Words certainly do have power. In the case of the term 'work/life balance' powerlessness would be more apt in my view.
I meet lots of people feeling stressed because they can't seem to get what they tell me is the elusive balance. Momentarily they are not happy with me either when I suggest that the idea is a myth, BS in fact!
The following extract from my Changing What's Normal book is what I often give to people as an alternative. You can download a digital copy of this book here.
The word balance for me implies equal. I prefer the word harmony, therefore life/work harmony.
My personal and business life are not equal or in balance, and are never likely to be.
They are in harmony with one another, that is, they work together like a symphony, two sides of the same coin
Here are my 11 laws of life/work harmony. I trust they will help you live a more harmonious life.
1. The Law of Harmony
Opposites attract. There are always at least two sides to every story.
Always think both/and, rather than either/or; accept the good with the bad; appreciate pleasure, gain from pain; focus on the positive, learn from the negative; and you will soon begin to find harmony in your life.
2. The Law of Possibility
The opportunities life offers us are endless. There are no limits, except those we place on ourselves. There is nothing we cannot achieve.
Adopt the Wayne Dyer mantra "You'll see it when you believe it."
3. The Law of Personal Responsibility
No one else can make us feel or think glad, sad, bad or mad. How we feel and think are choices we make.
We must own our feelings and thoughts and not get tangled in other people’s feelings and thoughts. We must let go of attachment to what other people feel and think. Soon we eliminate guilt and worry; two of life’s most useless and most debilitating emotions.
4. The Law of Attraction
Success is not something we attain, rather something we attract.
Commit to life-long learning; focus on insight more than information and wisdom more than knowledge. The more we become who we are capable of becoming the more we attract success.
5. The Law of the Farm
You find fertile ground, plough it, seed it, and nurture it, and more often than not you reap a harvest. We get what we give. What goes around comes around. These are modern ways of describing an old adage; we reap what we sow.
The message of this law is that we must focus on proven processes and detach from outcomes. If we are taking the right action, results take care of themselves.
6. The Law of Relationships
We gravitate to those we like, know and trust.
Establish shared values with family, friends and work colleagues, and agree on how they will be lived; have shared goals and agree on the key strategies to achieve them; practice non-judgment; give genuine attention to others. Before you know it your relationships will be stronger and the great door of opportunity will open more often.
7. The Law of Service
Giving without attachment to getting back creates one of life’s great paradoxes; we get more back.
Fully understand what others need and provide it; go the extra mile
By adding value to every transaction and interaction; co-create wow experiences at work, home and play. Before long others will be serving you in ways beyond your wildest expectations.
8. The Law of Confidence
Confidence is to maintain a positive inner and outer image and display them. The problem can be that confidence is often perceived as arrogance.
Demonstrate openness to learning and not asserting your way is the only way while at the same time believe in yourself; believe in others; speak and communicate from your heart; and confidence will rarely get mistaken for arrogance.
9. The Law of Actual Communication
Not all talk is communication. We often talk just for the joy of it. To actually communicate is to agree on some course of action even if it is to agree to disagree.
To communicate better speak with a specific goal in mind and listen simply to understand, and when speaking and listening ask for feedback to ensure message effectiveness. You will most likely find you will speak less and listen more. The result however is to eventually eliminate misunderstanding, one of the great negative stress causes in life.
10. The Law of Adaptability
I heard a great saying one time “better to adapt than be a sitting duck and get run over”
Our willingness to adapt, be flexible, and go with the flow are keys to a negative stress free life. A key seems to be to realize it is not what happens to us that is important rather our response to what happens. Take responsibility for your responses to life and life will respond to you.
11. The Law of Synchronicity/Interconnectedness
Everything is connected in some way to everything else.
Seek coincidence, follow your heart, “do what you love” says Steven Farber “in the service of people who love what you do”; and your life will soon change for the better.
Have a personal sustainability plan (thank you Adam Werbach for the idea from his book Strategies for Sustainability) i.e. do what you can personally for the good of people and our planet. Imagine if everyone did this. We would have universal harmony.
Who will you become? What will you do next?