There are several definitions of balance. “An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” “To keep something in a steady position so that it does not fall”. Balance is not a static action, balance is always in motion. The key is not to fall.

I am often asked about work/life balance. “How can I achieve a better work/life balance?” or “I want an environment that offers a great work/life balance.” “How do I manage my own work/life balance?” I start by asking for the individual’s definition.

To work to achieve an even distribution of weight as it relates to business and your personal life is an unrealistic goal. Work is part of life, and to try and separate them is ridiculous.

Frankly, the fact that many graduates come out of incredible universities with this goal is concerning. Another reason I feel our universities fail our students, but that is for a different blog. The balance of career, marriage, kids, extended family, outside interests, etc., etc., etc., can be a challenge. Let’s reframe it.

Balance is not a static action, balance is always in motion. The key is not to fall.

If balance is what you seek, balance has to be driven by you. This is a lesson I have learned the hard way. I spent years juggling too much and getting spread too thin. As a mom with a career where I am “all in”, here are a few truths to share.

  1. Take care of yourself. Everyday. Physically, mentally, spiritually. The first thing I check when I feel out of balance is where these areas are for me. I cannot operate at optimum level if any of these 3 areas are off.
  2. Limit your commitments and distractions outside of clear goals. I have said “No” more times in the last 5 years based on focus on family and work than ever before. There are only so many hours in the day. I cherish my family time when I am not focused at work. Everything else is white noise.
  3. Routine is a critical foundation. Make a routine of time spent daily taking care of yourself, focusing on your career goal, and doing something you love. Give yourself permission to embrace favorite moments. My favorite moments are snuggling with my boys and talking about their days.
  4. This may be the most important truth of all. Find a life partner that balances you. In my case, my husband sees what I need without my words. He has a career as well, but not nearly as demanding, and because of that, he is able to take on much of the responsibility at home. He and I cherish the time we get together, whether it is a few hours running errands or a planned date night. Connection with your partner is a critical part in harmony.

I work with executives globally and there is a universal truth out there. When one is dedicated to career, the hours and expectations are high. If you want to clock in and clock out from work, there are careers that allow for that, but don’t expect that the ability to leave a legacy nor earning potential to be the same. The reality is, every executive in the world has to drive their own internal balance.

If you are in a career where you believe in the mission, your focus will be there most of the day. That doesn’t mean you can’t have harmony in your life.

Balance is not a static action, balance is always in motion. The key is not to fall.

Written by Holly Scott
Holly Scott is the Vice President and Senior Partner of The Mullings Group.