Balance. This may as well be a 4-letter word to me. It’s something I’ve struggled with all my life. I remember being a kid and my parents would get annoyed that I played too much and didn’t want to come home and do homework. Then, I would turn around and learn entire books by heart and write so many pages in tests that teachers would be exasperated at reading them. As I grew up and started working, I would stay at the office late into the night, after having been the first one in, which kept me in a constant state of exhaustion. So, I would book a weekend trip overseas to relax and have fun. And my parents kept wondering why I live life in such extremes and why I can’t find balance.
When I met my husband, one of the first things he noticed about me was that I was either all in or all out – with everything I did. I could decide to climb a mountain and train for an entire year insanely to be in the best shape of my life, or not workout for months on end and eat everything that came my way. Thus- he joined the long line of people in my life that kept wondering why I can’t find balance.
The worst part? I didn’t think anything was wrong – I definitely didn’t feel imbalanced. Yet everyone told me I was. I worked too hard, I had too much fun, I traveled too often, I had too many obligations, saw too many friends, was in too many places, wanted too many things – and was overall imbalanced (or so everyone thought).
At the Konnect management retreat last year we all read and discussed Simon Sinek’s “Leaders Eat Last, “and the concept of balance came up again. This time, in relation to “work-life balance.” Simon says “work-life balance… has nothing to do with the hours we work or the stress we suffer. It has to do with where we feel safe. If we feel safe at home, but we don’t feel safe at work, then we will suffer what we perceive to be a work-life imbalance. If we have strong relationships at home and at work, if we feel we belong, if we feel protected in both, then… we diminish the effects of stress.”
This really stuck with me.
At this year’s management retreat we had an awesome speaker that talked a lot about balance, finding time for yourself and learning to do things your own way. Since then, I’ve made time to work out almost every day, I’ve been eating tons of healthy food, started going to bed early and even took some moments to breathe. I also spent this past Saturday morning on a new business call and several hours a day during the weekend on emails, combined with a decent amount of travel and client meetings. My days have been full – and whether I worked or played, I’ve been feeling happy.
And that’s when I realized – while not all my days are stress-free and there are curve balls thrown at me more often than not, I am happy. I am happy when I am working for 2 weeks in a row with no breaks because I know that at the end of that, I am going to take 4 days to simply be with my family and give them my undivided attention. I am happy not because I’m working, but because I am doing what I want in the company of people I want to be with – and that gives me satisfaction and joy. And when I take time off, it’s not the time off that makes me happy, but the people I get to spend it with. My entire life I have felt balanced (even though it didn’t look like that from the outside) because I chose to do the things that made me happy. I have a career that fulfills me, a marriage that makes me feel beyond loved, and I am surrounded by awesome, fabulous people both in my work life and in my personal life.
And when you do the things you love, the things that give you joy, work and personal life blend together. You are having so much fun at work that you lose track of time. And when you are home, reading to your kids, you also lose track of time because you’re dying to stretch those minutes longer – maybe so that they never grow up.
So, balance, to me, is less about the time spent in one place versus another, and is more about the way you spend that time. If you choose to spend it doing what you like and with people you like, you are that much more likely to feel a balance in your life (and I would argue – happiness).
At Konnect, we take great pride in offering balance that comes from working with clients we are proud to represent, whose stories we believe in, and for whom the results are meaningful. The people we interact with daily are awesome and inspiring – and that makes a HUGE difference. Then, inside our own company, we encourage people to appreciate each other and help each other succeed. We are a tribe at Konnect that supports each other and that supports our clients and it is my hope that our time spent in the office is fulfilling and fun so that when we go home we are enthused to spend the same quality of time with the people we care about in our personal lives.