Oh that elusive work/life balance. Just when you think no one is talking about it (yet alone achieving it) it comes around again. Perhaps the reason that is so is because balance is a natural human state and one that we all crave. Without balance, bodies, minds, and even machines break down. The secret is finding that right balance for you so you can perform at your peak and enjoy life along the way.

I personally have decided that balance is elusive and there is a better way – aligning your life with your values. That being said, a measure of balance is still required but when you’re clear on what is most important to you it becomes far more natural instead of a forced state.

As hard as it is to achieve balance in a corporate career sometimes it can be even more challenging when you own your own business. It can feel as if there is no way to take that break. Yet it is just as crucial if not even more crucial and that is why you need to build it into the plan. Recent article “Growing Your Business with Marketing, Week 18:Full stop” by the communicatrix hits the nail on the head:

Your marketing plan is missing Saturday and Sunday for a reason You heard it here first: I’m officially human; I can’t work seven days per week. At least, not pushing 50 with a chronic illness. Nor, have I discovered this week, do I particularly want to. I’m sure that it’s not going to be completely smooth, this transition to a more balanced lifestyle, but it’s imperative, if for no other reason than I cannot work at all when I become ill or exhausted.

That is why you need to build your business and career to support your life versus having it run you.

If you don’t you may find yourself at that breaking point. The one where all the shoes drop and you’re forced to make a change because you’re too mentally and physically spent to do anything but. Sassymonkey talks about her own experience with these Tough Choices.

Most of the time work/life balance for women gets bantered about in the same sentence as being a mother and raising a family. Yet balance is still a challenge for single women or even women in a relationship who have chosen to or are unable to have children. The situation may be a bit different but challenges still remain. Men often get left right out of the balance equation (as if they don’t need it too). That is why the recent announcement about David Souter leaving the Supreme Court was so controversial and wrought with opinions. The assumptions and accusations fly in the post “Souter wanted his life back: what a powerful statement”. I mean (GASP) he exercised his right to choose what is most important to him and people came out of the woodwork to vilify him.  He’s experiencing what so many women have for years. No wonder everyone is afraid to stand up for what they believe in.

Work/Life Balance for Singles is always a challenge. I can remember similar experiences to those shared in this post when I worked for corporate. Because while I wasn’t single, my same-sex partner didn’t “count”.

Often, there are higher expectations for those without spouses and children. Working in corporate America, I have been told that putting in extra hours would be expected during a crunch, not a problem. I think everyone has heard that request at one time or another. It is what often follows that is insulting: “After-all, you’re single. You have no responsibilities.” Being single somehow allows my free time to become someone else’s asset.

Another personal take on “Work/Life Balance — Without the Kids” comes from Defending Pandora.

I’m not planning on having children, and there are plenty of women who feel the way I do. So after class, I spoke to the instructors and explained my situation. I asked for a discussion revolving around a woman’s work/life balance issues that didn’t include children. A friend of mine laughed when I told this to him: “In my office, women who are single just work their asses off until they have kids, and then comes the work/life balance question.” Really? Single women–or in my case–childless women are just expected to work until they drop? What about time off for reading, yoga, traveling, volunteering, doing things that are personally fulfilling?

Now that seems fair, right? Her comment that we begin asking younger, professional men when they intend to settle down and have babies sounds like a fair strategy to me. As long as these huge disparities in assumptions and expectations remain in the business world equality is sorta down the toilet. Forget about capabilities, the truth is that it is what we think and believe is what REALLY creates our reality. Clearly these articles show that we have a long way to go before progressive thinking from all people, regardless of gender, couple status, or children matches the diversity of actual experience happening day in and day out.

What do you think? Any success stories or horror tales you can tell about work/life balance in your life? Has your experience been impacted by being LGBT? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments…

Photo Credit: stock.xchng

Paula Gregorowicz, owner of The Paula G. Company, offers life coaching for lesbians to help you gain the clarity, confidence, and courage you need to have success on your own terms. Get the free eCourse “5 Steps to Turn Fear Into Freedom” at her website