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This is not a book review, although it may seem like one. Last week I saw a description of this book, Leading the Life You Want, in my Facebook feed. Of course I had to stop the scroll to read since it’s about work-life balance and all. Although the title is very Oprah’s live-your-best-life-ish, this book seems to have serious substance.
So, since this is not a book review — I haven’t read the book — I wanted to instead talk through some of the points in the HBR (you know, Harvard Business Review) summary:
The author, Stewart D. Friedman, says, “If you’re seeking “balance” you’ll never achieve it.” I stumble across statements like this quite frequently, and in fact, just wrote about it in this post where Robert Herjavec says, “work-life balance is one of the biggest misconceptions people have.”
So, here we have … “you’ll never achieve it,” and “it’s one of the biggest misconceptions people have,” all in one blog post.
Friedman says, “The goal is to create harmony among them (the four areas of your life: work, home, community, and the private self) instead of thinking only in terms of trade-offs.” Harmony. This is better.
I think we get hung up on the definitions of work-life balance. That everything is a trade-off like Friedman says, or the fact that everything needs to be perfectly balanced. The truth is that it doesn’t. It just has to be balanced to you.
Friedman uses illustrations from famous people (from Michelle Obama to Bruce Springsteen) to illustrate the points in his book, which make me wonder how translatable they can be. After all, people with money have more means to have assistance in their daily lives. More assistance can easily equate to more balance for the things that are important.
I am intrigued, however, and will be looking forward to finding a copy of this book to read to get his full insights. For now, I’ll stick with the theory that work-life balance is obtainable — you just have to properly define it, and work toward that goal.