Ah, the work-life balance. It’s that elusive unicorn that solopreneurs like us are chasing. Do we dare question this age-old concept? What if, instead of striving for balance, we embraced our love for work without any guilt?
Your business likely began because you had a passion or wanted to solve a problem with your unique idea to make the world a better place.
It was more than just working to survive; it was about working towards a meaningful life. A life that feels right, a life that’s intertwined with your work.
But then, there’s the guilt.
This morning, I sat in front of my laptop for 40 minutes, not knowing what in the flipping hell to write. That’s not true, I wanted to write about something personal I’m going through and being afraid of being naked in front of you being vulnerable.
I also knew that I didn’t want or care about SEO research, creating a tech article or doing a bunch of editing and grammar checking.
On my left shoulder sat my inner voice, the one with angel wings reminding me that the In-laws are coming over, there are things to do, and it’s not fair that Joe do all the cleaning and food prep.
And, on my right shoulder, the other inner voice…the one holding the pitchfork, said it was okay to continue sitting here, staring at a blank screen instead, because Joe won’t ask for help, because he knows how important writing is to me.
I thought my head was going to burst open with
- the guilt of preferring to work on my business rather than going grocery shopping
- the guilt of secretly wanting to work instead of listening to the in-laws dominate the upcoming evening conversation with politics
And why? Because society says it’s not normal to prefer work over life. Because the ‘experts’ say it’s unhealthy. But is it?
Do we dare question the conventional wisdom of the need for a work-life balance? Isn’t it possible that working on your business brings you joy that a Netflix binge can’t? Unless it’s watching the final season of Manifest…that doesn’t count.
When fully immersed in your work- be it creating products, composing a captivating piece, or fostering customer loyalty- you’re not simply ‘working’. Rather, you are making a valuable contribution while also nurturing your creativity and experiencing continuous growth. It’s important to take in each moment of this meaningful process.
So, when is it too much?
Well, the answer lies within you and only you. Are you going overboard on the hustle culture, stressed, irritated, and feeling burned out? Or are you fidgety with excitement, fueled by inspiration, and eagerly embracing the possibilities that lie ahead?
Are your personal relationships taking a hit?
Are you both mentally and physically healthy?
If your answers are no and yes, why should you feel guilty?
What I’m advocating here is NOT an endless cycle of 18-hour workdays, that’s just crazy. What I’m suggesting is a work-life integration. Finding a way to intertwine work and life based on your individual needs and situation at the moment and not give in to society’s expectations.
So now, the inner voice with the angel wings is asking me “okay Gisèle, so how do you let go of the guilt and embrace your work ethic?”
Here are some practical steps that I’m working on at this very moment:
- Reframe your mindset: Start by acknowledging that it’s okay to love your work. You’re not weird; you’re passionate.
- Developing awareness by listening to your body and mind: Always stay in tune with your mental and physical health.
- Define your boundaries: Make sure your work enthusiasm doesn’t impact your relationships negatively.
- Embrace your individuality: Remember that your happiness and success might look different from others.
The journey toward a guilt-free work ethic requires patience and self-compassion. There will be days when the guilt creeps in, and that’s okay. Just keep reminding yourself that it’s your life and as long as meaningful, personal relationships aren’t being sacrificed, you set the rules.
Let’s change the narrative and shift from a work-life balance to work-life integration.
Stop feeling guilty for finding joy in your work and embrace yur unique path and understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all in life. As long as you’re healthy and happy, it’s perfectly okay to choose your work over a TV show or an uninspiring conversation.
It’s your life, your rules.
Welcome to your new era of work-life balance.
Until next time, stay inspired!