Why Work Life Balance is Really an Act of Imbalance

     Change places with your child and imagine this: Your mother is a world-class, trailblazing executive who has hundreds or thousands of people who work for her. People cling to her words and jockey for her favor, desperate to impress her ...

And, there she is, nagging at you to pick up your shoes.

To the world, she is a title. To you, she is Mom.

What the child of the senior executive probably doesn't know is, women executives wrestle with their job performance as mothers more than anything else they do.

When I speak at women's leadership events, I am constantly asked about work / life balance issues. The reality is that there is no issue of work/life balance. It's all about imbalance. It's about making it work so you succeed professionally, raising children who are not juvenile delinquents, and not losing your mind in the process.

So many of the young mothers I meet describe a frenetic cadence they have to sustain as parents and professionals. They always are running to keep up with the demands. Despite their efforts to do it all, they are tortured by guilt because, let's face it: They can never do enough.

Is it selfish to want a career? Is it selfish to want to be with your children? Is it selfish to want ten minutes to yourself?

The word "priorities" continually came up in interviews with working mothers. You have to know yourself enough to know and honor what matters most to you in your heart. Find ways to allot your time accordingly, because you only get to live this life once. And that's the only balance you will ultimately be able to achieve.

There is sometimes an assumption that women who climb to the highest reaches of the professional world have hardened into being selfish, not selfless, in their quest for power. The stereotype is that the professional woman thinks she can "have it all" – but can't-and willingly sacrifices mommy time to keep moving up.

But the stereotype is wrong. I am convinced of that because of the way everything stops when I bring up the subject of family in the interviews. If you wonder what matters most to these women, ask about their passion for their work. Then ask if they have children. The tone of voice always changes. It softens. The women open up. Maybe they can't always be with their family in body, but they are always there in heart. They have felt their share of guilt for not being around every minute of the day, but you can just see that they really have been there, just the same.

I hope their children feel that.

I get perspective on work / life balance when I think of one of the newspapers where I worked as a reporter. I worked very hard as a reporter, but I noticed something about my job.

If I took a long lunch hour, the paper still came out. If I went on vacation, the paper still came out. If I switched jobs and moved away, the paper still came out. It came out every day, whether I was there-or not. So many of us delude ourselves into thinking we are so indispensable that we must make great personal sacrifice to save the institution. But there aren't a lot of situations in which the business will sink because we take some time to ourselves.

And, forgive the heresy here, but it is only business. Life-in all of its glory-is far more important than the immediate task at hand.

You can give and give and give and give, and the business will take and take and take and take. In the end, who you are matters so much more than what you did.

The business won't love you back.

It won't.

The NEW Woman Rules on Balance:
• It is not about balance because it's just impossible to achieve that kind of constant equilibrium. It's about priorities. Know what matters most.

• Set boundaries. When you are juggling too much between home and work, evaluate your work tasks and let the things go that won't "move the needle" of the business.

• It's not the quantity of hours you work, but the quality of hours you put in.

• Be mindful of the 80/20 rule. You achieve most of your benefit in 80 percent of your energy. Let the rest go.

• Don't try to turn off your heart when you are using your head or your head when you are using your heart. Come to work with everything that you are. Be the same person at home.

• Always remember: The business will not love you back. Have a life outside the business.

Article Source : http://www.abcarticledirectory.com

Fawn Germer is the best-selling, Oprah-featured author of five books and one of the nation's most sought-after speakers on work-life balance issues. Read her blog at www.hardwonwisdom.com or visit her speaker website at www.fawngermer.com .

Posted on 2009-09-21, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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