Career Woman

Work life balance, is there really such a thing?

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Women in the business world know all about chasing the long sought after concept of work life balance; seeking equilibrium and that perfect combination. Working mums, corporate high flyers or women doing their thing because let’s face it money makes the world go round , we’re all in the same race wanting to cram in the perfect amounts of what we see as the utmost importance, the pivotal pieces that make our world turn.

I am no exception to this, but eight years and a senior leadership position in my chosen field later, I’ve finally realised the balance we all speak of doesn’t exist. At least not in the fairy tale story were often sold. This new found reality has lead me to evolve my outlook to think of the concept as work life integration, because that’s something I feel is worth striving for, and most importantly achievable!

It’s an outlook that’s formed from huge highs and even bigger lows, with days of feeling like I’m smashing being a mother, wife and woman in leadership all at once and weeks of facing the reality that sometimes I barely succeeded at any one of them. So here are three things I learnt on my journey that I wish I had the foresight of as a 20 year old embarking on my career:

 

Know your whys

If you don’t know what’s important to you in your life, why you work, and where it fits in to your life, commit the time to yourself to identify it. It is so much easier to keep perspective and understand what leaves you feeling fulfilled and like you are successfully blending all areas of your life if you have a founded sense of what matters as a starting point. From here I’ve found it’s easier to prioritise where you are investing your energy and you have something to come back to when you begin to feel like you’re over indexing in any one area or things change. Because let’s face it, your career will play a different role in your life at different stages and it is absolutely ok for your emphasis to shift with these.

 

Don’t compare or judge, yourself or others

What matters to you in your life at any given time will not be the same as anyone else. Your ability to integrate everything you have going on, what you consider to be important or a priority and how much emphasis you need to place on each area in your life to feel fulfilled is personal. Where ever possible, avoid allowing yourself to compare or judge your ‘balance’ with others, or allow them the ability to pass comment on how they feel you are managing this. It is absolutely not worth the potential self-doubt. Just because one person feels life is out of sync when they work full time instead of spending that 38 hours with their children does not mean you need to feel the same if you get my drift.

 

Overcome your fear of riding the rollercoaster

Some weeks finding time to do all the things that matter to you is easy and life is good. The weeks it’s not are inevitable, and for some reason they never seem to get easier even if you know they’re coming. If you can find peace in this, ride them out and keep perspective, it will be easier to manage the feeling that life isn’t where you wanted it to be right in that moment in time. Those weeks where you are living at the office and your friends and family have issued a search warrant for you will always have a light at the end of the  tunnel and you will make sure you embrace the adrenalin of the good weeks when your are the #girlboss kicking all your goals!

And above all else, if you’re alive and made it through the day, whatever it looked like, remember, chances are it was a success. Sometimes we are just too hard on ourselves!

 

About Carly Green

A senior HR business partner, young mother and wife with an incomparable zest for life, Carly Green is an advocate for women in the workplace. Carly is a leader passionate about integrating motherhood and career and shares this with a broad network of professional females. Her personal mission: to show that you can successfully have both, if you want to.

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