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Reasons to forget work-life balance
3 steps to focus on work-life integration instead
Tony Robbins Business Owner Mindset Report revealed an interesting contradiction about work and life balance: 53% of respondents didn’t think they needed to sacrifice the “life” part of the equation to get ahead at work, an increase from last year. Yet only 17% rated their work-life balance as “great.”
Why is work-life balance so low, but the aspiration for it so high? The fact is that as much as we want to reject it, the “hustle culture” still looms large in business. With the likes of Elon Musk saying you “have to put in 80- to 100-hour weeks every week” and Gary Vaynerchuk saying you need to “work your face off,” it’s no wonder we’re convinced work and life balance is an elusive equation.
This is why one of Tony’s best work-life balance tips may shock you: There is no such thing as work-life balance. There is only work-life integration.
What’s the difference? When you’ve achieved work-life integration, your work no longer feels like work. It lifts you up instead of draining you – and you get home with plenty of energy for your family, friends and hobbies. That’s because you’ve used these work-life balance tips to find your mission and incorporate it into your life.
Accept that work and life balance doesn’t exist
The phrase “work and life balance” gives us the impression that the two are separate things. You have your CEO persona, your partner persona, your mother persona, and they are different parts of you that you must turn on or off like a switch. But that just isn’t true. When you focus on integrating work with life instead of treating life like a zero sum game, you’ll gain clarity and peace.
Jeff Bezos agrees. He gets the “work-life balance question” all the time, and he has said, “I know that if I am energized at work, happy at work, that makes me better at home. And if I’m happy at home, that makes me a better worker.” Life is a circle, not a scale.
On a recent Tony Robbins podcast, entrepreneur, influencer and mom Jenna Kutcher said, “Nothing will ever be in balance, there’s going to be an ebb and flow where you’re forced to choose, what needs me the most right now? It’s never going to feel fully in alignment and that’s the beauty of it.” The best work-life balance tip is to stop thinking of life as a set of scales and start thinking of every moment as a gift that you must make the most of.
Find your mission
The same report found that 93% of respondents love being business owners despite their perceived lack of work and life balance. That’s because it’s not about the number of hours in the day or even the amount of money you make – it’s about your mission.
Jeff Bezos says, “It’s not primarily about the number of hours in a week. Usually it’s about, Is your work depriving you of energy or is your work generating energy for you?” When your work is part of your mission in life, it will energize you. You’ll wake up excited to get to work. You’ll come home excited to share stories with your family. You’ll figure out how to incorporate them into your mission.
Even if you can’t hire your family to work for you, you can still think of them as part of your mission. If you want to give back, demonstrate those values for your family through volunteer time. If your mission is to achieve financial freedom, share your learning experiences with them – even having young children start a piggy bank teaches lifelong financial values. Tony says, “When your family is involved in your mission, you’re not pulled apart, you’re pulled together in the same direction.”
Change your focus
Once you’re crystal clear on your vision for your life, don’t let anything distract you. Take a small step every day toward achieving your dream. Set small goals that ladder up to your overall vision, and always include your family, volunteer work or social time – whatever the “life” part of work and life balance is for you. When you have a plan to integrate work and life, you’ll find it all seems to fall into place.
Focusing on your vision will also help you manage your state, one of the most essential work-life balance tips. You won’t feel very balanced if you allow that annoying colleague at work to get under your skin or arrive home angry at someone who cut you off in traffic. When you can’t control your emotions, you can’t be your best self at work or at home.
Practices like priming or keeping a gratitude journal can help you keep your focus on the positive and work toward your goals every day. Visualize where you want to be and the universe will figure out how to get you there.