Executive Coach Executive CoachExecutive Coach
Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

Why I Don’t Believe in Work/Life Balance

ARCHIVES
A Wallenda brother walks the tightrope. A Wallenda brother walks the tightrope. Mike Derer/AP

We hear a lot these days about achieving work/life balance. I’m here to tell you that in an age of doing more with less – or in some cases, less with less – work/life balance is a myth. If you’re a leader in a demanding job, you’re about as likely to find it as you are a purple unicorn. And I don’t believe in purple unicorns.

When people talk about work/life balance, I think of the Flying Wallendas, whose members tempt fate by walking a tightrope suspended across Niagara Falls or between buildings high above the earth. They have balance, hopefully, for a few brief moments in time. When they make it to the other side, that experience of balance ends.

The quest for work/life balance is a little bit like that. You might experience it ever so briefly and then it ends. Like the Flying Wallendas, it might be months or years before you experience that feeling of balance again.

So, that’s the reality I’m offering. Is there any hope? I think there is.

Instead of chasing that purple unicorn of work/life balance, what if you thought about it as establishing a work/life rhythm? That works for me and a lot of my clients. By seeking a rhythm, you acknowledge there are times when the pace is much more oriented to work and there are the times when the counterpoints of the other aspects of your life come to the fore. Shifting from the mindset of balance to the mindset of rhythm allows you to take the pressure off. You have permission to quit seeking that holy grail of perfect balance.

Instead, you recognize all of the factors that come together to create the rhythm of your life – your life at work, your life at home, your life in your community. You identify and act on the simple routines that support the outcomes you’re looking for in those three arenas of life. They’re the routines that keep you physically strong, mentally acute, relationally healthy and spiritually grounded.

You then give yourself permission to not try to do all of that at once. You understand that some days or weeks are more about work and then home comes back around. You may miss a workout or have to postpone that lunch but when you make it up you’re fully present and in the moment. When you allow your rhythm to shift from one important element of your life to the other you can enjoy it for what it is and can get off that tightrope called work/life balance.

What do you think? Is it possible to achieve balance or is it more about establishing a rhythm? Or is it something else? What’s working for you?

Executive coach Scott Eblin’s goal is to help you succeed at the next level of leadership. Throughout the week, he’ll offer his take on the leadership lessons in the news and his advice on your most pressing leadership questions. A former government executive, Scott is a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of The Next Level: What Insiders Know About Executive Success.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.