I recently watched a TED talk presented by Nigel Marsh titled “How to Make Work-Life Balance Work“. In light of some upheaval during the past week, I found it a poignant topic. Am I in the right line of work? Am I pursuing it properly? What about my commitments outside my business?
Marsh argues that, “Certain job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged on a day-to-day basis with a young family.” He also posits that a work-life balance does not mean the same things to every human being on the planet. I too alluded to that sentiment in my previous post on this topic. In addition, his comment stuck with me that being balanced doesn’t mean I have to do a full 180 degree turn to find some solace.
As for the upheaval this past week – I found myself completely overwhelmed and inundated with the commitments I had made to myself/my business, my core group and my local business community. And now with the pending arrival of my first-born nearing closer every day, I forced myself to take a step back. To sit down and prioritize (again) what is most important, what will propel my business and life forward, and what I needed to let go of. This wasn’t an all-of-a-sudden realization. Quite the contrary! I’d been grappling with this internal dialogue for months and not coming to a solution yet.
What had to go? Sadly, a volunteer commitment I had made ended up on the chopping block. So too did some client work that while it was not garnering my business any cash flow, was serving to educate me hands-on to what is not working in the world of free Social Media. I loathe breaking commitments. Even more, I hate to leave people hanging. So I found a replacement for my volunteer gig before I handed in my resignation. I offered resources and future support to the client as well as a promise that once I’ve done more trial and error on my business’ Social Media we will re-engage.
Once those commitments were severed I felt a wash of emotions. Disappointment that I’m not able to do everything I want, or help everyone who asks. Embarrassment that I didn’t follow through completely on tasks I had committed to. And a sense of calm I haven’t felt in nearly two years.
With those commitments done away with, I immediately began to be able to focus more wholly on my business. To growing it and to marketing it without as much interruption and being pulled in a dozen directions. I was able to shift my thoughts to this summer and the preparation for our newborn. I was able to free up some time that will inevitably be filled with commitments I couldn’t place on the guillotine.
In all this I’ve been thinking about Harmony…a better word in my mind for Work-Life Balance. I enjoy working each day, putting in the blood, sweat, tears and audibly conversing with my computer on issues that need to be solved. I also enjoy being able to stop actively working on my business (all you entrepreneurs know you never actually stop working) in the evenings and weekends to maintain my Crossfit regimen and spend valuable time with my husband, family and friends.
A Harmonious life is what I’m striving for. To feel accomplished each day. Not frazzled and harried and so overwhelmed I can’t determine where to start with even creating the to-do list. Step one was firing myself from commitments I couldn’t fully uphold. This wasn’t an enormous shift. I didn’t quite on my business or sever all ties with those relationships. It was a small shift in the direction of greater balance. I wonder what step two will be?