Work Life Balance. Work Life Integration. Work Life Fit.
I want to start a petition to ban these phrases. The words alone imply a few negative things:
- Work is the enemy of life.
- Unless you are perfectly in balance, you’re on the losing end of the scale.
- You forget life when you go to work.
None of these things are A. positive and B. realistic.
Create an Ecosystem
I’m proposing a new term and a new mindset. It’s now called Life Balance. It’s not about just work and life, rather it’s about creating an ecosystem to drive satisfaction.
Think about a rainforest. It requires shade, water and dense layers to thrive. These qualities are what classify it as a rainforest. My own ecosystem requires humor, quality work time, self care, time with my family, but most importantly, time with my husband. One of my team members, Rachel, recently made a life changing decision based on her ecosystem requirements. She needs nature and mountains to thrive, and so she moved to Bend, Oregon to put her ecosystem back in balance.
Whenever I talk about self care and the myth of work/life balance at a keynote or with team, it tends to resonate and spark frank discussions. And it always reminds me that life balance and self care is a work in progress for my ecosystem. We have created a worksheet to guide you through deciphering what is in your ecosystem, rating those qualities and choosing one factor to take action on, which will inevitably support the rest. As you fill this out and reflect on your own ecosystem, remember the two photos below. Life Balance is not reminiscent of the first photo. It’s not about perfectly stacking and balancing your life. Rather, it resembles the second photo. It’s about all the colors and interactions and how they flow together in your life. It’s about how all these things come together for one beautiful picture.