In the first two articles in my series on Work Life Balance (‘Redefining Work Life Balance’ & ‘Juggling Commitments’ I explored how the term work life balance has become outdated. What’s the point in having work and personal life balanced, if the quality of both is poor. In this age of hybrid working it’s really about juggling the commitments we have to others with the commitments we have to ourselves and our families. In this final part, I pose the question – what does balance feel like to me?
If we sense our lives are out of balance, it presupposes we have an idea of what balance is, was or could be? It means we have an inner barometer, an inner spirit level against which we can gauge our sense of balance. That gauge is our emotions. They are the tuning fork, the indicator of alignment.
Being in balance is simply about feeling good. You could be working 12 hours a day, getting a business off the ground, pivoting a product offering and being in balance because you are loving it. Someone else could be working 12 hours a day, stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted and be completely out of balance.
When I think of balance I think of inner peace and flow. Negative emotion, stress, frustration, annoyance, anxiety, anger they’re all indications that we’ve drifted out of balance. Personally, I view this as no longer being aligned with my Higher Self. Therefore the question to ask ourselves frequently is – how balanced do I feel in this moment?
This question invites us into the witness position, the place where we can take a moment to reflect, to observe our attitude and habits of behaviour. From here, I can ponder what knocked me out of balance, exploring questions such as what am I really reacting to, or what old pattern has been triggered? It reminds us to set our intention, the quality of consciousness I’m bringing into the day.
Work life balance is fluid, never static. It’s not something we can fix and lock into place as life is too complex for that. Like life, there are cycles and constant change. Rather than seeing the relationship between work and personal life as a seesaw, a more apt analogy is that of an orchestra that you get to conduct.
In the past, I posed the question, what does balance look like? Without a blueprint or a vision for the intersections of the different aspects of our lives, it is challenging to create an equitable work life balance. In recent times, I’ve purposefully changed the verb to ‘feel.’ Why? Firstly, because behind every goal, dream and action is ultimately a request to feel better, to feel more positive emotions. Secondly, because balance is not logical or prescriptive, it’s emotional.
Because no one knows the commitments you are seeking to juggle, or what balance means to you, better than you, I’m closing with some reflection questions.
Sometimes it’s too easy to overlook how far we’ve come, routines or habits we were brave enough to try and that we’ve found benefit us. This first question invites us to acknowledge these.
If you are interested in this topic then I invite you to listen to episode 108 of my podcast Your Time With James Sweetman where I explore what work life balance means today and do join my community below by subscribing to my monthly newsletter so you never miss any of my latest updates.