Integration is the New Balance
Recently I wrote on the site about work-life balance, and people told me they identified with the points I made. In this context, I identified “work-life balance” as its well-known, saturated definition: the concept of prioritizing career and lifestyle.
I’ve heard so many talks by successful entrepreneurs and business people saying that they don’t have work-life balance or that work-life balance doesn’t exist. I don’t necessarily agree with that statement, but that’s because I also don’t agree with that definition of work-life balance anyway. Why? Because the traditional WLB mentality means you have to choose - choose between work and a social life. Choose between work and a family. Choose between what you have to do and what you want to do - and I don’t identify with that notion at all. First of all, if you see work as something you have to do for no other reason than to pay the bills, you’re at the wrong job. But that’s a whole other post. Anyway, I see WLB more as finding the time to do what you love every day. That mentality has made me more productive at work and made my time with friends and family outside of work more valuable.
I was listening to a podcast recently that finally cleared up the ambiguity. WLB was referred to as “work life integration”. I thought this was a brilliant articulation of what I experience every day. Those entrepreneurs were right - there is no work life balance, because in order to be successful, all of your energy needs to be focused on your project at hand. Although instead of applying laser beam focus solely on my computer screen Monday through Friday from 9AM-6PM, or only while I’m doing burpees in a fitness class, I apply it to everything and exert my physical and mental energy accordingly. That means I don’t have to choose and can have more fun in the process.
At the end of the day, I am who I am, regardless of my physical location. The qualities of my personality and character will always define my experience of the world, not my job title or extra-curricular activities. I love being able to integrate and combine my worlds, because I always have and will always be passionate, driven, and inspired by movement. Every day is a new adventure, and I get to experience where that passion and drive takes me.