72% of U.S. employees consider work-life balance to be very important. (statista.com)
66% of workers feel they do not have work-life balance in their lives. (Smallbiz Trends)
About 190 billion dollars per year is spent to address the psychological and physical effects of burnout. (Harvard Business Review)
The concept of work-life balance has been around for years and we still haven't figured out exactly how to make it happen. In theory, it's a great concept, a way to have it all. But in practice, we can not fully separate all of the pieces of our life to put them on one side of the scale or the other. Our work, our health, our family, our friends are all integral parts of a whole person and a whole life.
We are overwhelmed, exhausted, irritable, and impatient. Doing lots of things but not doing anything well. Feeling frustrated with ourselves because we aren't doing enough and definitely aren't doing it right. We are continually putting out fires. We worry about letting others down. Feeling guilt and regret about missing important events. Being physically present but not mentally present. We are rushing, chasing success that always seems to be a bit out of reach, and cannot wait for retirement when we can finally slow down and actually take a true day off.
Why is this happening?
Here's my take.
We don't have a BALANCE problem.
We have an ALIGNMENT problem.
You go to the chiropractor to align your spine. Because when it is out of alignment you have discomfort, aches, and pains and your body doesn't function optimally.
You go to the mechanic to align your car's steering. Because when it is out of alignment your car pulls to the left or the right and you have to work much harder to stay on the road.
A life that is out of alignment has the same symptoms: discomfort, aches, pains, less than optimal function, more difficulty staying on course.
When we focus on alignment we are not trying to treat everything equally and we allow integration of our whole selves. We have clarity and can consciously choose to focus on the things that are most important to us. We live based on our personal values, priorities, and goals. We can relax and let go of the things we cannot control and things we do not really want (but have been conditioned to think we want). We can celebrate what we have done and quit beating ourselves up about what we haven't done. We can be intentional with our time and energy. We can experience happiness and success every day.
Are you ready to let go of struggling for balance and create alignment in your life?