There is no one definition for career and life balance. It is as unique as you are, taking into account your own needs and values, goals and dreams. Because of this uniqueness, it is important that you take some time to discover your own definition before you embark on the next phase of your career and life. It will also be something that you will want to revisit and refine each year as you grow personally and professionally for as you change, so will your ideas and needs of balance.
Lets begin by answering some questions about you. Here we will dive into your needs, values, purpose, and expectations for your career and your life.
What is your current definition of career and life balance?
If you remember nothing else about life balance, remember this word – choice. We always have the choice to be happy and successful. We can choose what we do, how we do it, when we do it, who we are when we are doing it, who we seek support from and where we do it.
Choices are best made by knowing what matters most to you – what you value in both in your career and personal life. Some examples of professional values are prestige and recognition; upward mobility and a high salary; or having a direct impact on the environment or individuals. Examples of personal values include time with family; time to devote to passions and hobbies; travel; and time with friends. Take the time to list everything that matters to you and especially why it matters.
What matters most to you in your career? What matters most to you in your personal life?
What you do
What are your expectations for yourself?
Do you expect that you will master your new position within a few months? That you will rise to the top of your profession in a certain number of years, that you will reach tenure? Think about what you expect of yourself, and how realistic these expectations are.
Where and when you do it
What environments help you do your best work?
Environments include your physical space, the type of people you work with and for and especially your needs. Examples of needs are feedback, collaboration, autonomy and recognition. Think about the conditions and needs that help you do your best.
How you do it
Establish trust and confidence early.
Learn what’s needed for you to move forward and become a respected member of the team, then do it. The quicker you establish yourself as a trusted member of your department or organization, the greater freedom you will have to achieve the balance you desire.
Who we reach out to
Seek support from family and friends that you trust to help you through issues and challenges that come up in your personal life – especially when seeking to maintain balance. Also seek support from colleagues you can trust and rely on in your field, both inside and outside your organization. Remember support is something you need to ask for – don’t wait until you are over your head.
We have only begun to scratch the surface here. Hopefully, you are getting excited about your own possibilities and choices. Based on what you learned about yourself through these exercises, look back at your original definition of career and life balance.
Is there anything you would like to change? What is your new definition of career and life balance?