A work-life balance can mean anything depending on who you are, what you value and what makes you feel alive.
You can reach a wonderful work life balance working 80 hours a week if you do what you love. The more you work, the more you build energy, the happier you are and the most you are able to give the best of yourself to your beloved and your relatives.
Alternatively, you can be finding your balance in structuring your time, working part-time per example. Being dedicated to your work and working efficiently while keeping time for yourself and/or your family.
You can also find a good work life balance by making career breaks when needed and keeping on with your career development when the pause time is over.
In all cases, your choice will possibly make you happier than what you currently are. So why not going for it?
Here are a few reasons why people are reluctant to engage themselves with more balance that I have witnessed during my coaching work.
- There are so few people who successfully reached an enjoyable work-life balance, that most people do not know in their circles, anybody who has. Therefore, they tend to believe that it is an utopia. However, you only need to find one person who succeeded at living a balance: If one can do it, you can do it as well.
- Most people are too scared to lose what they have: They think “If I ask for a part-time or a job-sharing, they will believe that I am not willing to grow in the company, they will refuse and my career here is dead”. This is might be true but it is also true that “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”. That’s all about the courage to go for what you want while measuring the risks and making a decision.
- Some other people do effectively reduce their working time to be doing more of what is really important. However, they fail at learning to say no. Working at reduced occupation time is an art and requires a strong personality. It requires to be clear with oneself about what you can do and can’t. It forces to cope with the risk to disappoint someone’s expectations although we spent our entire working life to make it up to the company and to others’ expectations.
- Sometime when considering making a career break people believe that they first need to give up all their professional ambitions. There are so many example of people, often women, who have made a definitive choice: I stop working now and I accept that latter, I won’t come back to the level I was. Yet employability is an asset that can be developed during a career break. Getting out of corporate life does not necessarily mean that you stop developing skills, increasing your knowledge, growing your network or building new experienced. It is unfortunate that a lot is said about “back to work” and less about how to keep employability high. But there’s a choice there. It’s possible.
- It also happens that having set an organisation for more work-life balance, people fail to enjoy it. They do not dare to be happy with their balance and even less to say that they enjoy their lifestyle. They might even feel frustrated, sometime even guilty of not being 120% in each part of their life. Self-satisfaction and being able to enjoy what you have require to be aligned with yourself and to develop a mindful attitude towards life.
Reaching an enjoyable work-life balance is not something you get as granted, in one day but it is feasible: It works as other projects do; by allocating time, the right resources, persistency and sometime, the outside support of a coach.
Sandrine van den Oudenhoven helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes.