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work/life what???


I just attended a fantastic talk given by Karol Rose of FlexPaths, a company that works with employees and employers to figure out what flexibility means in the workplace and how to offer it and live it so that it works for everyone. Their story is an inspired one of 4 women coming together synergistically to create and enforce a new paradigm in the world of work. Karol is a gifted speaker who calls herself the ‘grandma with a tech startup’…and she wears it well.

But what struck me the deepest was her statement, and belief, that there is no such thing as work/life balance. Her working phrase is work/life effectiveness. She maintains that the concept of work/life balance is a myth – a terrorizing, set-you-up-to-fail, myth (my descriptors). They will never be balanced because they are always shifting and moving. On Tuesday when your kid gets the chicken pox or is in the little league championships, the scale tips to life. On Wednesday when you have a presentation and 4 deadlines, the scale tips to work. No amount of planning can secure a set schedule, or an actual balance.

So the key is work/life effectiveness. Karol mentioned – and it was not news to me – that when I’m effective or successful (or even present) at home, I’m effective, successful and present at work. When I’m productive, satisfied and elated at work, so I am at home. They feed each other and they have to. But they aren’t balanced, they just lean up against each other…and create direct effects.

I don’t work in a corporate setting. I don’t have a team of, or even one, assistant to take over for me when life moves in with gale force…or even when my family decides they want me to go on vacation. This whole concept of work/life balance probably causes me the most stress of all. But when I heard that I didn’t have to achieve work/life balance -just had to be effective at all that I do as it slides, tilts and twirls – my shoulders let go of my ears, and I exhaled (a little bit).

What works for you? Balance? Effectiveness? or a new concept altogether?

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Mike Rose says:

    Glad you enjoyed Karol’s talk! I hope the picture of the grandkids in the slide deck went over well, it took a bit of wrangling to get it slotted in. :-)

    –Mike (Karol’s son)

  • Julie Roads says:

    Paula – thanks for including me in that great article about work/life ‘balance’….

  • Julie Roads says:

    Mike – I loved her talk! The grandkids are beyond precious – and they provided the perfect images to support her message.

  • Mary says:

    I like the effectiveness part. Thriving is what I’m shooting for. My biz partner, Sue, and I are both coaches and mompreneurs — and on both fronts we are letting go of the whole idea of balance, for ourselves and for our clients. Very freeing. We’ve written a book on it, actually — Stop Spinning Plates: How to Lose Your Balance and Become a Thriving Mother. Here’s to the journey!

  • Julie Roads says:

    Thanks, Mary!
    Your book sounds awesome…I must get it…now, if only I could find the time! Just kidding. Yesterday was my birthday and the only thing I asked for was a few hours to myself. I ate popcorn and watched a movie in bed…it was deliriously wonderful.
    Thanks again,

  • Lea says:

    Julie, I forgot to tell you that it was Paula’s article that led me to you! I quoted Paula and you in a post I did for my friend’s jewelry website… way before our conversations as of late. She hasn’t posted it yet, but topic is “Six Tips for Working at Home While Daddy’s Traveling” — for the work-at-home mompreneur set. :) I hope I did the attributions right…

  • Julie Roads says:

    Fantastic, Lea – I so appreciate it..I’m sure you did it fine. Let me know when it’s live…and I’ll link to it from here!

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