November 20, 2017
Why the Work-Life Balance Model is a Myth
by: Barbara Hogan, CCO & Owner | Afidence
Last week I began chronicling my journey with Heaven in Business (HIB). This week I want to move forward with something Rick Sbrocca, Managing Partner of Spiritus Solutions Inc., focused on in his complete life victory plan: "You are the CEO of Your Life--Engineering Your Life-Work Success." He stated that the Work-Life Balance Model has failed. This is a memo that I wish I would have received a lot earlier in my own life.
The Work-Life Balance Model suggests that obtaining the right schedule and separation between work and life allows one to unlock something we are all searching for, the coveted sweet spot of life. In reality, striving for that perfect balance promotes a preoccupation with the process of keeping the two worlds separate. Relationships get brushed aside as people focus on finding the perfect combination of work and life. In this segregated scenario, even the smallest shift can leave one feeling frustrated and unfulfilled because somehow the balance is once again out of balance. Think of that imaginary line we used to draw as kids on long trips in the car. "Mom, she's on my side," we would say when a sibling ruined the balance we tried to create. The same problem arises with the Work-Life Balance Model. We cannot control all the different factors of our work and life.
Sbrocca challenges our thinking about the traditional Work-Life Balance Model. Rather than trying to balance the separation of work and life, embrace and create a harmony of work and life. Sbrocca compares this harmonization of work and life to an ecosystem. In an ecosystem you have vegetation, life, wind, air, and water, but each element depends on other elements in some way or another. Instead of isolating elements and creating boundaries, the entire ecosystem depends on the interactions of different animals, plants, and elements.
First, there's a mindset change wherein we stop trying to keep our work and life separate. Instead, we understand work is an integral part of life and embrace it for what it is. This understanding allows us to value the real things in life like love, family, relationship, and margin. Today as you read this, begin to put the myth of work-life balance aside. Try to see life as an ecosystem where things touch and interact. Allow both-and to guide your thinking instead of either-or. Value what is valuable (people) and let the rest play a supporting role to the journey without overwhelming it.