I tried this Work/Life Balance thing once.
I heard I should really try to achieve it and felt kind of bad that I hadn’t. Life Coaches were preaching its merits, telling me I would be happier and more peaceful for having attained it, so I tried it. It lasted ten minutes, because ten minutes into my decision, my phone rang with a client requesting a session for her family on Sunday. And I happily said, “Yes.”
And since then, I’ve come to realize Balance is more of a myth, kind of like Big Foot, or those impossibly clean closets on Pinterest. (For the record, Pinterest and I are officially done. After looking at immaculate pantries and mason jars filled with fruit water neatly lined up on a clean refrigerator shelf, my self-esteem couldn’t take it anymore) It sounds good and makes for great workshops and self-help books, but the fact is…it rarely works in the Real World.
This whole idea of attaining Balance is a lot like going on a diet: you schedule a set of rules and try to make yourself live by them. And it all works great and fine until you eat a doughnut and then, as you brush the powdered sugar crumbs off your shirt, you beat yourself up and feel like a loser and cry to your spouse or your friend or your dog or to yourself in the mirror that you will never lose weight.
The problem with balance is that it is so very easy for those scales of balance to tilt. Put one crumb extra on the scale and it starts to tip. ONE CRUMB. You kind of set yourself up for failure trying to achieve ‘balance,” much like going low-carb and then getting a job in a bakery.
And really, isn’t that the beauty of what we do? That we have the flexibility to work when we need to? That we AREN’T 9-5? That we ARE flexible? That we can attend a dance recital and then go back to our desk and work until midnight? Isn’t that a Good Thing?
Darn skippy it is.
And that’s where the alternative to Balance comes in…her name is Perspective.
Perspective is not a set of rules…it’s a mindset…an attitude. It doesn’t really sell books or workshops, like that “balance” thing does, but it also doesn’t beat you up for wanting more.
Balance freaks out over the NOW.
Perspective remembers that now is just now…it’s not always.
Balance makes everything a problem.
Perspective knows the difference between a real problem and an inconvenience.
Balance is emotion-driven.
Perspective is logic-driven.
Balance is hard to find.
Perspective is carried with you.
So, shoot that Sunday session or stay up late editing a client’s order…it’s all in the attitude. The only thing you should worry about balancing is a coffee in one hand and a doughnut in the other.
Don’t freak out. Embrace the chaos.