Five mistakes smart people make when seeking work-life balance

I know some incredibly intelligent, hardworking, professional women. Superwomen. Supermoms. And as smart as they are, they make mistakes when seeking work-life balance. We all do, me especially.

Heart balance

Photo by James Jordan used with permission.

Mistake #1 – We tell ourselves we need to do everything

We don’t. That’s just a recipe for burnout, misery, resentment, guilt, and dissatisfaction to name a few. A couple of years ago, I tried running faster and faster to get to my happy place. I figured if I did that, I’d get where I wanted to go that much more quickly. It didn’t. In fact, it felt like I just got slower and slower. I got tired out and had no energy for anything else.

Mistake #2 – We assume we need to be excellent at everything

“Every meal I prepare must be handmade from scratch with 100% organic ingredients and must be heavily praised or else I’m a failure/bad mom/sloppy girlfriend/poor excuse for a wife.” Let’s give ourselves a bit of slack here. We’re pretty awesome.

Mistake #3 – We have an all or nothing mindset

This sounds like, “I must do my scrapbooking/card making/sewing/knitting/running fully and completely, or it’s just not worth it. If I can’t do it full-on, I won’t do it at all.” We need to ask ourselves instead, “What might life be like if I had just 10 minutes more of that thing I love every week?” Imagine having more of what you love in your life every single week!

Mistake #4 – We chase other peoples’ ideas of what work-life balance means

Balance for me may not be balance for you, and vice versa. Let’s consider what work-life balance means specifically to each of us. I invite you to take 15 minutes and write out your ideas as quickly as possible in a brain dump. Then cross things out that don’t feel right. Add new ideas in. Play with it until you have something that represents work-life balance for you.

Mistake #5 – We think that when _x_ is in our lives, then and only then can we have work-life balance.

For example, “When I get that promotion, I’ll have more money to do the things I want. I’ll have more time too. And when I have more time and money, I’ll finally be able to create my work-life balance.” It seldom works that way. In fact, when we do get more time and money we are often left wondering what the heck happened to it. Or we don’t feel that sense of utopia we were hoping for. Here’s the secret: we’re not really looking for work-life balance. We’re looking for what work-life balance can give us. Ask yourself, “If I had work-life balance fully and completely in my life, what would that give me?”

I’d love to know what your answer is! Leave a comment or take the conversation to my Facebook page.

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