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What Does Work Life Balance Really Mean?

The concept of ‘balance’ is an ongoing and evolutionary debate.  We’re constantly hearing that we should eat a balanced diet, accomplish a good work/life balance, move more in relation to a somewhat sedentary life and balance cardio vascular workouts with stretching and strengthening exercise … although, what does balance actually mean? The notion of ‘balance’ is an elusive concept.

On the surface, striking a good work life balance appears to be a simple concept, yet, from afar, so few leaders seem to accomplish it – with busy schedules, a 24/7 existence, usually family demands that require attention and a constant need to appease and engage with many stakeholders.  However, people have differing ideas about what is acceptable and tolerable in the space of balance.  ‘Balance’, it seems, is unique to the individual. 

Of course, the notion of ‘balance’ is subjective and so it stands to reason that what may appear as ‘balanced’ to one person may not appear to be so to another.  It is the context of the individual that creates that balance.  This may well be the reason why there’s so much debate in the field of health and nutrition for example, and it may be the reason for the constant battle in the quest for work life balance, there is not one answer for all. 

Thus, the accomplishment of ‘balance’ in one’s work and life starts with ascertaining what it really means for you, you have to give it a personal definition.  There are so many people seeking ‘balance’ without even knowing what it truly is for them.  Most believe it’s a state of harmony and wellbeing where everything is stable, and that would be wonderful. Is this possible though in today’s fast moving, ever changing world? And is this type of balance flexible enough to allow you to ride the waves of life, evolve and accomplish greater goals?

Some of the things people try to accomplish with work life balance aren’t realistic, it does not equate to having a perfect life, or devoting equal attention to every aspect of one’s life at all times, nor is it something you keep forever once you’ve finally attained it.

In essence, ‘balance’ is a journey.  This is because you are taking steps every day to remain in this state of balance, and, just like life, it’s constantly evolving. It entails an ongoing process of self-discovery.

So, it’s a mindset, accomplishing balance means making choices that are in line with your principles and your desires.

It’s also awareness; noticing the impracticalities of dedicating equal amounts of time and energy to all areas of your life consistently, and acceptance of the fact that there will be times when more energy is required for one over another.  For example, if you’ve just started a new role then it’s likely you will wish to give your best attention to your performance. If you’ve just given birth then it is likely you will wish to focus more on your child than anything else.

Above all, balance is very personal.  There is no one in the world who shares your aspirations, dreams, hopes and goals, thus only you can prescribe a balance recipe suited to your needs.  

So, a question to consider today is, what does balance really mean for you?

If you’d like a thinking partner to consider this question – please reach out to

Posted on Wed, July 26, 2017 in Leadership Personal Development
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