Is achieving work-life balance a myth?
As we come to the end of yet another busy season, some of us are considering at the professional and personal imbalances in our lives and looking to regain harmony between the two.
However, for some, season doesn’t end with the changing of the temperature and the struggle to achieve balance seems to be ongoing. Do you find yourself consistently feeling guilty over the activities you’re missing or quality time you don’t have with family or friends? Are you constantly apologizing or taking a rain-check on plans because the demands of your professional life are overlapping with your ability to meet the needs of important people in your life?
It is a common theme among passionate, driven people to overextend and overestimate your individual ability to maintain a rigorous performance schedule over a long period of time. Highly driven people rarely make allowances for unforeseen and inevitable circumstances that plague all of us like sickness, travel delays, family concerns or any other item that cannot be scheduled into an electronic calendar. Nevertheless, the harder we push, the more likely it seems that we will hit one of these inevitable roadblocks.
So what about finding balance? The elusive and blissful intersection between personal fulfillment and professional drive is considered to be little more than a mirage to many, but does it have to be? Or are we viewing the whole idea of balance incorrectly? Recently I had the pleasure of hearing Gay Gaddis, the CEO of T3 in Austin TX, speak at a luncheon and as the Founder of the largest female-owned advertising agency in the country, she claims that ‘balance is a myth.’ She encourages professionals and especially women to ‘let go of the guilt’ and understand that there will be times when life is extremely out of balance, and there will be times when it isn’t. Gaddis’ company was recently named of the top five innovation agencies in the world, and after more than 25 years in business, that’s no small accomplishment.
Is what Gaddis claims true? After all, she is only one woman. However, her opinion begs the question that we are viewing the idea of achieving balance incorrectly. For highly passionately individuals, achieving balance might look a lot like finding work that ignites and inspires instead of leaving you drained at the end of the day. Finding balance might take shape in the ability to accept the quieter times with the same peace as the highly productive ones. Letting go of the guilt associated with seasons of intense demand while also allowing ourselves freedom the relax when the schedule changes is essential.