There's been a lot of talk lately about work-life balance, work-life blend, or work-life integration. Heck, some even change it to life-work and think it changes everything. I can't say I've ever believed in work-life balance.
The sooner we put our guard down and stop pretending we do not need others to have a harmonious family life, a clean home, and flawless customer service response, and a profitable business, the sooner we can thrive. Yes, thrive.
One thing to remember: there will be times when one area needs more attention than another, but you can't neglect one completely. They work as a whole to keep you balanced, happy, and living an authentic life.
As I travel the country consulting with firms from varying sectors of our economy, it seems to me that in many organizations the canary has stopped singing and the organizational climate has become toxic.
And as a result of finding my "third metric," I am happier, more balanced and living a successful life. I am sleeping eight hours a night, and I exercise regularly; I take more time to stop and listen to my intuition and inner wisdom; I live in the moment and I am present with my daughter.
It wasn't until I burned out after seven years of practicing law that I gave much thought to my own happiness. If you could give some advice to young women and girls about how to build happiness, what would you say?
Maybe because the idea of listening is so central to our human existence, so basic, that we don't ever feel we need to work on it. But it's like any other skill. It takes practice, focus and commitment.
Beyoncé, perhaps, said it best when she belted, "Strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business." No longer feeling compelled to choose between career, marriage and children, the modern woman is confident she can have it all.
Until we find that new path, women (and men) who can afford to step off the existing path, will continue to do so. And we will have the cover story equivalent of "Groundhog Day" -- as each new cohort finds itself conflicted for the first time.
If we are constantly working towards success, convincing ourselves that ultimate happiness will be attained when we reach that point, when will we ever slow down? I have to consciously remind myself that sometimes it's all right to think about absolutely nothing.
I've spent decades trying to live the balanced message that I want my children to hear. I'm not quite there yet, but over the years I have gotten closer, and learned more than a little -- not just about the meaning of life, but also of work.
Long hours, short breaks, little social life and immense pressure are all assumed to come with the territory of getting a business off the ground. But getting consumed by your work isn't good for you or your business. Working too hard can be unhealthy, and your work will suffer as a result.