Work-Life Balance Myth: Balance is a one-size-fits-all equation

October 02, 2023

Work-Life Balance Myth: Balance is a one-size-fits-all equation

When it comes to balance, I see a lot of us chasing an unachievable definition of balance, believing that it's a universal formula waiting to be uncovered. 

However, the truth is, balance is not a one-size-fits-all equation and I am here to dispel the myth that suggests it is this universal definition. 

I will also share with you some deep insights off the back of 150 interviews I have done with working mothers in my years of research to unpack how balance can feel like this elusive equilibrium to a lot of mothers who are chasing balance without defining it on their own terms. 

What does it mean to have work-life balance?

Work-life balance refers to the harmony an individual strives to achieve between their professional life (work) and their personal life (everything else outside of work). It's the state in which a person effectively manages their responsibilities, obligations, and activities in both domains to maintain a fulfilling and satisfying life overall.

However, work-life balance should have a different meaning for everyone. As you will learn in this article, balance is not a one-size-fits-all type of concept. 

When I asked my clients what work-life balance meant to them, I was surprised with the answer. 

Work-life balance in your own words

I spent many years of my life (up until I became an entrepreneur) chasing balance, and a few years back discovered the harder I chased balance the more elusive it became.

This process has been further validated by the over 150 exhausted professional women I have interviewed (for my research) who have shared that flourishing in life for them is having balance.

This was the picture I painted based on these conversations. I would love to know if you can relate to this mother and struggle with balance. I call her Kelly: 

Prioritising Kelly’s needs and self-care to achieve balance feels selfish 

and compounds her mum guilt making her blind to the fact that when a mother flourishes the whole family flourishes. 

She longs to be arole model (of courage, confidence and meaningful impact) for her children so that she can avoid the way they feel right now (and making the same mistakes) and instead live fulfilled lives. 

But Kelly currently feels like she'srunning on empty, there'snothing left in the tank and like no one's getting the best of her.

She’s tried to change by jumping jobs, Yoga, Meditation, talking to friends or her partner, seeing a counsellor or a psychologist, reading books and listening to podcasts but her efforts have been unsuccessful. 

Often this is because she just tries to squeeze more into an already full day and she is working towards a definition of “balance” rather than trying to bring harmony into her life. 

The reason Kelly, and many of us, feel this way is because there are many myths we have been told about balance, myths that I will dispel in this and future articles. 

Three myths we dispelled and turned into new beliefs include: 

  1. Balance isn’t a destination, it is a way of being
  2. Balance doesn’t mean self-sacrifice 
  3. Balance doesn’t mean everything existing in equilibrium  

The next myth I wish to share might be an interesting concept as we are made to believe everything we see and read. I wish to challenge that. 

Work-Life Balance Myth #4: Balance is a one-size-fits-all equation

Myth! Here is the reality. 

There is no universal formula that exists for achieving balance.

Our life is made up of experiences, responsibilities, and desires that require a personalised approach to defining balance on our terms. 

An approach that aligns with our individual rhythms, values, and aspirations.

What might feel like harmony for me might equate to discontent for you. 

Balance provides a beautiful opportunity to own your uniqueness and use it as a guidepost for prioritising what matters.

A work-Life balance question to reflect on;

Based on this new perspective I invite you to reflect and journal on the following question:

  • How has my perception of time and how I use it changed based on this learning of the other myths on balance?

Take a piece of paper and a pen and write it down. 

Final thoughts 

The key points from this article include: 

  • What does it mean to have work-life balance?
  • Work-life balance in your own words
  • The #4 of #10 myth of balance 
  • Work-Life balance question to reflect on 

If you’d like to go deeper into dispelling the myths about balance that you can inject more of what makes you feel grounded each day, listen to episode 105 of The Hacking Happy Podcast. 

Or, join theBalance Challenge kicking off October 16, 2024. This is a unique opportunity to reframe your relationship with balance and unlock sacred pockets of time that empower you to show up as the woman you long to be.

Think sustainable evidence-based action delivered to you in bite-sized pieces to reduce the overwhelm and unlock a more balanced you.

For all the details and to secure your spot click HERE.