Lately, I have been thinking a lot about work-life balance and the challenge it presents as we juggle the demands of our busy professional lives, the needs of our team, our families and our health and wellness. I struggle with the term work-life balance and believe it has become an acceptable way to say “I want less work”. For me, this begs the question “Why do we need to find an acceptable way to say this?”. What if we embraced the idea that there is no a one size fits all solution and found a way to be okay with what your current circumstances demand knowing it doesn’t have to define you for all time. What you need today, may look different from what you need tomorrow.
The term work-life balance forces us to compartmentalize specific aspects of our life and into an either/or scenario. Work is on this side of the teeter-totter and life is on the other side. These two aspects of life are placed in direct opposition to each other setting us up to live in a state of constant anxiety. When you are at work, you feel guilty you are not at home. When you are home, you feel guilty you are not at work. What if you value both your work and your life? Is it possible to find balance when choosing one (work), inevitably pulls you away from the other (life outside work)? The teeter-totter is in constant motion and finding the sweet spot or balance is an elusive goal that leaves us feeling “less than” when we cannot find that perfect balance the phrase “work-life balance” implies exists.
What if instead of a teeter-totter we thought of our life as a pie? As someone who loves to bake (and loves to eat pie) this analogy makes a lot of sense. Baking a pie is a creative endeavour. You make the pastry. You choose the filling. You decide who you will share it with. Finally, you decide how big your slice will be.
Throughout my life, I have made a lot of pies – apple, lemon meringue, frozen chocolate peanut butter, coconut cream. My mood, cravings and the event determine the pie I create. As your circumstances change, so too does your life pie. Thinking of life as pie not only puts you in the kitchen, in the role of a creator actively engaged in making your pie, it is also a reminder that “it all fits”. There is no “bad” pie, just as there is no one recipe for a balanced life.
I’m curious, what kind of pie will you create?