A New Beginning For The Work-Life Balance
“If you put love into what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
– Julia Lopez
I’ve raised my voice on the topic of “the work-life balance” before, and it’s time to have another go at it. Because I’ve gained new insight, but mostly because it is still an issue for so many people – and therefore an interest for me.
This is what I wrote in my previous article on the topic:
“I couldn’t be more grateful for the life I live, but I also take full responsibility for it. When I feel happy, it’s because it rises from inside of me; when I feel sad, that’s also because I let the sadness be. To me, that’s where the work-life balance ends: balancing between happy and sad moments — to stay fully conscious through all of it — is not confined to either work or life. It’s always there. In line at the supermarket, when I’m coaching, while lying on the beach, or even while writing this…”
I still agree with what I wrote then, except for the ending of the work-life balance, which I’d like to replace with a new beginning.
The article by Julia Lopez (where the above quote comes from), and a recent conversation about my burn-out, made me realize how chasing after one’s passion can become stressful – in the same way a job can be stressful. Moreover, trying to discover what one’s passion is can feel like work. And if that’s what it ends up being, well, then where does the life-work balance end?
In my opinion, therefore, the work-life balance comes down to two pivotal points: awareness and choice.
The many articles about finding balance between our work and our time spent on other priorities (family, me-time, etc.) come down to one thing: becoming aware of how we divide our time between those two elements (for tips, check for example this article and this article). If we wish to change something, we must first become aware. Where do our boundaries lie? It’s easy to become aware of the moment we’ve crossed a boundary: it’s often when we become cross with someone/something. Think about it. If you’d be in a happy and relaxed state of mind, would that same person/thing have bothered you just as much?
The awareness then leads to the realization of the choices we make.
As Julia Lopez has put it:
“Especially at this moment in time, you can do almost anything to make a living. But this truth doesn’t have to look like the glamorized trend of entrepreneurial wanderlust: You absolutely can have a boring job and still live an extraordinary life.
If you want to have a career that is full of meaning, you can no longer make it the job’s responsibility to add value to your work. It is also not your job’s responsibility to make you happy.”
I see so many people choosing a job for one purpose only: it pays the bills. They drag themselves through the working hours, mostly looking forward to the weekend or an upcoming vacation. To me, that appears to be a waste of life-time well spent. However, in agreement with the above quote, this is not due to the job. It’s the attitude these people carry towards their work. If they’d be able to perceive the same job as time well spent, instead of a mere medium to make money, it would probably change their lives already.
You see, the choice refers back to the awareness.
When looking at the choices we’ve made, we also become aware of other options. Alternative options such as other jobs or other ways to make money. One thing I have learned as an entrepreneur, is that money doesn’t have to come from work alone. Other ways are renting out a place you own, or through financial investments. Not to say that I am an expert, but to open up your creative mind to other options.
It’s your life, it’s your work, it’s your choice how to balance the two.
And thus, we have arrived at a new beginning for the work-life balance. One that starts with awareness, and – hopefully – ends with putting love into what you do.