Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my work/life balance. The whole concept of balance is something I casually chat about a lot, and strive for on a daily basis. Yet every time I try to respond to a reader or sit down to write a post about the subject, I stare at the screen.
Balance is a tricky subject because it doesn’t look the same on everyone. And more importantly, it doesn’t look the same in every season of our own lives. Sure, it would be lovely if we could all always get 8 hours of sleep, wake up to meditation, work out every day, never think about work after 5:30pm, and be present in every moment. I mean, isn’t that what the goal looks like? I’ll admit, that’s what it looks like to me!
But the truth is, it’s just not real life for most of us! If it is for you, NAMASTE GIRL. Enjoy that balance! But if you’re like me, trying to build a business, keep your head above water, and pay your bills… it can be frustrating to see the word in that context because it feels so out of grasp most days.
But the biggest lightbulb moment for me was when I started to recognize the difference between work ethic and unnecessary stress. I think our society glorifies stress, especially when it comes to people around my age. We have often been told that our generation is entitled and lazy… which only fuels people like me to prove them wrong! The problem with that, is it shifts the importance of a strong work ethic into an unhealthy stress zone. And the worst part? It feels entirely justified and sometimes necessary in order to be a successful and respected person.
So, what’s a girl to do?!
Well, I’m not an expert by any means, but this is what I’ve learned. The “hustle” is necessary sometimes. If I didn’t commit as fully to Lake Shore Lady as I did last year while I was also working nearly full time at my day job, LSL wouldn’t be what it is today. And for that, the hard work and stress were 10000% worth it. BUT! (Yes, of course there’s a but!) But, I think every person needs to be honest with themselves about what they can handle. What is too much? What can I deal with as long as it’s temporary? And what is most important to me at this time?
I’m incredibly glad that I looked at my life and said “this is the time to do this.”
I’m not married, I don’t have kids, I don’t have a mortgage – if there was ever a time to roll up my sleeves and attempt to do it all, even at the risk of it not working, that was it! And as I get ready to enter a very busy month of June (we have a big conference for work that I’m sure will take my position over part time for a few weeks), I now have full confidence that I can handle it all, because I’ve done it before!
That being said, I’ve realized that lifestyle isn’t sustainable for me.
I’ve finally admitted that I can’t work 2 full time jobs anymore… and you know what? I don’t feel bad about it! I put the time in, and while I’m not sure when/if I’ll ever fully reach the idyllic version of “balance,” I do understand why it’s worth striving for. I’m sure I’ll always write blog posts late into the night, and spend more time than I should going through my email inbox on the weekends… but I’ve also learned that slowing down can actually help my hustle.
My first piece of advice has to do with the quote below (that I read on the Shine App!).
Can you check in and speak to yourself in the way you would speak to your friend? For some reason, we can so clearly see when the people we love are working incredibly hard… so why do we judge ourselves so much more? Instead of putting yourself down for what you haven’t done, be proud of what you have done. And maybe cut yourself some slack every once in while.
Overwhelmed: That feeling when we tell a friend, “You can’t do it all,” but tell ourselves, “Um, do it all, now.”
Which leads me to my second piece of advice…
Write down what you haven’t done… yet. It may seem like a lot of life is a now or never situation, but it’s not. It’s just not, guys. That’s a whole other blog post I want to write, so I won’t dive too deep into it here. But if something else is more important and you can’t get to that thing you wanted to do today, this week, this month – that doesn’t mean you never will! Keep it on your list and you just might find the inspiration to tackle it when the time is right, instead of forcing it to work because you feel like you should.
And lastly, you know yourself better than anyone else.
Trust that. Trust that your best is enough. You have something special to bring to whatever table you’re showing up at – in fact, knowing and embracing that is exactly what will help you succeed. I’m sure I’m not the only one who doubts herself sometimes, especially since it’s so easy to compare ourselves to other people, whether it’s in the space that we want to succeed in or not. So hold tight to whatever it is that made you want to work hard in the first place. Focus on THAT, instead of stressing for the sake of stressing.
Checking in with the REAL motivation behind your work can be extremely enlightening. And even better, it can help you figure out when to push through and when to shut your computer to relax and/or be present with the people you love. After all, life is what you make of it… but it’s also about LIVING.
We should be able to achieve great things and also stop to smell the flowers, right?
Do you have trouble finding a work/life balance?
I’d love to hear what has worked for you or what hasn’t. After all, we’re all works in progress, aren’t we?!
PS. You might also like How Slowing Down Has Helped My Hustle, Celebrating What You Have vs. What You Haven’t, and How to Deal with Negativity.