The term work-life balance gets thrown around so easily these days doesn’t it? In fact, on my podcast I often find the phrase rolling off my tongue without even realising it. It completely throws me off course because I honestly hate the phrase. I believe we all need to stop searching for that perfect work-life balance. What’s more, is that I know I’m not the first and I won’t be the last person to entertain this idea, that some may find crazy. I mean why wouldn’t you want a perfect work-life balance?
What Does Achieving ‘Work-Life’ Balance Even Mean?
More and more people are challenging the term work-life balance right now and each for different reasons. Some of the self-help gurus out there claim that to create a life we love we must be prepared to hustle hard. Their opinion is a little like this: don’t expect to take 4 days off and then make a million bucks. Whilst, I do believe hard work always pays off I don’t agree that you can’t find a balance and every day has to be hustle because I don’t believe that to be true for a second. Every single one of us can live a balanced life we are obsessed with. It’s just about approaching the idea of a work-life balance a little differently.
To me, the term work-life balance is crap because it separates both work and life. It’s setting a precedent that our ‘work’ and ‘life’ are two separate entities altogether which again is total crap right? The work we do is a huge part of our lives professional and personal. No matter what we do career-wise it’s going to have an impact on our lives for better or for worse.
We shouldn’t be out there searching for the perfect work-life balance.
We should be hunting for a life where our career compliments the life we wish to lead, that’s what finding a work-life balance means to me.
Society paints us a picture of what our working lives should look like. Spend all week at work and be grateful for the 2 days we get off in return. Or work night shifts for half of our careers so that we can then be grateful for just working days once we’ve done our fair share.
We are taught to create a work-life balance by fitting in life around our careers because we’ve got to eat and pay bills right? So we’ve got to work. This picture that society paints and that so many of us grow up learning how to follow is destroying our mental health. I believe it is possible to create a life where your career is tailored around your life, not your life tailored around your career. It’s why I’m retraining to be a coach so I can teach others, like you, exactly how to do this!
I see tired and unhappy people in their work, day after day because they are missing out on precious family time. So often it takes a tragedy to get people to wake up, smell the coffee and change their lives. BUT it doesn’t have to take a tragedy to find and create an epic balance between career and personal life.
This question isn’t can we live an awesome life we can’t get enough of, the question is how.
It’s about defining your version of balance right now and taking some action steps towards achieving it.
I wanted to share a little exercise with you that will get you on the right track when it comes to creating a life where your career and personal life are in harmony with one another.
Grab a paper and pen or a new word doc, whatever works for you, and start by thinking about what your life would look like if you were in 100% in control of your schedule. Below I’m going to give you some journal prompts which will really help get you thinking outside the box.
I want you to create an idea of how you’d like to spend your time both in terms of career and home life. I’m fully giving you permission here to take some time to yourself, brew a great cuppa, light a candle, get cosy and really dig deep.
How many days would you work? Would you want to work longer days but work less of them? Do you dream of working from home? Would you like to work shifts instead of 9-5?
What would your ideal working week look like and dream big. I know somebody who works for 4 hours a day a couple of times a week and makes more than she did at her corporate job, it’s possible. So shoot for stars and think about how long you’d like to spend working in an average week.
What would you like to spend your working days doing? If you could have your dream career what would it be? Would you be doing exactly what you’re doing right now or something completely different? Again, shoot for the stars and really dig deep, don’t hold anything back.
When I did this exercise I noticed that my heart was pulling me in a different direction career-wise. You may know that I’m a qualified nurse and whilst I love the job, I don’t love what comes with it. When I got really deep into my own soul after a lot of work with my own coach I realised that nursing really didn’t give me the life I craved.
I long to work from home so that I can spend time with family, I don’t want to work the long hours anymore, I don’t want to work night shifts but I found I still want to help people – enter coaching. This exercise really gets you thinking about what you truly desire. So really think about what you’d like to spend your days doing.
Perhaps you love your current role but want something different from it? Are you a classroom teacher who longs for a position which involves less classroom time? A nurse who wants to become more creative in her role? A blogger who desires to write full time rather than scraping a few hours together here and there? Maybe you’re a business owner who is fed up of the responsibility and just wants to answer to someone else again and get rid of the pressure. The possibilities are endless so dig deep sister and start to uncover what your heart desires.
Write a list of actions you’d need to take make these aspirations possible
Do you need to retrain or take a course? Would it require you to be in a certain financial situation before taking the leap? Do you need to speak with your boss or start searching for similar jobs in your field that are more suited to you? Would you need to have a conversation with your partner about making a change? Think about what steps you’d need to take to get there. Just start with 1 or 2 really simple things.
For example, when I knew I wanted to consider life coaching as a career I started researching how you became a life coach and reached out on Instagram to a few coaches to ask about their experiences.
Write a list of what’s stopping you from making those changes and following those desires
When I first thought about changing my career from nurse to life coach I was riddled with fear and reasons why I couldn’t do it. Finances, fear of failure oh it all came up and now I want you to see what comes up for you. Write out the fears you have around following this dream of yours. Once these fears are out on paper it will help you identify some key areas you can focus on to try and tackle these fears.
For example, if you’re afraid of what others might think, try talking to someone really close to you. A partner or friend, someone you trust and plant the seed. Give them an idea of what you’re thinking. Sometimes saying it out loud can make it feel all the more real and more like a possibility rather than just a dream.
Write down one thing from your action list to do this week
The only way to achieve your version of a balanced life is to go out there and grab it. It won’t happen today and it might not happen in a year but I promise if you want it to, it will happen. So this week take one action from your list to implement or think of a new. Start with the simplest thing you could do like researching a course or chatting to a friend or your partner about this exercise.
I really hope you take the time to have a go at this exercise. Make it fun, follow your curiosity and see where it may lead you. Remember, you must have stumbled across this blog post for a reason, give it a try. If you have any more questions or want to chat even more about what came for you after this exercise then don’t hesitate to get in touch! If you crave more balance in your life between home and work then make sure you listen to my brand new podcast Balance Before Burnout.
Here’s to creating our kickass lives we adore! PS. If you enjoyed this post then you might also enjoy this one about Self Sabotage sometimes we are the only things in our way of making our dreams a reality.
Love, Alicia x