Work-life balance is something everyone internally strives for, but very few people actually feel they have. Statistics show that 40% of people say that their organization makes it feel impossible to have a work-life balance and 70% of employees say having poor balance negatively impacts their lives and work. Work-life balance is also especially hard for high-achieving perfectionists because we have such big goals and high standards for our work.
Work-life balance is something I love to talk about because it seems so simple, but at the same time, it is so complex to achieve. Feeling like you are struggling to achieve any semblance of balance? These are the surprising work-life balance mistakes you could be making.
1. Not Being Vocal About Work-Life Balance Boundaries
The first work-life balance mistake a lot of people is that they don’t make it a priority in their career. And more than that, we aren’t vocal about it. As a high-achieving perfectionists, we tend to also be people pleasers. This was a mistake I made for a long time because I was too scared to speak up at work when I was being overloaded, stressed, the overwhelm of work was bleeding into other parts of my life.
But I also hated saying no to people. I refused to vocalize my concerns because I love to help. And this had to do with being a people pleaser and in part feeling like an absolute fraud. I didn’t want to tell anyone I was overworked because I didn’t want to seem like I couldn’t “handle” the workload. However, work-life balance is not just about trying to find balance in your current job, it’s about your career as a whole.
Work-life balance is not about having it as a part of your evaluation criteria as you choose a career path; it’s about actually choosing it over things like a higher salary after your needs are met. Balance comes at a cost to money and ego. We like to think of work requiring sacrifices, but balance requires sacrifices as well. You might not want to go for a job promotion because it means you’ll be on the road all the time and working late hours, you might not want to move to that super cool career in another country if your family is here and that relationship is important.
This is something I work on a lot with my clients as well. As a career mindset coach, it’s easy to just think that knowing things types on an intellectual level is enough, but you need to be able to execute it. You have to be willing to speak up, negotiate, and create boundaries when you default into a people-pleasing nature, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
2. Thinking you need to be in balance all the time.
It’s so tempting to want smooth sailing throughout your work and life, but the truth is, life doesn’t happen that way. So why should we be chasing a certain image of work-life balance that is reflective of life?
Everyone’s journey and circumstance do not look the same. Even in your own personal journey, work-life balance will not be consistent. There will be great successes, but there will be a lot of challenges and tragedies in life. And that’s the thing about living a full life, filled with different emotions and events.
High achieving perfectionists are people who constantly want to achieve more, who are ambitious, and who have a very high standard of their work. And that can be depilating sometimes because we have such big dreams and high standards, and also strive for work-life balance.
When people tend to think about work-life balance, we tend to think of this image that you go to work, everything is great, you go home, and everything is great all the time, but that’s not how life works. Your work-life balance will also look completely different in different stages of your life – when you are a student, when you start your first job, when you have a family, etc.
To achieve work-life balance, it’s really important to understand that you need to take the time to focus on certain areas more than others. In order to reach a work-life balance, you need to be imbalanced sometimes to reflect on your life circumstances.
I was recently talking to a WLM community member on Instagram and she told me how she was feeling. guilty that she wasn’t focusing on her job search because she was taking care of a sick parent.
Here’s the thing, in order to have a successful career, you need to take the time to take care of all other aspects of your life to achieve work-life balance in the long run. I share a personal situation in the podcast that really exemplified this, so listen to the episode to hear about my personal experience.
Work-life balance isn’t about having the perfect schedule all the time, it’s about creating strong foundations in different areas of your life to achieve work-life balance on a whole.
3. Having An All Or Nothing Mindset When It Comes To Balance
As a high-achieving perfectionist, it’s easy to have an all-or-nothing mindset when it comes to everything, including work-life balance. As mentioned in point #2, it’s very unrealistic to have the perfect balance at all times because that’s not how life works. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth working towards, even when you don’t achieve it.
One of the most common work-life balance mistakes to make is to get into an all-or-nothing mindset. This is a mindset where we think in absolute terms, such as never or forever. The problem with this type of thinking is it not only discourages us from trying something that might not be “achievable” but also limits our abilities to get creative in problem-solving when things don’t work out the way we plan. For example, if you are looking at work-life balance, you might see yourself as working in a dream career, and if the balance doesn’t work for that career path, it’s not worth pursuing. Instead, of thinking of work-life balance in a more creative way, like creating a side hustle for your passions to allow you work-life balance or working a part-time job if you struggle between balancing a full-time job with being a parent.
Work-life balance can sound allusive and these days, it can be thrown around as a buzzword but it’s so important to understand what mistakes we are making. If you need help, overcoming your self-doubt and fears in going after your dream career to avoid these work-life balance mistakes, apply for 1:1 coaching!