Thursday, January 1, 2015

Work-Life Balance Does Not Exist

At least not for the entrepreneur.

This mysterious concept is posted everywhere and I'm guilty of using the term often. But I'm calling an end to the fascination with "work-life balance" for 2015. Who's ready to join me?

What is work-life balance exactly? It's the concept that with proper prioritizing between your "work" and your "lifestyle" (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development). That one can maintain the zen harmony of fulfilling both of these "cups" equally.

I call bullshit.

Am I allowed to say that on a "mommy-blog"? I just did. Many parenting columns believe that by focusing solely on one or the other at a time is one way of achieving this. This may work for some, but not for me, and probably not for you. 

I've 2 small children, one who is still nursing (albeit infrequently) and one who is incredibly inquisitive, often times whiney and needs attention almost constantly. If I had to carve out time to focus on work alone, I'd have two very unhappy kids and a very guilty conscience waiting for me. 

Sometimes work is your lifestyle, and sometimes your lifestyle is only as satisfying as your business is successful. 2015's new concept: your work and your life are one in the same. An internal collaboration of vision, love, drive, success, encouragement, networking and support for all of the above.  

No more do we struggle to find time to work, or find time to snuggle. Women, especially mothers are categorized as being frazzled and easily overwhelmed "Oh My, you MUST be exhausted" or my favorite "How do you do it all?" My best work is when my kiddos are laying beside me while I finish up that financial summary, or as I plan my next ten social media marketing tactics. While on a conference call, I sometimes change a diaper! What??! I have meetings at coffee shops I know are kid friendly and during some of these meetings, the IPAD is my saving grace. 

My social circle consists of very understanding friends who love me even though I may be noncommittal and other entrepreneurs who understand the plight. This has happened organically, and through honesty I can still remain a friend, a mother and a multi-business owner.

I essentially hit the lottery when I met my husband, who also happens to be a serial entrepreneur. This comes in handy when the laundry piles up and when we need to we roll up those sleeve, unplug and focus. We focus on our business, raising two kind and well adjusted children to the best of our abilities and yes, focus on that damn laundry together. 

I've stopped during the writing of this blog post to fix my daughter two separate post lunch pre dinner snacks, kiss a booboo, talk to my husband about a prospective client and to take a vitamin, and that's ok. That is what it means to WORK and to LIVE, in harmony. 

Take a look at the synonyms for the word "WORK". Every one of them with a negative connotation. And then take a gander at the word "LIFE". ALL positive. This is the reason why the work-life balance concept was created, to deal with the "drudgery" of one, and the "zest" of another. They can both be zesty, you know.

The movement:   

1. Forget the guilt
You are a great person and your intentions are to be the best *fill in the blank* wife, mother, friend, brother, sister, father, business owner, marketing exec, corporate fat cat, whatever.

2. Write it down
All of it. Business goals, family goals, timelines, cleaning schedules, if you do it, write it.

3. Skip Around
You are writing a book and your editor needs a draft by Tuesday and you're only half way through. But Monday is your cleaning day and today is Sunday, and the kids have soccer practice.
BREATHE. Sorry laundry, dishes, vacuuming, you've been pushed to Tuesday, I've got business to do.

4. Be Honest
Being a business owner means getting down to business. Sometimes this means missing that girls night out or skipping the kiddie parade for St Patty's Day. Explain why you can't commit, be transparent in your aspirations and ask for understanding.

5. Give Love
Wether you're a mother, a wife, a brother, or a friend. Small acts of compassion go a long way. you'll always be "busy"with something. Take a second to renew your energy and your focus. Send a text to a sick friend, give your munchkin a big unexpected hug while they're playing patiently. Tell your husband how much you appreciate him.

It's a hard task to keep yourself accountable for follow-through. So many times we see our child as an excuse to postpone our business goals when they should be the driving force behind your ambition.

Join the PROJECT ZEST community on Facebook for support, advice and support in keeping ZEST in all you do.