During weeks like this, when I'm juggling a lot of commitments, I think a lot about work-life balance and how freaking hard it is to achieve.
I got some perspective from a very unexpected source recently. I got my epiphany at work.
Many of you know that I do adult education by day and I currently work with a group of accountants. You wouldn't think an accounting firm would be a hotbed of sexy thought-provoking concepts... I sure didn't.
Yet, in the four years I've been working with them, I've learned more about writing and work-life balance than I ever expected to know.
THIS quote came up in a prep session for Not-For-Profit Corporations:
Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends, and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back.
But the other four balls – family, health, friends, and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same.
You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.
~ Brian Dyson (b. 1935) CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises
I've had that quote on my mind all week.
I can't tell you what a freeing concept that was for me, after the many times I've gone far past my limits for work. So many of us have the notion that work defines us more than the other four balls.
[Newsflash: It doesn't!]
Here's a story from a writer who learned this lesson the hard way and wrote a lovely post using this same quote. And if that wasn't enough magnificence about "the balls," check out this video (watching this guy juggle mesmerized me).
Incidentally, here's the quote that headlined the Not-For-Profit workshop I mentioned above -- it mirrors our philosophy here at WITS:
You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.~ John Wooden
What are your thoughts on the "five balls?" Do you have a quote that you live by? How are you at achieving a good work-life balance? We'd love to hear about it down in the comments!
About Jenny Hansen
By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.
When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm. Jenny also writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.