There have likely been thousands of articles, blogs, etc. written about balancing work and your life. I’ve been struggling to find balance between my work and life since I was in my early twenties. I could always be described as a ‘high achiever’. Since I was a young child, I have had strong internal motivation to work hard and do good work.
At my first job out of college, I wanted to prove my worth. Little did I know that more work than could ever get done on a daily basis would be sent my way. I stayed late several nights a week just trying to keep pace. I began to resent my work a bit when my life became about my work. I didn’t have kids or even a dog to go home to, but I still wanted to have a life. I never found the balance in that job and continue to struggle throughout my career. This is especially true as technology allowed me to be connected to my work 24/7.
I read many of the blogs and articles on work/life balance or work/life coordination and tried many tips and techniques. Some worked and some didn’t. Recently, I saw a quote by Rumi: “Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” This rings true for me in how I look at balance both in my life and in my career. When feeling out of balance, I reflect on to what I am holding onto and ask if I should let it go.
This statement applies to many different career-related areas:
- An individual can hold on to being a valuable member of a work team/company/etc. while letting go of perfectionist tendencies.
- An individual can hold on to meeting project deadlines and being responsive while letting go of checking work email on her phone all night and all weekend.
- An individual can hold on to enjoying a hobby while letting go of the pressure of turning the hobby into a new career.
- An individual can hold on to the value of their worth while letting go of the job opportunity they did not get.
- An individual can hold on to their integrity while letting go of the anger related to a conflict with a co-worker.
As we think about balance and how it relates to our career, I challenge you to think about what you are holding on to, evaluate it and see if it is time to let it go. It’s not an easy practice as I can attest to. I hope you find it to be a useful exercise as well.