3 Ways to Challenge the Work-Life Balance Myth

Is there such a thing as work-life balance? If so, should you attempt to strive for it?

Because so many busy professionals grapple with this issue, it’s perhaps worth taking a closer look. Moreover, while everyone’s resources, goals, and priorities all differ, these factors are each relevant in determining how to evaluate individual scenarios. Does your particular situation require further review? Possibly. Possibly not.

If you think there’s an imbalance in your work-life equation, listen up.

Here’s how to know for sure and what to do about it.

1. Ask yourself what you really want. Are you judging your personal and professional satisfaction based on someone else’s resources, goals, and priorities? Not only is this unfair, but by doing so, you may also be sabotaging your success. Instead of speculating, simply ask better questions. What kinds of things do you really want in your life? What makes you happy–sad? What are your personal and professional goals and are you poised to achieve them based on your current behavior? Your answers–and only your answers–will determine whether you need to “upset the apple cart” and change the way you show up in your work-life ecosystem.

2. Acknowledge the ebb and flow of work-life seasons. No matter how you answer the above questions or how well you “prepare,” life is sure to throw some unexpected curve balls requiring an adjustment here and there. Acknowledge and accept that there will be unavoidable times of imbalance. Circumstances are always changing.  An unforeseen challenge? Par for the course. So, be flexible. When these new seasons emerge, be ready to engage them with a fresh perspective.

If you start to feel any resistance, understand that while this is natural, giving over to it can also impede your ability to think clearly and make good decisions. Resistance can often result in unnecessary stress, confusion and even long-term consequences. Give yourself the mental and emotional space to embrace the change that is sure to come. This simple, yet profound shift can position you to be happier, healthier and better equipped to address the ups and downs as they arise.

3. Give yourself permission to determine your destiny without apology. While no man or woman is an island unto him or herself, micromanaging your behavior in an effort to avoid blame or secure praise, is a recipe for disaster.  By judging your thoughts, feelings and behavior based on superficial, extraneous factors, you relinquish your ability to think and act in a way that is consistent with your life’s goal.  Naturally people will have opinions about how you live your life.  It’s to be expected. However, it only becomes a problem when you internalize them, allowing  their opinions  to compromise your thinking, values or ability to make good decisions.

Do you think that there’s an imbalance in your work-life equation? If so, you’re probably right. The truth is, everyone experiences a little disparity  in their lives every now and again. But, don’t beat yourself up. There are no right answers. There are no “perfect people” with “perfectly balanced lives.”  So, cheers to designing and embracing a life that you love, in your own way.

To your success!

Karima Mariama-Arthur

Karima Mariama-Arthur is founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport (www.wordsmithrapport.com), a boutique consulting firm located in Washington, D.C. which specializes in professional development. She consults individuals and organizations on the dynamics of complex communication and high-performance leadership competence.

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.