It’s a well know phrase “work life balance” and we know what it means without any explanation but I fear few truly live it and that concerns me, for no other reason than I care. I care that people have balance in general but I care that they truly get why they need it and the consequences of it tipping one way or the other.
I read many posts on Facebook, Linked in and other social media that states “love my job, its 2am and I’m still going” or “my products/services are….” sent out at the weekend. This to me smacks of people not living their work life balance. You may love your job, you may think you will get a more attentive audience at the weekend but what’s it saying about you? That you are committed? Love your job? Not to me. It says that you are desperate for sales, it says you are clambering for business, it says that you are working too hard on keeping your audience. Is it just a sale or building relationships for long term business you want?
Harsh? Yes. Asking for people to bite back at this? Yes. Critical? Yes. Challenging? Absolutely yes. Why? Because I care. If you’ve read my background you will know this was me and my world imploded and I lost it all. Job, marriage, respect for myself, my mental acuity and friends. Was it worth it? The work/work balance that I was living on? Never. The challenge this left me with to make it balanced again? Oh god yes. I wouldn’t change the challenge, the hard work, the tears or the depression I had to experience as they combined and created this strong, independent woman I am today but would I want someone else to experience it when I can help them side step it? Heavens above no!
I am in no way suggesting we all do Monday to Friday 9-5 because life isn’t like that anymore and I am in no way telling you how to work or when to work. I am simply trying to get you to stop and review how you work currently and just see if its giving out the message you want to your customers and ultimately those you love and love you. What’s your balance (or lack of) saying about you – not your company – not your products or services – you? What’s it saying about your personal brand and lifestyle? In your industry it may be the norm, it may be appropriate, it may be what everyone does – does that mean you have to do it the same? What makes you stand out above everyone else around you? That you are passionate about what you do, work well and work hard but look the part, don’t look, act or sound stressed, don’t look exhausted and have enough energy left at the end of the day for you, your family, your friend, for fun.
We carry the world around in our pockets and our handbags these days – we are contactable if we allow it, 24 hours a day and that means we forget there is an off button sometimes. I’ll just take this call, I’ll just answer this email it’s urgent….. you know it’s never just that one! Sorry kids, mummy/daddy just has to take this….. I will only be a minute…… an hour or so later! I know its your birthday but this meeting is really important….! It’s okay I’m in the theatre watching my kid perform but I have a minute…. Sunday afternoon? Yes of course I can…. no don’t worry I don’t have anything else on….
When we aren’t balancing it physically we are balancing mentally and the world continues in our head. So many times my kids, my husband would talk to me but I had no idea what they said as although I nodded or responded I never actually heard anything. I missed important information – not important to me but boy was it important to them and I let them down by not being present. I have managed to forgive myself but it has taken six years and only because I know I can’t go back and change what I did. I can however make sure I live a life where it never happens again. I am now present. Don’t try and balance the world on your head – there simply isn’t enough space. Give it up. Give it up to a piece of paper or notebook, record it on your phone to revisit when you are back in work; decide and make a choice of whether it is important or not. Do anything but don’t give it like a gift to yourself. Learn to return to sender before you’ve opened it and lost your time and sanity and maybe worse, yourself and your loved ones.