Does the phrase "work-life balance" make sense to you? (Because the truth is, it doesn't make sense to me.)
I've got to be honest with you. I am not a believer in work-life balance. It sounded good until I started thinking about how true work-life balance would look if I applied it to my own life.
Then it sounded totally unachievable.
How can you find balance in a world where you are pulled in different directions all the time?
When you are chased by deadlines 24/7 and everything is urgent and top priority.
How can you find balance when your job requires you to travel and you are hardly ever at home?
When I was in corporate, I felt the only way to get my to-do list shorter was to work harder and longer, or to just quit. And, quitting at that time was unrealistic.
Can you relate to the problems I see with so-called work-life balance?
Yet, regardless of how unrealistic it sounds, experts continue to tell us we all need more work-life balance. I don't get it!
Balance implies you must spend 50 percent of your time at work and the other 50 percent on your life. Balancing your life and work would require a cookie-cutter life, where everything is the same every day. That's impossible. Life is messy; things happen that require you to adjust your plans. And sometimes, you DO have to work a little longer and harder than usual. That's the nature of work.
I don't believe, as a rule, people should segment their lives into an equal, 50:50 distribution of work and life.
Each individual should determine the ratio. What feels right to YOU is what works best.
For some of you, devoting 80 percent of your time to work and 20 percent life sounds ideal. For others, the breakdown might feel better when you spend 30 percent of your time and energy at work and 70 percent on your life.
Balance is unique to each person. There is not one right ratio that fits all lifestyles.
Work-life balance makes it sound as if you have two different faces: One for work and another for home.
I believe your work is part of your life. In this fast-paced, demanding world we live in, to be truly successful, your life needs to be seamless when it comes to work and life.
Your work and personal life should be integrated. There is no clean line to draw between the two worlds. To truly embrace the leadership lifestyle, you need to see your work and career as one of the aspects that make up your whole life.
So, from this point forward, toss out that old myth about the need to balance work and life. Like everything else in life, finding a rhythm and equilibrium that suits YOUR needs is best.
I coach and teach my clients to live a purpose-based, leadership lifestyle. The core of this lifestyle is living every aspect of your life in harmony with your core values.
I believe each of us have our own unique leadership lifestyle. So do you.
Nozomi Morgan, MBA, is a certified Executive Coach and the Founder and President of Michiki Morgan Worldwide LLC. Addition to coaching, she speaks and trains on leadership, career, professional development and cross-cultural business communication.