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Debunking the Myth About the Perfect Work-Life Balance

Debunking the Myth About the Perfect Work-Life Balance

Anyone who has a busy schedule, responsibilities and a steady flow of stress that spans different areas of his or her life has likely struggled to find balance. This is even more true for small business owners who generally take on a little bit of everything in order to get the job done. The simple truth is that there are are only so many hours in a day, and so many places you can be at one time.

It doesn’t matter if you are a “go with the flow” kind of person, or a “super-detailed, need for control” kind of person. You can fly by the seat of your pants, or you can live by your plans, lists and deadlines. It doesn’t matter which side of the scale you fall on, the struggle is the same: finding balance — the place where you feel like you are giving the perfect amount of yourself to your work, and the perfect amount of yourself to our personal life, while avoiding an inordinate amount of stress — is challenging.

As a recovering perfectionist, I have spent much of my life trying to achieve a perfect balance between work and my personal life. Like many other Type-A entrepreneurs, I wanted everything in my life to be lined up straight, organized and making complete sense. You know when my view of achievable perfection came crashing down? When I had kids. My oldest is going on six, and I have yet to regain any sustainable sense of control.

I have learned that, for me, the only way to achieve balance — not a perfect balance, just a balance that prevents me from toppling off the top of the mountain — is by accepting imperfection and imbalance.

Yes…I reach balance by striving toward an acceptable level of imbalance. In fact, I have certain levels of imbalance that are okay for me. I’m not scared of failure or of making mistakes. Oh, I hate to fail, don’t get me wrong. But I’m well past the point of becoming complacent because I don’t want to risk an unfavorable outcome. That is the way life goes for busy people, ambitious people, entrepreneurs and parents. You take the route that may leave you a little frazzled at the end of the day, but gives you the most opportunity for creating the life you want.

Eventually, the imbalance becomes consistent. It’s expected and accepted. You will not reach perfection. If you can accept that and look to the next desirable outcome, you are ahead of the game. And once you shift your level of expectations, the imbalance becomes balance.

So if you have 4,862 balls in the air, do you expect to keep every single one from touching the ground, or do you have room for error? What’s your version of balance, and how realistic is it? What does balance mean for you?

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About Alyssa Gregory

Alyssa is a small business owner, speaker, writer and collaboration-addict. She's a team player, a team builder and not a bad leader, either. You can often find her on various social networks looking for remarkable people to collaborate with. Read more.
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4 Comments on Debunking the Myth About the Perfect Work-Life Balance

  1. Alyssa, you hit the nail in the head with this blog post. Can’t agree more with you. Small business owners are generally in a better position at balancing this work-life time crisis compared to someone who is doing a 9 to 5 job and moreover, we as entrepreneurs are “okay” with uncertainty. To-do Lists always remain pending, plans always fail, often you can not get started on the next big thing you had for your business roadmap; that’s how life is too. You can’t sit and think about what to do next, just get the next most important goal and get it over with. Outside of this rat-race, you just need to leave it all and live a life – otherwise what’s the point really anyway?

    • Thanks for your comment, Dhaval! You’re absolutely right that entrepreneurs need to be OK with a level of uncertainty. That’s a hard thing to accept for many of us who thrive on having control, but if we can master it, it becomes a lot easier to juggle the challenges of self-employment.

  2. Alyssa, get out of my head!

    Seriously, this post makes sense for all entrepreneurs. You want so much to line everything up, to have a perfect plan and a seamless schedule. That’s just not the reality of an entrepreneurial lifestyle.

    But, I wouldn’t give it up for anything! It’s so much more exciting than the old 9-to-5. My ideas are mine. My achievements are mine. My mistakes are all mine, too.

    You are right that we need to let go of the old concept of balance and embrace the life we have!

    • Exactly, Alicia! And I think this lesson applies to all of us, whether we are self-employed or working for someone else. You need to have a sense of peace about where you are in life and the rest will all fall into place.

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