Friday, September 7, 2018

Friday Feature: Work-Life Balance?

A year or so ago, I did a lunchtime presentation on work-life balance. It was a hot topic, not one of my choosing, but important to those in attendance. Much of my focus ended up being on not aiming for perfection and cutting ourselves some slack — understanding that finding that sweet spot where everything falls into place wasn’t likely to happen daily, but taking time to appreciate it when it did.

At least I hope that’s the message I sent.

Fast forward to last week when I came across this article in Quartz. I came away with the notion that nomenclature itself (work-life balance), it seems, is part of the problem. In a balancing act, we are sometimes perfectly balanced, but often a bit off-kilter, trying to align everything just so — perfectly, if you will.

And that is how life goes. Being off-balance doesn’t make us failed and miserable. It makes us human.

I came away from the article preferring the term “work-life blend,” a descriptor that leaves me feeling less pressured because it’s more reflective of the give and take of daily life. I blend my work and my life every single day and there’s a certain beauty to the blend — a wideness — that makes me feel as though I’m working within a spectrum instead of tottering on the tip of a fulcrum, trying to land on the right side, as opposed to the wrong one.

This simple shift in vocabulary isn’t a magic fix, but it gives me a wider margin of error, one where the margins aren’t error at all — just an extension of what is most important to me that day. It removes the stress inherent in aiming to achieve that perfect spot atop the fulcrum and gives me permission to totter a bit on the seesaw.

Balance vs. blend. Words matter.

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