for herself” and then confessed she didn’t really know. I told her I thought that the concept of work-life balance was a load of nonsense. That, in trying to achieve it, she was just setting herself up for failure and causing undue stress and angst.
Look More Closely
Look at the concept more closely and it becomes apparent why problems arise…
There are some intriguing assumptions buried within the language of the statement, “I want to achieve a work-life balance.”
For example, that:
Let’s Examine Each One Further
Examine each assumption further and you begin to see how unrealistic striving for balance really is:
Let’s see if this is possible. Make a note of all the things you do in a day and the amount of time you spend doing them.Example:
Now Categorise Each Into Work Or Life.
The example list adds up to over 23 hours and for most of us, there are a lot more things that we fit into a day. And no doubt we would each classify those activities differently. For some people exercising is ‘work’ for others it is ‘life’. Travelling would no doubt be the same.
But, What About Multi-Tasking?
Even if you can overlap them and multi-task there are some things it wouldn’t be ‘cool’ or even wise to combine; cleaning teeth and eating, for example. Could get a bit messy! Sleeping while at work or watching TV are likewise somewhat counter-productive!
When you are able to do two things at the same time, like watching TV and eating, how do you categorise each activity? What about the time you are asleep? Presumably sleeping is not ‘work’ so must be ‘life’! But it wouldn’t be much of a life if you slept all the time!
When you’ve classified each of the activities into ‘work’ and ‘life’ do the number of hours spent in each ‘balance’? Do they even add up to 24??!
OK. Here Are Some ‘Stupid Questions’ For You To Ponder:
And The Point Is?
Maybe, it’s more important to think about combining different and essential aspects of our lives. Use common sense and have consideration for the ‘important others’ who participate in our life’s journey. And be consciously aware of how we’re using each of the precious moments we have.
It’s perfectly OK – NO! – More than O.K. – it’s completely natural to be out of balance in how you run your life. Make sure you love your life, including your work – so much that any boundaries dissolve. Then worrying about walking the tightrope of perfect balance will become irrelevant. Spread the word because the quicker the majority of us realise this the sooner we’ll be able to chill out, relax and enjoy a fun life.
Steph is the Head Consultant and Director of MetaMorphosis. She's a Writer, Soft Skills Trainer, NLP Master Coach Trainer, Coach and Mentor.
Moments in Life and NLP
Recently I spent three days in the beautiful Waitakere Ranges at the wonderful Aio Wera Retreat participating in a Clowning workshop.
If you know me, you will know that I am not one for the ordinary and I generally have an energy level - married with a desire to entertain - that can get me into all kinds of strife.
Clowning is the answer. Having recently been accepted to train as a Clown Doctor (http://clowndoctors.org.nz/) I thought it pertinent to begin the training with a three day intensive and not one to take things gently I dived in like a Olympic high diver looking for gold.
Wow. To be given the space, time and motivation to literally drop into a childlike state for three days is an absolute gift, and was and continues to be an absolute eye opener.
Opening my eyes for the first time as a clown, something shifted. I had permission to explore, smile, cry, jump and do all those things that we generally are not 'allowed' to do. Such a liberating experience to open the heart, mind and body to the possibilities of the imagination.
The takeaway - 'MOMENTS'
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
Moments came like fantails and whistled, chirped and played in the air of imagination and suddenly there was potential, learning, excitement and silence. Moments where there is the breath. Moments where there is the touch of the air on the skin, the buzz of a bee, or magically when a garden hose suddenly becomes a prop for a fantasy... mmmm.
Why is this important?
Clowning is a modelling tool. An eyes, ears, heart and mind open experience where there is total immersion in the moment and in whatever the environment brings to us. There was a moment when transcendence occurred, when the "what can I control" model had gone and was replaced by 'being and doing for the hell of it'. In that moment there was only play and play for the sheer enjoyment of play.
I remember Richard Bandler in an early interview suggesting that laughter in the first 10 minutes of a session, no matter what the 'issue', is important for opening the mind and the heart to new possibilities. When laughter occurs, when the unexpected or the questionable; when the moment produces something that cannot be predicted - magic happens and in that moment - and I will speak for myself here - I realise that I am not all that I have learned I am (labels with social meaning) I am in fact in process - a clown looking for itself and making an absolute ass of myself in the process.
Try something that opens the moments to you. An activity that can potentially dissolve the illusions that we have decided to accept as being the only truths.
Gregory Bateson once said "It is impossible, in principle, to explain any pattern by invoking a single quantity." In Clowning there is no singularity, there is no answer and when we are in the moment there are no mistakes... there is only feedback.
The current President of NZANLP, Aaron is a Personal Development & Life Coach Specialising in Sleep, Trauma, Anxiety and related issues.