Tyrone Matheson in Directors and Executives, Entrepreneurs, Startups Chief Strategy Officer • The Tyrone Matheson Group Dec 17, 2016 · 2 min read · 1.1K

Why Work-Life Balance is a Lie

Why Work-Life Balance is a Lie

Have you ever stopped to examine what it really means to live a balanced life?  Think about it – we say that we would like “work-life balance”, but how much thought have we put into what this really means?

Like many of you who are reading this right now, I too was searching for that balanced life.  Every direction that I turned was some mantra being preached, telling me to seek more balance.  What was worse was the fact that my so-called “unbalanced life” seemed to be supported by the 60+ hour work weeks, the many late nights, the lack of social interaction, and the little to no physical activity. The list goes on!

You may be thinking at this point that I was indeed living an unbalanced life and my only salvation was to live a life of balance, but I can say with confidence that you are wrong.

The Impossibility of Work-Life Balance

The word ‘balance’ by definition means a state of equilibrium or equipoise.  In other words, to be balanced is to be placed between two positions with the thought that one position is more desirable than the other.  Imagine yourself standing on a board that is pivoting on a rock and all that you can do is stand in the middle to keep from swaying to either side.  Does this seem exciting?

Is it even possible for you to achieve absolute balance? Even the definition of the word ‘balance’ seems to say otherwise.  I believe that we can agree that we were not created to live a life of absolute balance.  Still not convinced?  Let’s look at the concept of time.  

We all are blessed with having 24 hours each and every day. We can do whatever we choose to do with these 24 hours. This means that allocating our time to any one thing throughout the day is time that is taken away from another thing. This makes balance impossible.  So, now what?

First, let’s agree that anything of great significance has to come about by some extreme measure. What do I mean by this? Put more time, energy and focus into one single cause and you increase the probability that something of great significance can be achieved.  It’s also at these extremes, just like being in the middle, that we can feel as though our lives are spiraling out of control and the only way to slow things down is to shift.

So if nothing of great significance is achieved by standing still in the middle and chaos is found on the boundaries of life’s extremes, then the best thing that we can do is to learn the act of counterbalance.

Finding Counterbalance

Counterbalance, by definition, is to act against or oppose with an equal weight, force or influence.  Meaning, to achieve extraordinary results in your life you must choose what matters the most. You must allocate and dedicate the required time to your top priority while being aware of the other areas in your life.  

It’s this awareness of self which will allow you, at any time, to quickly shift your focus and re-allocate your time to the area that is in need.  It’s this ability to counterbalance and prioritize our time that we all seek—not a state of balance.

Today marks the day that you stop trying to live the work-life balance lie.  Today is the day that you take a moment to prioritize your life by allocating the time that you’ve been given to each area that requires your attention.

If there is one thing that I encourage you to seek and find it's your purpose in life. To live with purpose is to live governed by priority whereby you gracefully and skillfully dance the counterbalance dance.

The Tyrone Matheson Group has experience making the complexity of business simple.  

Carla Taylor Apr 20, 2017 · #23

Yes, exactly! Had a conversation about this yesterday. Some people are now calling it "Work-Life Blend". What do you call it?

Carla Taylor Apr 20, 2017 · #22

Love this! I was having exactly this same conversation yesterday. Balance is s static point, not a place to live.

Lyon Brave Jan 5, 2017 · #21

The balance is love your work, love your life. Hate your work, hate your life.

Jim Taggart Dec 31, 2016 · #20

Very true. It's another HR-inspired salesjob, going back years, imposed on people by well-meaning yet self-righteous pseudo-experts. I recall serving on a work-life balance advisory committee to senior management 15 years ago. It was in Canada's federal government. In addition to bureaucrats like myself, we had several external highly respected individuals who had spent a lot of time doing research on the topic.

When I looked back years later (I retired in 2010), I realized that work-life balance is highly personal and that employees need to empower themselves to set their own priorities in life and at work. Of particular interest is that top management was never committed to the initiative. In the public sector, advancement comes through serving upwards to power. Service to citizens and taxpayers is farther down the priority scale. What this means is that those seeking a steady rise upwards must re-focus their priorities. I saw plenty of senior staff and executives either burn out or be forced to take time off work to heal themselves.

But these were personal decisions when it came to working 80 hours a week, ignoring your health, family, etc.

The relationship between work and life outside organizational walls is, in effect, a continuum.

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Sushmita Jain Dec 18, 2016 · #19

'To live with purpose is to live governed by priority whereby you gracefully and skillfully dance the counterbalance dance.' Lovely
Welcome to beBee @Tyrone Matheson liked your post! Shared it ahead :)

Joseph Sprute Dec 17, 2016 · #18

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Mohammed Sultan Dec 17, 2016 · #17

Welcome @Tyrone Matheson. But,why you start your posts with a juggling act?.As Einstein said "You have to learn the rules of the game,and then you have to play it better than anyone else." The work-family balance is a juggling act so, we have to understand the rules of juggling before playing it .Some people prioritize their schedule and others schedule their priorities.In reality we are juggling many balls not only work and family,if any ball doesn't have its own track they can't be kept on the air and you will finish up with no ball in the hand as all balls will fall in your head.Learn to watch the balls to have control of them ,create a separate path for each of them and try to enjoy the beauty of the game.It's also very insecure trying to influence something you are not in full control of.We need help to focus and succeed in keeping that balance .Family and work are also like two rabbits,just like juggling balls in the air to be successful every ball should have a specific path,so too, channel your rabbits in separate tracks and start hunting the one you feel more pleased with.This's the real balance.Goethe once quoted"things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least."

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Tyrone Matheson Dec 17, 2016 · #16

#12 - To learn how to be, to be present in every situation is something that I strive for each day.

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