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Unpopular Opinion: I Don’t Need Strong Work-Life Balance for My Greatest Well-Being

by | Feb 9, 2024

“What are you up to this weekend?” they would ask, or “How are you spending your holiday?” Over the last year, when friends or family have asked me questions like these, I have often responded with, “I’m working all weekend on my business” or “I’m spending my holiday days off writing my book.” And sure, I got a mix of fist bumps and cheers, messages like “Hell yeah, you got this!” But I also got the side-eye, hinting maybe I’m working too much. I heard, “This book is taking too much of your time.” “Don’t you have a company that’s focused on work-life balance? You should work less.”

Work-Life Imbalance: Not Always a Barrier to Well-being

This is a huge misconception. Yes, Motives Met is a work well-being platform. But NO, work well-being does not equal work-life balance. My truth and my team’s research show that I have a few human needs, what we call motives, that are most vital for my health and happiness at work today and that my needs are different from your needs. From taking the Motives Met Human Needs Assessment™, I know FUTURE SUCCES is a top motive for me, a vital well-being driver, and that WORK-LIFE HARMONY, as we call it, is not. The need for Work-LIFE HARMONY can sometimes be rejected, especially in toxic work cultures, but it can also be put on an unfair pedestal and excessively glorified.

While the judgment from others stung a bit, I reminded myself of my truth. Spending more time on goals and activities outside of work, rather than working towards my big ambitions at work, would actually harm my well-being, not help it.

Flashback to a few years ago, and you’d find me prioritizing more time towards jet-setting, deepening relationships, and my goals to scale some big-ass mountains. Today, my biggest goals are work goals. That is where more of my time and energy naturally flow because I want it that way. I get to wake up and pursue my dream, an opportunity not everyone has; it’s hard work for which I am grateful.

Creating Real Priorities

“If you have more than three priorities, you have none.” – Jim Collins

It doesn’t mean I find WORK-LIFE HARMONY unimportant; quite the opposite! Yet the “ugly truth” of work well-being is that all of your needs are not going to thrive simultaneously. Spreading yourself too thin means nothing gets the focus it deserves. Labeling everything as a priority is tempting, but that means nothing is a real priority. Focusing on what matters most and getting those needs met is the best strategy to maximize your work well-being today.

I make an effort to notice if I am getting too close to burnout or need more time spent on my personal life. I also know that I want this need to be healthy over the long term in my career. The work I am doing now to build up my business will help me maximize WORK LIFE-HARMONY in a greater way in the long run and be part of how I define the FUTURE SUCCESS that drives me.

Seasons, of course, will change, and in the future, I will most likely tip again towards needing less work time and more me time, but currently, maximizing my “balance” between the two isn’t what should drive my decision-making. Yet, for someone else, that might be exactly what they need.

Embracing Motive Diversity

WORK-LIFE HARMONY, like all motives, shouldn’t be put on a pedestal, nor should it be dismissed. I’m a huge advocate for respecting NEED DIVERSITY and embracing MOTIVE DIVERSITY, which you can read more about here. We have to respect where each person is on their work journey and limit judgment. We must embrace the truth of what we need most in the present season of our work, knowing that as our life changes in significant ways, our needs change with it.