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Work-Life Balance: It’s A Struggle For The Rich and Famous, Too
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Work-Life Balance: It’s A Struggle For The Rich and Famous, Too - Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: It’s A Struggle For The Rich and Famous, Too

Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: It’s A Struggle For The Rich and Famous, Too

Sometimes, balance seems to be an elusive pipe dream. We feel we’re getting close to finding it, but it doesn’t take much to swing things in the other direction, leading us to suspect we never really had it. If we only had a little more time, money, autonomy, or flexibility in our lives and a little less obligation, social expectation, competition, or deadline stress, we’re sure balance would be a piece of cake, and we would spend more time celebrating our blessings and a lot less time feeling the need to earn them. Yet balance seems to be a concern even for the most visibly successful of us, as evidenced by recent quotes from these public figures.

  • “I think mom guilt is rampant in my life,” confesses musician Carrie Underwood. “I am sure it is in any mom’s. I still constantly wonder, ‘Is this fair to [my son]? Is my life fair to him?” It’s a sentiment most of us have, even without the demands of long hours and the constant scrutiny of the spotlight.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says, “If I’m left to my own devices, I’ll work all the time, and I’ll go home with briefing books and go through them all the time. And [my wife] says, ‘No, no, no, no, no. You’ve got to spend some time with the kids so you can make sense of everything else you do.’ And she of course is right, and that’s why I am the luckiest man in the world.” He underscores the importance of the work, too, telling members of Parliament, “We’re not doing this job in spite of our having kids. We’re doing it because we have kids.”
  • Paul Ryan, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, made news when he echoed this sentiment, firmly drawing his own line before accepting the appointment, saying, “Janna and I have children in the formative, foundational years of their lives. I genuinely worry about the consequences my agreeing to serve will have on [my children].” But he adds, “My greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up, of someday having my own kids ask me, when the stakes were so high, why didn't you do all you could do?” We work hard because the work is important, and modeling a serious work ethic for our children is also one of our parental responsibilities.
  • “If we’re scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves,” suggests U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, reminding us that it’s not just our professions and families pulling us in multiple directions, but the other responsibilities of daily living that put our roles in competition with our identities. “We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own to-do lists.”
  • Ivanka Trump has more of a millennial take, one that many of us share as we treat different parts of our lives as more of an integrated experience. “All the women I know, this next generation, they're working hard, not just in a professional capacity but really in all aspects of their life,” she says. “They're not one dimensional. They're doing things outside of the office and inside of the office and living in this digital age where we really do just live one life twenty-four hours a day, and I want to celebrate that.”

It’s tempting to think others make it work because they have more resources or more assistance, but work-life balance for any professional isn’t something that just happens, and even the least humdrum of our existences come with competing forces. It makes more sense for us to draw inspiration from others running the same race: after all, it’s our humanness--our multi-faceted desire to seek personal reward in more than one corner of our existence--that makes balance an issue in the first place.

Links
Carrie Underwood (via CBS News): http://www.cbsnews.com/news/carrie-underwood-has-mom-guilt-about-work-life-balance
Justin Trudeau (via CBC News): http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/programs/metromorning/justin-trudeau-work-life-balance-1.3335732
Michelle Obama (via Forbes): http://www.forbes.com/sites/salesforce/2015/07/31/9-thought-provoking-quotes-about-work-life-balance
Paul Ryan (via ABC News): http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/paul-ryans-house-speaker-bid-conditions-work-life/story?id=34632324
Ivanka Trump (via People magazine): http://www.people.com/article/ivanka-trump-women-who-work-good-morning-america

 

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Work-Life Balance: It’s A Struggle For The Rich and Famous, Too - Executive Leadership Articles

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