worklife, balance, careers, personal insight, perspectives

I had a transforming work-life balance experience the other day. It came at me out of nowhere, and then hit me with a ton of bricks, but in a truly positive way.

It came about when I was thinking back on what happened personally and professionally during 2012… what I achieved, hoped to achieve, and where I had missed the mark.

Of course, this all feeds into the whole New Year’s resolutions planning for 2013, but this is where things got interesting… and when I had that moment of clarity that was so shocking.

Most of us spend the majority of our early careers scrambling away, trying to establish ourselves, build our skill sets, do a good job, and prove ourselves… often at cost of our personal lives. We work long hours, take overtime, and often skip vacation days.

Rarely do we take a breather on our way up to the top of that career mountain. It’s a breathless, seemingly endless journey with all kinds of ups and downs, as well as twists and turns (and even detours) as we try to find our way.

But what happens when you suddenly find yourself in that wide-open clearing, and your feet step onto the highest point?

That’s exactly where I found myself the other day.

Looking back at not just 2012, but over the past 5 years since I started my business, and suddenly, the path I had taken to get up to the top seemed dizzyingly far below. The sudden sense of achievement was almost overpowering. But not in a prideful way… more like in a “Wow, how in the heck did I get way up here?” kind of sense.

But a little voice in my head told me to stop and savor the view. Be content in the moment. Experience that tipping point where I am committing in the next year (2013) to balance my personal life with my work one. It’s not so much about resting on your laurels, but instead, finding the security in knowing that you have reached that apex of your career that you KNOW you can do it, versus CAN you do it. I know I can do it now… so now, the goal is to think about how can I do it BETTER. And grant myself some leniency and self-care along the way.

The true work-life balance is finding that magic “sweet spot” where you still push yourself to continuously learn and improve, while at the same time taking that mental break to assess exactly how far you’ve come, and take care of yourself because work isn’t the only thing we live for.

This moment of “work-life” zen is different for everyone… it depends on your drive, your outlook, your personality, your goals, your age, or a million other factors. Some people reach this magical point earlier in their lives than I just did. But for still others, they are decades ahead of me age-wise and are still seeking that insight.
But you’ll know that moment when it arrives.

As a result, I am learning to relax a little and be less hard on myself. Take that breather, and rest for a moment to let it sink in.

Of course, there are always other mountains to scale.

All in good time, but for right now, I am going to sit for a moment and enjoy the view.