There is a general belief that, if only we could find this elusive work/life balance we would be happier. When asked what work/life balance means, the responses are varied. It is not something we are taught in school, but it is a goal worth achieving and it is not just business owners that are looking for this balance. Life has become very complex and knowing our paths and purpose is often a life-long journey.
There is now more information to understand, more options available, more resources accessible, more technologies to serve and service, and more images and brands coming at us 24 hours a day. We have had to learn to process the information of our environment differently, with habits and behaviours that are considerably different than one or two generations ago. And yet, we still look for love, we want companionship, we raise our children with manners and social norms, we live in and interact with our communities, we want to work and be seen as contributors to our work environment. We are not so different in our needs. Finding and understanding the differences between what we have to work with and what we want to achieve is where we need to look for balance.
Balance is not a scale with a zero-sum outcome, where one side equals the other. Let’s look at the general financial ‘needs’ for employees and business owners and see where balance may lie.
The aspect of having a regular income can both add and detract from balance. Although we understand that money does not equal happiness, it is also the barter system we use to ensure we have the basic requirements for life available to us. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs our money should incorporate both the Physiological and Safety needs at a minimum, including financial security, health and well-being. With our basic needs covered, our need for contribution, community, and love are now easier to achieve.
Unfortunately, not all employment pays well enough to meet our basic needs. Struggling with debt, unable to pay rising rent, clothing, and food costs can physically, mentally, and emotionally cripple a person. Balance is not possible when a person is emotionally, physically, or mentally compromised.
For Business Owners
Many small business owners are hoping to create a job for themselves to replace the job they left. With this type of business model, there is always a struggle for stability in pay. Creating a business that will leverage their time will allow for a more consistent income and potentially a larger take-home salary for the owner. Getting to a business model where the owner can hire others and earning profits off of their work takes a lot of initial work, marketing, investment, and a mental mindset willing to ‘risk it all’ potentially, including the security of their basic needs.
During start-up and during times of financial struggle in a company, there is always the potential for loss and thus a challenge with creating balance in the owner’s life. Time must be paid as an investment to a greater result.
When we want to get a better job, increase our business profits, hire someone into our business or look for a raise in our career, we must first put in the work. It takes energy and hard work to make it happen. During that exhausting time, we will not feel the balance, but it is there. It is our job to keep our purpose in mind, our passion at full, and our goals visible so we can get to our objective. Along the way, we must recognise the balance of being out of balance. The upswing of the next big hit. The push towards a bigger outcome. A want to fill a need, for ourselves and others.
The myth about Work/life balance is that it is not a destination. Work/Life balance is part of the journey. Like when we were children, riding a teeter totter; sometimes we are up and sometimes we are down. It is our duty to simply enjoy the entire ride. After all, we chose to get on. If the ride you are on is not for you then choose another and look for your balance there.