Work Life balance is one of the most common struggles in today’s society. Almost everyone is trying to reach that balance and to maintain it. I am not discussing the fact that work is part of life and therefore we could question this expression, I just assume that what we mean by that is how we balance our personal and professional lives.
In a recent discussion I had, it appeared that the term balance might feel rigid, static, like it seems very hard or impossible to reach that equilibrium and even more to maintain it. A sense of frustration, stress and guilt might then show up as soon as moving away from this equilibrium, one way or another. As soon as we are making a move, we are unbalanced!
A few days later, as I was meditating, this conversation came back to my mind. I was thinking about this rigid and stressful way of seeing work life balance, when I realized that the term balance has the same origin as the French word “se balancer” which means to swing (and the French word for a swing is “balançoire”). So, I started to envision work life balance as work life swing, a dynamic definition where you can swing from one side to another, where you get to choose the extreme point with the momentum you give to the swing. It takes away the sense of guilt or stress when you are giving more to one side, because you know it’s temporary and you will soon go back to the other side, effortlessly. It brings a sense of flexibility, of energy and freedom (If you haven’t been on a swing since you were a kid, do it, it’s really fun!) rather than a sense of struggle to constantly maintain a fragile balance. And it reminds us that life is a playground and we shouldn’t forget to have fun!
And, if you are very imaginative, you can even consider a “3D” swing like the ones with a donut shape (with a tire for instance), one fixation point at the top and which have a more circular move, not just one side to another but in many different directions which would represent different areas of your life (work, spouse, kids, friends, sport, music, etc…).
Eventually, this short reflection illustrates:
- The power of words and language.
- The power of shifting the paradigm or the context in which we are living. There is not One truth, we can create our own, one that fits with our values, needs and goals.
So, does the work life swing concept resonate with you? If not, what is YOUR paradigm for work life balance?