Work-life balance: How can I have it all?

Posted in Leadership, Mentor Minute

Work-life balance: How can I have it all?

The Globe and Mail, Aug. 31 2011

My job is extremely demanding. My BlackBerry is my best friend, the airport lounge my second home. I wish I could get more time with my family, but there is no way I can get out of the fast lane without getting pushed out of the race. At the same time, I feel like I am missing out on my kids’ childhood. Quality time has a hollow ring to it. How can I possibly have it all?

The bottom line is, you can’t have it all. Or as someone said “You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at the same time.” The only way to crack this nut is to step back and make some serious choices. What are your priorities? What is scary to you? Until you know the answer to these questions, your BlackBerry will keep competing, and winning, against your kids.

Here’s a way to look at it.

In your hands, you have three balls that you are constantly juggling. One ball represents your career, the second ball represents your health, and the third ball represents your key relationships (spouse, kids, friends).

Now the first ball, your career, is made of rubber. If you drop this ball, it bounces. It may not bounce directly back up, it may bounce left or right, or higher or lower, but it will always bounce back. There will always be another race.

The second ball, your health, and the third ball, your key relationships, are made of glass. Each time you drop them, something breaks just a bit – you may get a little chip out of the corner of the ball, or see a crack in it. You gain a little weight around your middle or your cholesterol is up, you get into another fight with your partner, your kids are disappointed that you missed their game. And you can get away with these little chips to a point. But if you drop these glass balls too many times, they will not bounce back, they may shatter completely.

These three balls will forever be competing for your time. Until you step back and decide “What is sacred to me?” and “What really are my top priorities?” you will be stuck in the vortex of work versus home. Its sounds like it’s time to pause and examine the choices you are making.