What’s Even Better Than Work-Life Balance?

This article is my first of two guest posts for Diantha Harris author of Simply Color and the creative force behind life potentials.net.

If your New Year’s resolutions included a promise to yourself to create work-life balance, I’d like you to reconsider. Here’s why: Balance means giving equal time and energy to the different areas of your life. And doing that requires constant evaluation, deliberation and calculation.

It’s hard.

It can feel heavy.

Here’s what I want you to know:

You can do better than work-life balance. You can create stability and priorities without living within an equation.

You can have work-life flow.

Work-life flow is almost the antithesis of work-life balance. Flow does not involve doing arithmetic, or working fewer hours in order to have more time for your family, friends, hobbies and vacations. Work-life flow is deeply rooted in what matters most to you – and what matters most to you is deeply rooted in who you are at your core.

You know that feeling you have when your mind is quiet and you have a deep sense of well-being? That’s when you are connected to your core, that’s when you’re in work-life flow. You’re making time for what’s important to you, personally and professionally – without apologies, guilt or anxiety. You feel calmer, more focused and accomplished. Your attention and energy move more easily between work and home. Your life and work are more fulfilling and enjoyable.

So how do you get there?

In my coaching practice, one of the most rewarding and enriching exercises for my clients is identifying and honoring their deeply rooted wants. Below is an exercise that can help you take the first steps to work-life flow.

Honor Your Deeply Rooted Wants

Honoring your deeply rooted wants helps you get in sync with  your core, your truest self.

Your deeply rooted wants are intimately connected to the people, places, activities and tenets that bring you joy, restore your hope and fill your reserves (e.g., spending time with your family, leading by example, hiking in the mountains, tackling a project that stretches you).

You may discover that your deeply rooted wants and your loved ones’ deepest desires aren’t the same and that honoring your wants by purposefully integrating them into how you spend your time and energy may initially make you feel a bit selfish. And that’s okay.

Your roots are there to nourish you – not someone else. Let go of feeling guilty by knowing that honoring your wants allows you to give more freely and fully to others.

Identify Your Deeply Rooted Wants

  • Brainstorm 7 to 10 roles you could play that would support what you most deeply want for yourself. (Example: Be an unwavering champion. My own best marketer. Enthusiastic amateur guitarist.)
  • Now consider 3 to 5 of those roles that resonate in your heart: What would you gain by taking them on?
  • What familiar roles do you need to let go of in order to support what you most deeply want for yourself? (Example: Being the fix-it person for everyone. The solitary leader who doesn’t need others.)
  • What would you gain by letting go of those roles?

Cultivate Your Roots

Each day this week, use one of your roles as a guiding star for honoring your deeply rooted wants. For example, on Monday, if you select “Be my own best marketer,” check in with yourself throughout the day: If you were your best marketer, how would you act? What would you think? What you would say?

If you have a quick two minutes I’d love for you to let me know what you discovered and experienced. Just leave a comment below.

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