The other day, I was a mentor for an amazing organization called POWER the Power of Professional Women. It’s an incredible networking group for women in which other women are genuinely there to help and support other women and (men who want to support women too). You might want to consider signing up and joining the team! :-)
Anyway, the event was a speed mentoring event in which emerging leaders were paired with seasoned leader and they hosted the discussion of various different topics. The topics were anything from leadership to being in - transition to networking to work life balance. The attendees / mentees could choose a table / topic that they wanted to hear more about. The mentees could ask questions to the mentors on the topic and engage in meaningful conversations.
I was chosen along with my co-mentor Kym Johnson to lead a discussion on work / life balance.
Here are the secrets to work / life balance (in my humble opinion).
The secret to work/life balance, is self-awareness. Often times we are running on autopilot. We are jumping from meeting to meeting, email to email, event to event, family obligations to family obligation to doctors appointments to you-name-it. We are busy bee’s running around doing who knows what and burning ourselves out.
Are we even aware that we might be out of balance with ourselves?
Are we even aware that we are not even present for the things that we are doing in the moment because our minds are running a mile a minute?
Are we even tuned into our own life to even know when we might need to take a break? (And by “a break” I mean -- 3 deep breaths, or just a quiet 5 min alone to regroup or whatever is needed).
And, if we are aware, do we even take care of ourselves?
The secret to work / life balance is that it can be found in every or any moment. Work / life balance does not have to be this big huge thing where you work “X” amount of time and then do personal / family stuff “X” amount of time. Let’s face it, things come up in life that is completely out of our control and takes us in a totally different direction and we totally lose our balance (if we ever had it to begin with). We will constantly find ourselves out of balance.
The key is are we even aware that we are out of balance and do we take care of ourselves when we are? Work / Life balance means to be self-aware enough to know when you need to take a break and take care of yourself. That can happen in any moment, even right now.
Here are a few examples of what this can look like:
If you get an email from your boss and it triggers you to get upset or frustrated instead of immediately reacting / responding, consider a balance. Take a few deep breaths, go for a walk, wait a while before responding, balance out the emotions with taking care of yourself. This will help to bring you back to “center” / neutral or less emotional state (possibly).
For me, as I was writing this blog post, I found myself getting really tired. I could have literally taken a nap in that moment. (I didn’t take a nap by the way). But, instead of just plowing through, I stood up, took a walk, went outside (it was a really nice day), grabbed a snack and then returned to my writing. I felt a lot better.
Yesterday, I went out with a friend to my favorite wine and cheese bar -- Tria. I LOVE that place. I had way too much cheese and way too much bread. I am trying to do the low carb thing and that went totally out the window when that bread and cheese were placed right in front of me. I allowed myself to indulge--it’s Tria! Plus, it’s been forever since I went there. I loved every bite -- (especially when you add the honey to your bread and cheese--OMG--fireworks!) So, today I am balancing that out with not doing carbs (really, what I mean is, I’m not eating bread) today and being intentional and mindful about what I eat. This works for me.
Adam Grant talks about this topic and says that some days you will have to work 15 hours a day and the next day you spend the whole day with your family. Some weeks you will have to work like crazy and other weeks might be super light and that’s ok.
Here is the point:
Work / life balance is different for everyone and it will look different for everyone. The main thing is just being self-aware enough to know what you need and to take care of yourself. Thus, I would encourage you to be more present, as that can help you to be more self-aware. This can help you to make better choices as to what it best for you in that moment.
I invite you to engage with me. What does work / life balance look like for you? What are your thoughts on this? Let’s keep this round table going...