Adapt and Overcome: How I View Work Life Balance
The articles, blogs and social posts about work life balance are everywhere, but is it really possible that work life balance is attainable or are we looking at this all wrong? In a recent article from Business Insider, Bezos’ opinion on this subject is clear. Bezos believes that his new hires should stop attempting to achieve "balance" within their professional and personal lives, since that implies a strict trade-off between the two. Instead, he envisions a more holistic relationship between work and life outside the office.
I experience this first hand everyday in my life. I am reminded of a particular event that occurred for me 17 years ago, right after my daughter was born. I was serving as Vice-President of Training for a company that provided technology, training and support to financial advisors. It was not uncommon for me to hold several large conference calls a week with groups of advisors throughout the country. This was before the days of webinars and go to meetings, so the calls were all via phone and faxed materials.
On this particular day back in July 2001, I was scheduled to lead a conference call for nearly 400 people. And as luck would have it, my sitter had a family emergency and was unable to sit for me that day. I worked from home, so one might think I could put my daughter down for a nap or put on a Baby Einstein video and do the hour long call. But my daughter was experiencing colic, which is painful for babies and usually results in bouts of crying and screaming that can last for hours. I had to think fast. The call was less than 15 minutes away and I could not get her to calm down. This is where I learned to adapt and overcome. I picked her up, put her in her car seat, grabbed my cell phone and headset and started driving. I drove up and down the parkway for the entire hour while conducting the conference call. No one on the other end knew the difference and my daughter was calm and comfortable, even falling asleep from the vibration of the car.
When it comes to work and life, sometimes there is no balance, but a harmony...a blend of the two. Women who want or need to work frequently have to make decisions like I had to make that day. There was no balance possible. Life doesn’t always work in perfect synchronicity, sometimes balance is totally unattainable. Instead of thinking that everything has to be perfect and that balance is a goal to strive for, we should be thinking of creative ways to harmonize between what is important. In that way, in that adaptation, a new reality happens where we create the balance and perfection of the moment-the harmony of life and work. Grit, determination and a little outside of the box thinking can often do the trick.