Crashing the Myth of Work/Life Balance
Most of us live our lives like we’re on a tightrope, teetering between giving our all at work, giving our all to family, getting just enough sleep, and then doing it again the next day. We call it work/life balance. Excuse me. But do you really want to live like a tightrope walker hovering over the abyss?
Best-selling author Jon Gordon doesn’t. In his latest book, The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work, Gordon says the idea that we can achieve balance every day of our lives among our multiple responsibilities, passions and interests is just, well, crazy. “We experience guilt from wanting to be with the family we love, yet there is this pressure to be successful and make money,” he says.
Gordon suggests we let go of the idea of achieving balance and pursue “purpose and passion” instead. Strive to find joy and fulfillment in everything you do. Look at balance as a longer-term goal. Instead of trying to achieve it every day, work to achieve it over the course of a year.
“A lot of people who amass great financial wealth often have trouble with relationships at home,” he says. “Your wealth must include an abundance of relationships.” Give your all to work during your busy season; take extra time for family in the off-season. Engage yourself no matter where you are. When at work, work hard and love it. When with family, play hard and focus on your loved ones. Turn off the BlackBerry, and don’t answer the phone. He says finding time for both work and life is more about “rhythm” than balance.
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It requires both parties to recognize that the relationship takes just as much work as their careers—and an enormous amount of humility.