I heard it said recently that there is no such thing as a “work-life balance.” For the life of me, I cannot remember where it was said to credit the source. I am beginning to believe, not just for myself, that it’s an accurate statement.
Who do you know (who do you really know) that has solved this balance portion?
If I know someone who is a great worker, or at least professionally successful, they made a compromise somewhere else: social time with friends, quality time with family, maybe they even gave up their hobbies.
Jonathan Fields, in his book “How To Live a Good Life”, spoke of having buckets. He posited that each bucket resembled a facet of your life and he gave advice on how to fill them as you saw a need to do so.
While I thought the book was a great read and have recommended it to others, I recently was speaking to a client (we’ll call her Gina) about this same concept.
In as long as I’ve known Gina, and it’s been a long time, she has always done exceedingly well with her work, with her family/friends and with her hobbies. She is a high achiever. When she sets her mind to something, she puts in the hours and the sweat equity to get what she wants.
She has fought time and time again to not only succeed at weight loss but to ever let those pounds creep back up.
And her body pays the highest price.
She has now set her sights on an even greater professional endeavor, one that I firmly believe she will achieve.
But at what cost?
Will she continue to put in the work hours and climb that corporate ladder to her ultimate goal only to find her body betray her at that final proverbial rung?
And this was the conversation we had.
I told her that maybe she needs to pull back the reigns from one area of her life so she can wrestle this weight loss foe once and for all. Gina is married and like many married couples, her spouse doesn’t need to lose weight anymore than she needs a hole in the head. That makes the in-home dynamics a struggle whether they want it to be or not.
This obstacle is not only common but can be very difficult to navigate. For some great information on how to do so, I highly recommend you listen to THIS.
For someone who can professionally thrive at all costs, I challenged Gina to not be the star employee for a while. She can still work hard, she can still be productive, but she has to learn the power in saying “No” to work so she can say “Yes” to herself.
That “Yes” does not mean extra helpings at dinner, mindless grazing on stressful days or reckless abandon with trigger foods.
It signifies a YES to meal planning, YES to getting in her steps/workouts, YES to making these health decisions the non-negotiable in her life. Much like the doctor’s appointments that we schedule and never miss, the clients who I see succeed make their self-care appointments stick.
As the adage goes “How can you take care of others if you can’t take care of yourself?”
But I am not immune to the fact that you cannot focus on every “bucket” and expect them to stay full. The priorities need to shift (albeit temporarily) so you can focus on the aspects that demand your attention.
It’s about setting boundaries.
It’s about reminding yourself that YOU matter.
It’s about the liberation in turning certain things/events down because you have to focus on you.
And if you’re not sure that you’re capable of doing so, ask yourself how the alternative feels. Because that’s the reality you’re working from now.
When you’ve got the health bucket closer to full, then you can reassess and apply focus in other places. You can be simultaneously successful at several things if you’re honest with yourself about what you can and can’t currently handle.
Most of what I see come through my door are these super achievers who have mastered work and mastered their social lives but have completely abandoned appropriate self-care.
You will succeed but what will you compromise?
“We Make Great People Greater”
(This is our resident 12-yr old wonder, Sydnee, pulling a new deadlift PR of 150×1)