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Best way to get work-life balance

What is work-life balance and why do you want it?

Balance implies equal weighting between your private and public selves. You want it because you want a purposeful life, a life of meaning.

Except Joseph Campbell doesn’t see it that way. He said people don’t really want meaningful lives. What they want is aliveness.

Having a sense of purpose makes you feel alive.

Balance isn’t sexy or dramatic. The comfy middle feels like the opposite of aliveness, more like living unconsciously. These are the unspoken assumptions behind the concept of work-life balance.

Work-life balance, then, must address the twin needs of purpose and aliveness for it be sustainable over time.

Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is “the state of equilibrium where a person equally prioritizes the demands of one’s career and the demands of one’s personal life.” 1 

Purpose means doing work that has meaning. Aliveness refers to the feeling you get when you’re living on purpose, both personally and professionally.

If you don’t identify what’s important to you – your values – you can’t ascribe purpose to what you do. Meaning, in the private and public realms, comes from knowing who you are. You feel alive when you align your inner and outer selves and aren’t afraid to show it.

You can experience aliveness without purpose and vice versa. I imagine skydiving would make me feel very alive, but it doesn’t hold a lot of meaning to me. Reading books to support my coaching work fills me with purpose but I don’t feel particularly alive when I’m typing out my notes afterward.

Enter “balance.”

The Balance Beam

One way to look at balance is the balance beam, which I described in Shedding Rigidity. I identified fluidity in HR on one end of the balance beam with rigidity on the other and explained you need both in HR to be “in balance.” Without any rules (completely fluid), everything is subjective which negatively impacts perceptions of fairness and objectivity. With too many rules (very rigid), you spend more time maintaining the system than fulfilling the role of HR, which is taking care of people.

The balance beam is level.

You can steadily advance since you can see peripherally and hopefully identify the pitfalls at either end of the beam, i.e. the extremes. The potential disadvantage is not finding creative solutions because you want to stay level, i.e. not rock the boat.

Balancing on a Scale

Imagine the Scales of Justice. Often you see one scale tipped more than the other, reflecting that one viewpoint weighs more than the other. Based on the strength of the argument and its supporting evidence, the Scales of Justice tip one way over another.

The scale means balance tilts based on the information at hand.

One advantage to balancing on a scale is momentum. Once you choose which side of the scale to balance on, you can gather resources to move forward decisively. The disadvantage? Some argue those scales aren’t weighted evenly, that they are tipped more one way than the other at the outset. In other words, the scale isn’t balanced.

Both types of balance work

Your decision may depend on the situation. Using HR as an example, I may tip the scale in a one-to-one conversation whereas I’ll stay on the beam when creating company-wide policies.

Purpose and Aliveness

Work-life balance comes from knowing your own middle ground, where you balance purpose with aliveness. Sometimes you want the balance beam, sometimes you want the scale.

When in doubt, weigh the following: Which path makes me feel the most alive with the greatest sense of purpose?

Do that.

You have to be open minded in order to grow. The coaching that Laura gave me opened my eyes to what and how I was doing things and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I am not done yet but I already see the changes in my everyday life.

MM

I think coaching is a great way to help you clear your mind when you get stuck with overwhelming situations or when stepping into changes in your life.

MO

Coaching is life changing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and challenges your perspectives.  It is highly motivating and the exercises and techniques used are both fun and informative.  I think the main benefits of coaching are to see yourself, others and the world more clearly.  I think coaching is valuable to anyone regardless of where you are in your life or career.

LE

I honestly never thought I’d need a coach. I thought coaching was for CEOs and industry VIPs. I didn’t think it was for the “little guys” (i.e. me). Now, I’m of the belief that everyone – yes, EVERYONE – needs a coach. Coaching has really benefitted me and I’m so grateful to have had that time with Laura. It’s changed my life!

VB

Laura is very patient. She took the time to understand what was causing me to be stuck where I am today and help me build a better vision so I can continue to grow.

MM

I think Laura’s coaching was what I had been waiting for. Laura was so approachable, kind, and open. Her willingness to help and support made a difference for me. I found in her coaching new strategies, ideas, and perspectives that I could incorporate into my goals and objectives that I didn’t see before.

MO

Laura is an incredibly intuitive, positive and caring coach. Her techniques helped me recognize both my strengths and areas I might want to explore as I embark on the next chapter of my career. The exercises she employed were instrumental in providing self perspective and challenging my frames of reference.

LE

Laura is a natural coach. Her probing and compassionate questions helped me learn about myself: my value system, interests, goals and strengths.

LM

Coaching sessions with Laura gave me new perspectives on how to process specific feelings and situations in life.  She showed me how to sit with my emotions, acknowledge them, and then use visualization strategies to move through them.  I now feel more confident and in control of how I choose to walk through life.

CP

From the beginning, Laura put me at ease, creating a safe, open space for me to talk and share freely without fear of judgement. I loved the variety of approaches she used depending on the topic we were working on and it was fun being able to try out things I wouldn’t have considered before! With Laura’s coaching, I substantially grew my confidence in the workplace, overcame fears, dealt with issues I’d been carrying around for many years and, most importantly, learned to value myself and define a path forward into the future.

AG

Laura’s coaching was a breath of fresh air and EXACTLY what I needed at that point of my life. I didn’t realize how impactful coaching was going to be, but by the end of the sessions together, I left feeling refreshed, inspired and genuinely curious about what my future held for me. Because of Laura and her coaching, I believe I became a better person – someone who is more open-minded, someone with a clearer focus, and someone who is willing to explore opportunities and possibilities far more than I ever did before.

VB

I engaged Laura for coaching as I took on an expanded role leading an asset management company in Canada. As a female, I knew I would be a role model and had high expectations of myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

In our first few coaching sessions we worked through exercises that allowed me to reflect on my purpose, leadership style and what mattered most to me. I continue to be grounded by the clarity I achieve in my coaching sessions – allowing me to be resilient and confident when challenges came my way.

OS