Work-life-balance: A question of alignment
Work-life balance is all the rage. Rightly so, one may think, considering the rising number of burn-out victims, managers trying to make sense of life and slipped discs in the under 30s. It is striking how many people nowadays are searching for new ways of leading their life, finding solace on the Camino trek, meditating at Tibetan monastery retreats, flocking to yoga studios, doing a coach training and dreaming of a sabbatical.
All this is intended to compensate for a professional life that often drives us to our limits and where body, mind and soul find no peace in our fast moving media and information spiral. It seems strange that in the much acclaimed work-life balance there are not only two opposite poles but also negative poles, bringing WORK and LIFE in the balance. Does this mean that LIFE just takes place outside the WORK environment?
This is a very disturbing thought! Is it not rather a matter of bringing WORK and LIFE into balance, by structuring your work so that in making a living “the living” is worth living? Doing our work with passion, presence and mindfulness instead of frantically paddling through a torrent of endless meetings and mailings? Taking a step back in the midst of everyday madness and finding moments of silence and clarity.
An old Zen saying says: work is love made visible. Anyone who takes that on board won’t feel the need for work-life balance seminars but aligns himself completely naturally and relaxed between the two poles of power and relaxation. It is actually quite simple: if you no longer love doing what you are doing, it’s time for a break. (Or time to go, if it proves to be a permanent condition……check yourself before you wreck yourself)
The bottom line is to forget everything you’ve heard about work-life balance. Life doesn’t only begin when you leave work!