WHY YOU NEED TO STOP PURSUING WORK-LIFE BALANCE [GUEST POST]

The below is a guest post by the premier expert on school-to-work transition and developing the core work ethic of teens and young adults…Eric Chester. Dig in gang.
Off Balance On Purpose
Work – Life Balance.

As a baby boomer teen born to depression-era parents, I never heard that term once.  Didn’t exist back then and, if it had, it would have never come out of my father’s mouth.  Hard work was his life, and when he had a day off, he worked.  To my dad and those who were his age and older, balance was something you did to your checkbook when the statement arrived.

It wasn’t until the late eighties when this three-word term entered the American lexicon, and it wasn’t popularized until the late nineties. Now those three words are said in conjunction as frequently as pass the salt.

When was the last time you made it through a day without hearing a coworker, friend, or associate talk about achieving work-life balance? It’s almost as if this had become the ultimate destination where everyone wants to go; a Shangri-La where life and work co-exist in perfect harmony; the intersection of meaningful contribution, passion, relaxation, and prosperity.

Who doesn’t want to go there, even if only for a weekend visit?
Trouble is, true work-life balance is a myth. I’ve never met the individual who says they work just the right amount of time (and no more) and that their work provides them everything they need and want, making their life balance perfectly.

We know what work is.  It’s the ‘life’ part of the equation that interrupts the balance.

Life is an all-inclusive term that encompasses our health and fitness, our social relationships, our family time, our personal interests and recreational pursuits, our spiritual growth, etc.

Now what King or Queen lives a fairy tale existence where all of those things by themselves are in balance–not-to-mention, in balance with work?

I confess that my life is rarely ‘in balance’.  And I carry around a lot of guilt and angst about that. This weekend, a good friend sent me this video of a brilliant Ted talk.  It’s changed my perspective.

I’m certainly not going to stop working hard, nor will I abandon my desire to seek balance with the various aspects of my life.  But what I’ve discovered from Dan Thurmon’s inspiring 18-minute presentation is that it’s okay–make that perfectly natural and normal–to be out of balance, as long as I do so on purpose.

So beginning today, I’m going to let go of my pursuit of work-life balance and focus on staying on purpose.  Heck, I’m even going to finally learn to juggle; something I’ve always wanted to do but never have purposely created the space to pursue.

 
About the Author: Eric Chester is the premier expert on school-to-work transition and developing the core work ethic of teens and young adults. As an in-the-trenches professional, Eric has personally addressed more than two million high school and college students, authored nine books for teens, and has kept dialed-in to the mindset of this burgeoning generation. Follow him on Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / YouTube.
This article originally appeared on Reviving Work Ethic and has been republished with permission.
 
Question: What aspect of your life needs to become off-balance?

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