“B” is for…the “Balance” in Work-Life Balance

Covering Values from A to Z… Coaching for the 21st Century Lawyer! 

Given the ever-popular concept of “work-life balance”, would it surprise you to learn that only 1% of my clientele value “balance”?

I, myself, wasn’t so surprised. I’ve always been a bit suspicious about the work-life balance debate – not because I believe in working 24 hrs/day. It’s just that the notion carries so much personal weight: everyone views it differently.

As a coach, generalizing is not my thing. Learning context and details help me better understand my clients’ personal circumstances. That is why I am encouraging you to discern your values by reverse-engineering a peak moment. Examining a real life example of when you felt at your best actually provides much insight into what’s most important to you. If you did such an exercise, would “balance” stand out?

“Balance” is defined as:

  • The state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall.
  • The ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling.
  • A state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/balance)

Looking up the meaning of a proposed value is also a meaningful process. The definition can quickly confirm the right value, or lead you to the right value. By “right”, I mean what makes sense for you, no one else. For that one client who values “balance,” she truly flourishes when her weight is equally distributed. Yes, she is a yoga instructor!   Makes sense, doesn’t it?

For those of you who are seeking to have more balance in your life, seek first to understand what it means for you. Ask yourself:

 What is important about having balance in MY life?

You might respond by saying:

  1. “I’d have more time with my family”
  2. “I’d be sailing more often.”
  3. “I’d finally be able to finish writing that book!”

For any one of the above answers, continue to ask yourself:

 Why is that important to ME?

 So, for the three above examples, you might say:

  1. Being with family allows me to experience love.
  2. I’m at peace when I sail.
  3. Writing allows me to be creative.

Do you see what values are really at play in each of these examples?

  1. Love
  2. Peace
  3. Creativity

Now that you know “balance” is about “love” or “peace” or “creativity,” you can be more attentive to honouring these values throughout the day. Could you:

  1. Send a text message to a family member in the middle of the workday, letting them know how much you love them?
  2. Avoid getting involved with, or starting, workplace gossip?
  3. Spend a few minutes in the lobby of the building where you work to check out the new art installation?

Chances are you will feel more fulfilled if you take positive steps to incorporate your values on a regular basis. I challenge you to do so!

Lawyer Coach Paulette works with lawyers and law students on: Career Planning, Performance Inside and Outside the Courtroom, and Personal Branding.



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