‘Work-Life Balance’: Myth or Reality for Women?

busy busyWWN Reflection 01.07.2014: In the course of my coaching and training career, I often come across women, like myself, who share their challenges about their work-life options/choices.

And some of the questions that come up are: ‘Am I wrong to be too ambitious by choosing a career/business rather than be a home-maker?’, ‘Am I making a mistake by taking time off my career to raise my children?’, ‘How do I create balance in my work and life?’, ‘Everyone thinks I should focus on X instead of Y’, ‘Ms A seems to have it all, why can’t I get my act together…?’

There are no perfect solutions, no one size that fits all. However, on a personal note, based on my experience with juggling a family (husband and five kids, which sometimes feels sort of like having six kids) :-)! Ladies, I’m sure you can all relate with my sentiment..lol). Well, this is what I do believe: It is a personal journey and each person must find their own path and what works best for them.

There seems to be different phases in a woman’s personal and professional life: Pre-briefcase and diaper bag; Trades briefcase for diaper bag; Trades diaper bag for briefcase; Trades in both diaper bag and briefcase and chooses a career path/business/cause she’s passionate about (it may actually be to choose both the briefcase and the diaper bag..)! ‘Diaper bag’, in this instance is of course euphemism for family and raising kids while ‘Briefcase’ refers to pursuing an education and career/business.

The phases are not sequential. You have to have clarity and know the phase you’re in and embrace it. Don’t copy anyone else, simply learn from them because what works great for A may be a disaster for the next person. Besides, the compare and contrast game only breeds dissatisfaction and/or deep unhappiness. Your name is not ‘Everybody’, or ‘Jones’, you are an original, magnificent, creature.

unbalanceIn my opinion (and this is just an opinion), there’s really no such thing as ‘work-life’ balance, what you get in reality are ‘work-life’ choices. I like the idea of work-life integration. What we often refer to as Work-Life balance is not about perfection or having everything in the right order, I think it is actually more about being real and authentic and making choices that reflect what’s  important to YOU at different stages of your evolving life cycles!

Furthermore, work is a part, an extension of life, so in essence what we should be ‘balancing’ is really life itself. In the words of one of my esteemed mentors, ‘when you have work-life balance, you’re either in stagnation or you’re dead, literally and figuratively!’ How’s that for something to chew on/

Therefore, it is important to be aware that at different stages in your life, something is always at the top of your priority list. Life is not static or flat, priorities in life keep changing, life is DYNAMIC WITH DIFFERENT OSCILLATING PATTERNS. The universe is always in motion, so we either move with it (in the direction of our dreams, goals and purpose) or we may get crushed!

You are a human BEING, not a human BE! BEING connotes that we are continually doing, learning, growing, evolving and transforming. Stop judging and second-guessing your choices. Live life fully. Be present wherever you are in your life phase. You can only do you, the best way you know how. Be gentle, forgiving, accepting and kind with yourself and others. Pray for wisdom, spirit of discernment, boldness and courage to make informed and empowered choices that are always aligned with who you are and what you truly value at your core. Our disconnect from who we are is often what creates stress and tension in our quest for ‘balance’ in our lives.

It is also necessary to point out that our perception of ‘work’ also contributes to the imbalance it may or may not create in our lives. In the words of Brian Tracy,’One of the keys to a successful, fulfilling and balanced life is to find something you love to do and find a way to make a living doing it’. Also, the ability to handle every position in your career as if you were working for yourself and thus to see every job you’ve ever held in the past or will hold in future as part of a much bigger picture, as fulfilling a piece of your divine purpose.

“Your work is worship, your work is service, your work is your ministry. Worship with passion, serve with integrity and minister with purpose! If you hate your job, if you are dissatisfied with your chosen career path or if you are disenchanted with your business, perhaps now is the time to either take action and choose to do something different (something that you are passionate about), OR simply accept your reality and focus on building healthy strategies that will enable you thrive better and/or change your approach to work. We spend most of our living years working, so it makes sense that we find great value and some joy in what you do!” ~Excerpt from the upcoming book: ‘UN-Locking Your HeArt of Leadership.’~

It is well. It all works perfectly together. And as quoted by Dev Patel’s character in the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, “In the end, it all works out and if hasn’t worked out then it is not yet the end.”

Remember you are not ordinary, you are uniquely extra-ordinary. You are W.O.W: Wonderful, One-of-a-kind Woman!

Live purposefully, passionately and powerfully.

Take the next steps today! Interested in booking a 30-minutes complimentary Strategy Session for your life or business? Need more information on WWN’s individual/group/organizational training, coaching, speaking engagements, or leadership certification programs, contact us via email: info@wholewomannetwork.com or call +1.905.709.5866

Note: For Strategy Sessions, we’re now fully booked for the Months of January and February, the next available date for appointments is from March 10th, 2014.

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The preceding is a guest post from Juliet Ume, MBA –Strategic Interventionist, Wealth Management Consultant & Leadership-Coach at Whole Woman Network. Juliet is the author of the upcoming book: ‘UN-Locking Your HeArt of Leadership.” She is an avid Life Connoisseur and a passionate advocate of WomEntrepreneurship, Leadership Training, Investment & Financial Literacy for women. Her mission is simply to engage, educate and empower women (and men), regardless of their levels of income or background, to return to ‘wholeness’ and live Healthier, Sexier, Wealthier Lives using Faith-based, Scientific and Universal (Common-Sense) principles! She shares her daily reflective posts on: www.facebook.com/wholewomannetwork. Follow her on Twitter: @wholewomaninc, @julietumeinc

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