Here I am again, revisiting the myth that keeps on giving, work-life balance. But this time, I want to put a productive, domain-guided plan of action into your hands, so that by the end of this 5-part series you will have the power to truly be your all without the stress of balancing.
How do I Define Work-Life Balance?
I define work-life balance as a fleeting moment in time in which one achieves alignment across all domains and priorities of life.
And that is the issue with it. It is fleeting.
It is unsustainable, almost impossible to achieve, and if you do achieve it, it is gone before you know you’re in it. Not to mention, it perpetuates the idea that work and life are separate, when, in reality, they’re not. Life is the wrapper around all of it. Work is a domain of life. For example, when I’m coaching, I ask my clients, “If you had a magic wand and an endless bucket of money, what is one thing you would stop and one thing you would start right now?” And almost always, they respond by asking, “Do you mean personally or professionally?” or “Work or life?” Those responses are a huge red flag of the Hamster in the Wheel Syndrome.
Stop Spinning Your Wheels
The Hamster in the Wheel Syndrome is what I use to describe the endless quest that work-life balance creates. It is when you’re just spinning your wheels (maybe even literally walking around your office or house to relieve stress) to try and attain something that really can’t be achieved. I’m guilty of this as well. There are still times when I am trying to do many things at once and I end up not doing any to the best of my ability. I fill time and noise thinking that I am accomplishing something, instead of knowingly and consciously focusing on something. To combat this, I actually took a Sunday, turned all my electronics off, and simply focused on my house. I spent 6 hours cleaning, organizing, and being in my home, singing and focusing- by choice. Focusing is hard to do in today’s bombardment of information but multitasking is dividing up your efficiency. Don’t settle for it.
For those of you that have been listening to me ever since I started my company, I probably sound like a broken record, but this is the reason I started Stop Settling™. Because piece-mealing yourself and your time between the many sections of life is disrespectful of your potential, your happiness, and your health. The Stop Settling method breaks down all aspects of life into 5 major domains: Career (Work), Generations (Family), Circle (Friends), Vitality (Health), and Society (Community). These 5 domains are all surrounded by the wrapper that is life and they do not live in balance. Everyone has different priorities and varying importance placed on each domain. In each domain, you are either an Always Settler, a Frequent Settler, Neutral, an Infrequent Settler, or a Never Settler. In the domains that matter the most to you, you will probably be (or want to be) an Infrequent or Never Settler. While in less prioritized domains you may be Neutral or Frequent Settler. And that is okay. You cannot be a Never Settler in every domain and expect to keep your sanity.
So, let’s tackle the first domain here, Career.
Dana, the Corporate Defector
If you want to be a Never Settler in your Career, you are looking at (figuratively speaking) someone who has taken steps to ensure that she has reached that level. The first movement I took toward creating the integrated full-life with conscious choice was defecting from the corporate world. I took the best out of all the worlds I’ve lived in over the last 25 years and started to design a quality of life I desired. When I started working from home, I realized I really liked to work from home. After I consciously made the choice to be a Never Settler in my Career domain, I took it further by designing and building a home office that I would look forward to working from every day. Since then, there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t loved being in this office.
No two life domain charts are the same, just as your office and space you need will not be the same. I have designed a Career style that is perfect for me and that is fueling my success as a solopreneur. I am doing more quality work than ever before because of the openness of my clients and the inspiration I have created for myself.