“The division of one's time and focus between working and family or leisure activities.”
So, this is a definition of work/life balance, a phrase that we constantly hear banded about. It seems like an obvious concept - we should enjoy work while we are at it, but we should also enjoy the rest of our life – so have a balance in how we spend our days. Or we should at least earn enough money so that we can enjoy our life outside of work.
We’ve also heard the phrase which goes something like, “On your death bed, you never regret the hours that you didn’t spend at work”.
We know that we should never work so hard that we can’t enjoy life or that we neglect other parts of our life, like our family, friends, and leisure time. But is this easy to put into practice if you are someone whose work defines them?
The other issue is that sometimes it is easy to lose sight of what we enjoy or want to be doing with our lives. How do we really know if we are enjoying our work if we’ve been doing it for years and haven’t tried anything else out? Is the grass really greener on the other side?
People often get stuck on the same rung of the career ladder (if there is such a thing as a career ladder nowadays!) as they haven’t tried out any other options. Bills need to be paid, they have a job that can pay the bills, and they have no idea whether they can do anything else, so they stay where they are, unhappy and unfulfilled.
They are stuck.
Can I just follow my passion?
Another common belief is that it’s easy for the lucky people who have a “passion” because they can just follow it and forge a path for themselves. And if we don’t have a passion then we just need to find a job that works for us and put up with it. Passion is often confused with skill and talent.
But where does passion come from?
We’re not born with it; we can only discover our passion by trying out lots of different things before realising that we are truly interested in one thing and that then becomes our passion.
We find our passion by experimenting.
We find our passion by being open to new experiences.
We find our passion by not worrying about what others will think and just giving it a go.
But there is an easier way If we don’t have the time or opportunity to just leave our jobs and start experimenting. We can also find our passion by asking ourselves what we enjoy doing on a daily basis –
- what do we watch?
- what do we read?
- who do we follow on social media?
- how do we exercise?
- where do we shop?
- what do we love to talk about?
This is what drives us, and these are our passions – they are part of us. And we can of course just keep the passion for our leisure time – we don’t always have be passionate about our day job.
When it comes to jobs and careers, we have started to realise that we don’t have to have just one career, we can have several – I believe it's called a “multi-hyphenate” career (and I definitely have one of these!). We can keep trying out new avenues until we find one that excites us and feels like it could be our passion. And even then, we don’t have to stay in that job forever. Throughout our lives we change, and our ideals change so do our passions. So, we can move again.
The best thing to do is to keep trying.
There probably is no such thing as a perfect job but we can definitely find one that comes close if we don’t close our minds to change, to experimenting and to working out what it is that we really want from our lives and defining what a good life looks like to us.
This can be hard to do without help and without someone to talk to. A life coach can help you establish what you want to do, what your values are and even what discover what your passions are. Through exploration, you can go on to design a life which includes your almost dream job and, when it's time to move on from that job, you will know how to work out where to go next.