So often we hear the cry about “work-life balance.” People are stressed. They claim that they have no work-life balance – that it is all work and they have no time for anything else.
In some cases, for brief periods of time, this may well be true.
But for most of us, we are in the situation by choice. We have made a decision, conscious or unconscious, to walk the road we are walking. It has been our free choice. Often we cover up this choice, especially when it seems that life has become overwhelming, by blaming others:
- My boss is so demanding
- My customers don’t leave me alone (a high-class problem!)
- My employees are not up to it
- My kids have such busy lives, and demand transport and help
- I cannot afford not to work hard
- And so on…
Isn’t it interesting to note that every one of these excuses/phrases starts with me, my or I?!
Implicitly we acknowledge that we have ownership of the situation, but equally we are saying that we think it is out of control and there is little we can do about it. It is right here that our thinking has to change, because if we believe that, then there is very little likelihood of anything changing.
There are very few of us that have mastered the right balance in life. In any case, it is a situation of constantly changing goal posts. The circumstances around us do not remain static, so part of the key to good life balance is accepting that there are three absolute constants in life: death, taxes and change. (I suppose we should add e-tolls now as well!)
But the critical one for us here is the reality of constant change. This reality should not really be a surprise. From the moment of our conception, we have been changing. We have always adapted to the environment around us in order to become competent at managing and thriving in it.
We need to realise that the essence of positive mental and physical health is the right mind-set – the essence of that is the belief that you mostly control your destiny. At birth you were given the capacity and option of choice. Our choices are not always totally free, but mostly we can decide how we approach life. We see the effect of the exercise of this choice all around us. There must be someone you know, or know of, who against all odds succeeds at being happy, positive and focused. Often these people are amazingly successful as well.
Equally there are bound to be people that you know that seemingly have it all and yet never stop complaining about their misfortune, bad luck and lack of opportunity. Which would you rather be?!
The choice is really yours.
If you had one week of life left how would you spend it? This question should help you to decide what your real priorities are. Note that I haven’t referred to work-life balance at all simply because I do not believe this is the issue. Work is part of life, nothing more.The issue is to get your life into balance and this means fully analysing your life priorities and to allocate time to them accordingly.
Once your priorities are clear, it becomes much easier for you to figure out how to ensure that the important issues in your life receive the attention they deserve. There are no universal truths about this. There are, of course, some common priorities, but even within these they will differ in importance from time to time, and from person to person.
The worst thing you can do is to blame others or outside issues for your lack of balance. This is a certain route to disempowering yourself. Indeed it is a cop out. Choose to be in charge, choose to spread a positive outlook, choose to be supportive and helpful, choose to be kind (to yourself as well), choose to share. These choices are the choices that will lead to fulfillment, happiness and balance. Good luck!
Image via ethicsmonitor.co.za