The Myth of Work-Life Balance

Victoria TraftonBy Victoria Trafton

Dedicated professional women can’t find work-life balance? Can we really divide our days equally between work, all the other roles we play, AND self care?

Recent articles about women professionals state “you can’t have it all” or “you can have it all but not all at once”. I think what they’re really saying is you can’t have it all and maintain work-life balance. I don’t think work-life balance makes sense if you are passionate about your work. At least it doesn’t for me.

According to a Pay Pal survey, more than half of the female entrepreneurs in America start their own business to achieve one thing: work-life balance.  “Unable to juggle the demands of family and American corporate culture, some choose to become their own boss”.

But wait a minute! Overwhelm is a way of life for many small business owners. Women especially deal with the stress of a small business and family demands. Having long since given up on work-life balance, we ultimately seem to arrive at a happy place of work-life integration. Our work reflects our values and our networks overlap personally and professionally.  Being more fulfilled gives me the energy I need to deal with my crazy calendar day after day, month after month.

I left Corporate America to find meaning and fulfillment… and I discovered work-life integration along the way!

Many of us work harder in our own business than we would at a corporate job … without the security of a regular pay check. We are fueled by a passion for what we do and the clients we serve. We have found an authentic expression of our unique gifts and talents and no longer have to work within a Job Description, whether or not it fits us.
We find more meaning because we ARE the business. Our teams are more like family. We can take credit for what we have accomplished and share that credit with our employees or strategic partners. Even if we haven’t built a financial empire, we can see the difference we make in the lives of our clients with the work we do. When you realize fulfillment is more important than money, the money seems to follow.

Not everyone is cut out to own her own business, but I hope everyone who wants to, will give it a try. Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine and author of The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster, says there has never been a better time in history to start a business. He states this is the most abundant time in history; wealth is up worldwide over 60%. There is little financial cost to starting a business with technology and the Internet.

If you have a desire and a good idea for your own business, it’s as simple finding support and learning how to succeed from others. Members of the Sisterhood of Happiness say they come to meetings to be energized and connect with other businesswomen to learn from their experience. That’s the power of a woman’s network.
So what does all this have to do with happiness? Everything! The highest level of happiness is using your unique gifts and talents for something bigger than yourself. You can serve others in a way that is unique to you. When you do, you experience what Positive Psychologists call “Flow”. That’s where fulfillment lives, that’s where happiness lives and that’s where success, as YOU define it, lives.
So go ahead, start the business of your dreams if you are not already in it. If you do however, don’t expect to achieve work-life balance. I tend to agree with those who say you can’t balance work and the rest of your life equally. You can however, achieve work-life integration and if you find yourself in that place after a year or so, you will know you are in the right business for you.

I would love to hear just how you handle work-life balance.  Please send me your comments at VT@TheSisterhoodofHappiness.com.

 

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