Strive for This Instead of Work-Life Balance

A self-professed “truth-bomber,” Anne Grady is all about getting real and talking about things that no one wants to talk about.

Here is one thing the leadership development expert wants everyone to know: Work-life balance is a mirage.

Or as she puts it: “Balance is bullsh*t.”

“It doesn’t really exist,” says Grady, author of 52 Strategies for Life, Love and Work. “Or if it does, it’s only temporary and fleeting. Stuff happens. Your job, family, friends, health—they can’t all stay in perfect alignment all the time.”

So instead of striving for balance, Grady says that we should try to live deliberately. That means defining what’s important to us and putting it first. This is achievable because “most of us are good at prioritizing our schedules,” she explains. “What we’re bad at is scheduling our priorities.”

To help you lead a life you love, Grady also recommends taking these three steps:

#1. Strategically stop.
“We’re so busy being busy that we’re never still. But we need moments of quiet—our minds need space just to be. After all, we’re human beings, not human doings. Every day we need to take the leash off our minds and let them run free—through meditation, prayer or just breathing deeply and being in the moment. You may feel you don’t have the time to do this, but it will actually give you more time because it will help you be more productive.”

#2. Reframe your life.
“If you are always thinking, ‘I’m so stressed out; I’m never going to get it all done,’ you will start to believe it, and everything will become draining. Instead, think of it as ‘I have a really full life—I’m stressed out but I’ll get past it because I always do.’ This is more than turning negative thinking to positive thinking. It’s taking control of your life.”

#3. Treat yourself like a friend.
“If we could put our brains on speakerphone, most of us would be embarrassed by how mean we are to ourselves. So watch how you talk to yourself. Better yet, talk to yourself like you are your friend. Instead of beating yourself up, you’ll be pointing out your talents and strengths and giving yourself pep talks.”


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