Home Career Development The Four Corners of Balance

The Four Corners of Balance

Work-life balance has been a topic of discussion for women trying to “have it all”. In recent years, the debate has focused on whether or not balance is actually possible. Having tried and failed to achieve perfect balance, I’ve learned that balance is possible but it may not look the way we were told.

We have strived for thriving careers while raising children as perfect mothers. That concept is both imperfect and incomplete. We are more than professionals and mothers; we are wives/girlfriends/partners, community members, and, of course, individuals. Balance is understanding that everything has value. Balance is wellness. Balance is self-love. Consider a chair – four legs. Each one is as important as the other three. No one can support you without its band of brothers.

I have developed what I call, “The four corners of balance.” I think of them as: (1) Family (2) Career (3) Community and (4) Self. Each corner has equal value and needs attention. If you only favor three, like a chair, you will have instability. For example, you’re in a restaurant and the chair teeters back and forth with one short leg. It cannot stand firmly; It’s uncomfortable and annoying. Life feels that way when all four corners are not maintained. If you neglect one corner, or only lean on one, in both cases, the chair will break and you’ll land on the floor. Ask yourself, do you focus too heavily on your career? Your family? Or, do you take time for yourself?

So, the question becomes…how do you achieve balance? Is it achievable? My theory is this: work/life balance is possible, but not every day, and not in perfect balance. Life is like a row of empty buckets. To have a complete life, we need to fill them all. Each bucket represents family, work, home, love/relationship (if you choose to partake), and self-care. Each needs filling to avoid tilting out of balance.

It’s unrealistic to be a professional for half the day and homemaker for the other half. It simply doesn’t work that way. The ability to bend and flex is key. If you have a critical work issue, work will take more than it gives; it’s ok to bend in that direction for a while.

Conversely, when the need is at home (i.e. school play, illness, days off as a family), devote your time to them. Lobby for yourself so your company understands and appreciates your value. Also, take time for yourself. No calls, texts, family errands – just you. Take a day off; do what you enjoy most. Try deep breathing, yoga, or meditation a few minutes each week. Such moments are important to your body and mind. Periodically assess your row of buckets. Are they all getting filled? Does one seem neglected?

As you work toward balance, remember to be gentle with yourself. Balance looks different for every woman at every stage. While you won’t be perfect, remember that no one is, but working on it makes you one step ahead of the curve.

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Poolside Picks

Dive into your summer reading list

(Family Features) Laying out on the beach and floating in the pool are true hallmarks of summer. A good book, however, can elevate these relaxing experiences to a new level.

Whether you find yourself looking for a beach read, a book for the pool or something to help you escape while lounging on the couch with the windows open, these sizzling summer reads offer something for nearly every type of reader. From suspense to romance and adventure, you don’t want to miss these books this summer.

Some Secrets Aren’t Meant to Be Shared

From author Meg Mitchell Moore comes a warm, witty and suspenseful novel filled with small-town secrets, summer romance, big time lies and spiked seltzer. In “Two Truths and A Lie” the leader of an idyllic beach town “mom squad” has made surprising effort to include a new resident and her daughter in typically closed-group activities, though they’re not the only ones she’s been spending more time with. A blend of propulsive thriller and gorgeous summer read, Moore’s latest novel is a reminder that happiness isn’t always a day at the beach, some secrets aren’t meant to be shared and the most precious things are loved ones.

Romantic Adventure Proves Anything Can Happen

No. 1 “New York Times” bestseller Susan Elizabeth Phillips returns to her Chicago Stars series with a romance between a quarterback and one of the world’s greatest opera singers – and a major diva – in “When Stars Collide.” It’s Mozart meets Monday night football as the temperamental soprano and stubborn jock embark on a nationwide tour promoting a luxury watch brand, they engage in soul-searching, trash talk and backstage drama. Threatening letters, haunting photographs and a series of dangerous encounters also complicate their lives and make them wonder if it’s the work of an overzealous fan or something more sinister.

Transatlantic Love Story Raises the Royal Stakes

“New York Times” and “USA Today” bestselling author Alyssa Cole’s second Runaway Royals novel, “How to Find a Princess,” is an Anastasia-inspired romance featuring a long-lost princess who finds love with the female investigator tasked with tracking her down. When a threat to her grandmother’s livelihood pushes the princess to return to Ibarania, the investigator takes her on a transatlantic adventure. When they finally make it, they realize there’s more at stake than just cash and crown, and the princess must learn what it means to fight for what she desires rather than what she feels bound to by duty.

Find more titles to add to your summer reading list at Facebook.com/WilliamMorrowBooks .


Photo courtesy of Getty Images (woman reading in pool)

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