Authored by Dr. Amy Wood, PsyD
Life balance is a goal many women attorneys strive toward without a solid grasp of its meaning. Popular misconceptions are that it’s about juggling multiple responsibilities with exacting finesse or having personal and professional lives equally weighted like a yin-yang symbol.
This black and white understanding of life balance used to be largely attainable when work and home lives really were distinct and clear. But that once-indelible line between home and the office is blurry in a world where technology allows us to be accessible around the clock from anywhere.
The truth is that life balance is an ancient definition of success that is reached when a resonant outer life nurtures a vital inner life. Way, way back in simpler times, the idea was to invest money in personal surroundings expressly designed to rouse pleasing thoughts and feelings integral to overall fulfillment and productivity.
The original American ideal was to put earnings towards beautifying the home and garden, creating a sanctuary in which passions, relationships, and inspirations could flourish. Balance was possible when you enveloped yourself with a customized balm of intellectual, emotional, and social stimulation necessary to rejuvenate from daily pressures and keep evolving at a satisfying – not exhausting -- clip.
Most Americans – it’s not just women attorneys -- don’t experience true life balance anymore because our outer environments are distracting and noisy and pull us away from -- rather than enrich -- ourselves. We are so swept away by external directives – Respond to this signal! Read that text message! Keep up with it all or you will be left behind! – that we are downright depleted internally.
To bring life balance back in the way it was initially intended, we must give up the crazy notion that every outside call beckoning for our attention is worthy of our response. We need to see that trying to be in command by flexing to an ever-multiplying flow of information is a sure way to feel off-kilter. Regaining our equilibrium requires taking from “out there” only what we know deep down will serve and sustain us.
The more you cultivate your inner world in ways that feel fortifying and right, the more likely you are to feel balanced. And when you have real life balance, you feel grounded, curious, connected, confident in your inner wisdom, and fully alive – and much more able to thrive in an external world that will never be balanced no matter what you do.
You can experience the exquisite centeredness of genuine life balance by practicing the spirit of these stabilizing suggestions:
As you pursue true life balance, the most important question to consider is what kind of atmosphere will keep you lawyering and living at your best. Navigating the constant cacophony of modern life takes a clear, calm head – and if you put your focus on fostering that kind of equilibrium with well-suited circumstances, you will always be up for the challenge.