Striving for balance is a crazy-making, pointless waste of your time, effort, and emotional energy. Attempting to live up to “the balanced life” standard only heaps on lumps of guilt and disappointment, along with a gnawing sense of low-grade failure. Living with the glass half full in a pessimist’s paradise, despite your hope, optimism, and desire for improvement.
The problem is epidemic. Our entire culture has so accepted the myth that balance in life is the accepted norm for what makes for a successful life. Well, perhaps, having tons of money is the even bigger myth. So behind materialism for confusing our concept of the ideal life is this idea of balance.
I’ve known for decades that this kind of thinking was erroneous, yet the point was driven home to me in the spring of 2006. I was an in-studio radio show guest on Lee & Friends hosted by Lee Brandel on AM 950 WTLN in Orlando, FL. When I shared my perspective on work-life balance, here’s what Lee had to say:
“Thank you! In twenty years of interviewing, you are the first guest to ever tell my listeners and me to stop trying to balance our lives! What a refreshing and insightful thought. I am relieved.”
Is it any wonder why we when we feel so blue and down about ourselves that we run to Starbucks for a java jumpstart for the burned-out battery of our souls? We’re putting together life’s puzzle with flawed instructions and paying the price in every aspect of our lives and careers.
For too many years, you’ve had the wool pulled over your eyes by legions of work-life gurus and coaches. These “experts” have also bought the lie. They’ve unquestioningly mimicked what they heard and merely accepted the pursuit of work-life balance as a greater truth and aspiration. Just because a lie is repeated, doesn’t make it true. Yet the idea of balancing your work commitments and family obligations is so cemented in our culture that it is given universal truth status.
I’m a self-help heretic on this topic. I’m telling you there’s no sense in pursuing work-life balance. Open up your life to a new possibility where you’ll get higher dividends for all of your effort and energy with no risk of failure.
It’s like a man who spent his entire life staring at the corner of a towering wall. He’s master of its every nuance and built a good life being a wall looker. He lives in a safe and secure place that’s his home.
Then I come along, turn him around, and say, “Look what’s been behind you the whole time! There’s a garden, mountains, the ocean, and a horizon that stretches as far as the eye can see. You can go to these places or turn back around to your corner wall world.” I urge him, “Please step with me to these new places, experiences, and adventure of a lifetime.”
He answered, “But I’ve never experienced any of what you’re describing. It can’t be for real. It is all just an illusion.” He turns around to continue living his safe and secure life at the corner wall.
Don’t be a wall watcher any longer.