Finding Balance – Reality or Ideal?

Last night I attended an insightful event sponsored by the Ohio Women’s Bar  Association on work/life balance. I came away from this event with some new ways to stretch my own thinking as well as with a sense that balance can only be defined by each of us, and with that, is only going to be accomplished the better we understand ourselves.

From one professional to another, we all enter the work force (whether male or female) with expectations of what our investment will do for our lives. At first this is driven by our upbringing – what our parents did and how they did it – and then by the lives of people around us in our journey.

We spend most of our days comparing ourselves to others, in some way. We see their successes, their failures, their lessons learned and their personal lives. From this we determine what we want and don’t want.

A question posed at last night’s event is

“What is happiness to you?”

What a great intrapersonal communication exercise!

As I look at this question in light of finding balance,  I am struck with outcome-driven answers:

a coveted income

personal assets (house, cars, jewelry, investments, etc)

family relationships

business/professional relationships

ability to give back


You may have other outcome-driven answers, maybe about being the FIRST, the BEST, the WINNINGest, etc. It may be to build a practice that you can eventually sell.

Regardless, answering the question of what happiness is determines our next steps in finding balance. Without defining this for ourselves, we aren’t creating a plan to follow through with, therefore we aren’t determining whether or not there is balance with the plan.

If we want to find balance between our work and personal lives, we must first define what we are seeking, then create a plan whereby we can measure our progress.

Without taking steps in defining and planning for happiness, we keep work/life balance as an ideal. Just like we’ve heard about dreams and goals – one is something we have in the back of our mind, the other is what we keep in front of us.

Goals are measurements that keep us centered and focused on what we are trying to accomplish. Dreams are fuzzy, superficial thoughts scattered around with the day to day sands of time.

It’s time to exercise your intrapersonal communication. Creating work/life balance requires focused thought about what we want, what we are trying to create, what it will take to accomplish this and then setting up a plan to track our activity. When we do this, we shift from the elusive ideal of creating balance to making it a reality.

Become thoughtful today about your own balance- give your mind and the voice in your head something to work on, work out and focus on – for your own peace of mind.

How do you define happiness? What’s your plan in accomplishing it?

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On August 11th, 2012, posted in: boundaries, career, clarity, intrapersonal communication by