Life is messy. Work is messy. Somehow, those two messy things are supposed to blend together and result in something balanced. It seems a little silly. Life and work do not compute the same way as positive and negative numbers. A negative times a negative may result in a positive, but messy life times messy work does not result in a cancellation of “messy.” It simply results in people dealing with the mess in the best way that they can. They shift things in order to deal with life or work. They decide which things are more important. They spend time on those things and let the other things fall as they may. They know they will address those things when they have the time and means to address them.
The Holy Grail Doesn’t Exist
People seek the work-life balance as though it represents the Holy Grail. They believe it exists and spend time trying to find it. In trying to find it, they neglect other things. They try so hard to balance the equation that they lose sight of the more important things, whether those things correspond to the personal or professional areas of life. The truth: the Holy Grail of a work-life balance doesn’t exist. Work and life are simply too messy to balance each other out. Something has to, and will, give.
Your Holy Grail is Your Holy Grail
Although the Holy Grail of a work-life balance may not exist, other grails do. Those grails vary from person to person. For one, maybe it’s being at home every night to tuck a child into bed and to read him or her Good Night, Moon. Perhaps it’s taking the time to go to the gym three times per week and to train for an upcoming marathon. For another person, maybe a job promotion represents his or her grail. Some people see landing a new client as their grail or reaching some other business goal. Maybe the goal blends the personal and professional, such as paying off a student loan or credit card debt.
You Have to Seek Your Holy Grail on Your Terms
Just as people have different grails, they have different means of finding them. In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur and his knights seek the grail on foot, albeit accompanied by the sound of hoofbeats due to the servants who bang coconut shells together. More “realistic” depictions of that search, such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, portray the actors using technology and various modes of transportation.
The same thing occurs in real life. A person who decides the grail is a person or people might shut down the computer at a certain time every day and address few business concerns on the weekends. The person who aims to gain a new client may spend his or her free time researching that client in order to write the perfect pitch. He or she might attend additional networking events. That person might invest more time in social media or other avenues in order to increase his or her business’ exposure.
The Holy Grail is Elusive
It would seem that a personal grail would be easier to find, but it’s not. People aren’t easily satisfied. Even if they do find their grails, they sometimes discover that they have to seek other ones. Some grails have a way of growing too quickly or souring. It’s important to look forward to new quests and finding new grails in much the same way that Indiana Jones looked forward to future adventures.
What grails will you pursue this year? Will you forget about the Holy Grail of work-life balance in order to pursue real grails?