What Makes Work-Life Balance a Myth?
Work-life balance is a real challenge for this world. A high percentage of people say their lives and jobs are unbalanced. However, a proper investigation of your own life may disclose an astonishing truth: Work-life balance is a myth.
Caught in the Maze
We all have seen, at least once in our life, those poor little laboratory rats used to run experiments. Well, I would be hypocritical by saying I have no idea how they feel.
I have felt totally lost in an intricate maze and surrounded by walls I could not even think to overcome. I lost the sight of the horizon I have always considered to be my own indisputable direction.
It is not that easy to admit when we get lost. This feeling floods our mind and does not release any of the tension we perceive while trying to figure out the answer to another essential question:
What can I do now? Where shall I redirect myself?
Rather than keep turning around and try to bite my own tail, I eventually made the decision to sit down and try to chill out.
The best solution I could think of was a detailed, step-by-step definition of all the root causes behind this situation. So I drew a map full of questions. The fact that this map was physically in front of my eyes gave me a concrete perspective of its interlaced ramification. It helped me figure out where to start answering questions.
Who Am I?
The “Who Am I?” question appears to be the most difficult one. I began by analyzing my personality and career over the previous years. I analyzed my own choices and determined those I took based on my own will and feelings. I understand that most of my choices have been driven by external influences (whether I truly wanted or not). So, I deeply wished to get to know my inner self and find out more about my true values.
Quite soon, I realized this was a difficult task.
I am not afraid to admit this was one of the most difficult challenges I have ever undertaken, but at the same time, it was all I needed to give to my life a second shot.
Good job and great achievement do not correspond to self-realization.
I have read about tons of high-level managers, CEOs, and VPs who suddenly quit their awesome careers to start over a completely new life.
Why did they do so? The answer is values-job alignment.
Discovering my inner values made me think about my own personality and what makes an actual fit with my current job.
Whether we like it or not, we are not meant to do something that goes against our inner values.
It is true that we can keep doing jobs for years and while hiding this feeling of discomfort. I have personally hidden that feeling and lied to myself while my life was constantly sucked into a job that wasn’t giving me anything in return but sadness.
This is what happened until I drew that map of questions, and realized I was a different person than I believed to be. I fought against the fear of failure. I fought again, against the idea of being judged by others and most importantly, by myself.
There isn’t anything harder than overcoming self-judgment: “I am not good enough,” I would keep repeating to myself, and so built up insurmountable walls in the maze I created in my mind.
Finally, all appeared much clearer. I had to take the next step. Against all the balance I have tried to achieve, I realized work and life cannot be the main characters of two separate stories. Forget about this. This is just a myth. Living your own life while realizing who you really are is what erases the definition of work-life balance forever.
Simone Santarelli is a freelance content writer and blogger. He delivers monthly workshops about work-life balance for a corporation and is a member of an internal community that contributes to developing work-life balance inside the corporation. His work includes content for a marketing start-up, online magazine, and his own blog (www.kosmopolites.org).