The idea of work-life balance continues to be a hot topic of conversation. I’ve written previously about how it is a false dichotomy, suggesting that we are either alive or we are at work (and therefore dead). It just doesn’t make sense.
What this phrase “work-life balance” is actually pointing to is the desire for the mind and the body to be in the same place at the same time. What people are seeking is a better experience of presence in their life.
Being present has everything to do with balance, but not in the way we think. It is actually all about the blend.
It’s better to think of our work, or the role that we play at work, as simply one of many roles we have in our lives. We can give as much attention to this role as any other.
When we attempt to compartmentalize our lives, we typically feel cut off from ourselves. This shows up a lot in leadership when we encourage people to “Leave your emotions at the door,” and “Don’t bring it to work.” I’ve often said that you can’t be one way in the board room and a different way in the living room. You bring your whole self everywhere.
Rather than compartmentalize, learning to blend and integrate ourselves is a more worthwhile endeavor. Our greatest balance in life comes from within, and it is found by integrating all of the parts of ourselves. Attempting to bypass any part of our lives or any part of ourselves will always put us on the wrong path at the wrong time. The same is true with our other roles in life. Attempting to avoid responsibility, commitment, and work just doesn’t work. (At least, not very well.)
In the end, what matters most is our ability to see that all of the roles that we choose to take on have a place in our lives until we decide that they don’t. It is much more skillful to see the way that they all blend together rather than attempting to “leave them at the door.”
If you want to know more about fully integrating your life, a great way to get started is to subscribe to the DS leadership Weekly. You’ll get emails and videos from me to wake up your leadership and your life each week.