The Balancing Act

'I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6:00, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids. I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it’s not until the last year, two years, that I’m brave enough to talk about it publicly' Sheryl Sandburg COO Facebook.

I did an interview this week for ‘Balance the Grind’ which got me thinking about work life balance and what it means to me. I think when it comes to the balancing act of being a career person and a person-person the thing to remember is that they’re both the same person. The concept of work-life balance suggests that one needs to be sacrificed for the other, but I am very much of the belief that you can have it all and both walks of life work in sync rather than against one another. 

There was a time where I was an absolute battler when it came to having any balance at all. I think all business people and company founders will vouch that there is definitely an early newborn phase of any successful career that begins with little sleep, little social interactions, not a lot of money. For this reason while I am a huge advocate for work-life balance, I’m also not ignorant of the service phase that any new career or business venture requires before it takes off. 

If you sit down with anyone successful they’ll always find an extra appreciation of the journey when they have to take a trip down memory lane to the very beginning. An athlete will tell you of the physically taxing days of blood, sweat and tears in the gym, sustaining a perfect diet and nil alcohol in the prime of their lives. An entrepreneur will tell you about the long days spent glued to a computer screen with no sleep running off caffeine and hustling through cold leads trying to make a sale. A professional of a big corporation will tell you of the many years of study they went through to walk into a corporate role at a sky high building where they were paid throupence to grind away for 16 hours a day 7 days a week. 

Success means sacrifice, and usually the currency it exchanges for is life’s pleasures. 

Which is why I am a massive advocate for work-life balance. Because I never had it, and now I do and I can see how hugely important it is for the whole cycle of sustaining success. 

Ev Williams, the founder and CEO of Medium says:

Take care of yourself: When you don’t sleep, eat crap, don’t exercise, and are living off adrenaline for too long, your performance suffers. Your decisions suffer. Your company suffers. Love those close to you: Failure of your company is not failure in life. Failure in your relationship is.

A healthier, happier and more connected you is in a better position to create the life that you want, be the employee you need and manifest the dreams you desire. Amal and I went through a robotic stage when we began Equalution and while it’s a hugely respected part of our story it isn’t compatible with our final destination because like a car runs out of fuel you too can burn out. 

I know it’s hard when you’re so focused, I get it - I really do know how hard it is when there is a whole heap of laser focus and very little room for negotiation on that. I’m hugely competitive and very tenacious when it comes to getting what I want at all costs, so I get it. But you’re going to have to make a deal with the devil on the pursuit of work-life balance. It will require you opening your mind from thinking inside the box of just a career objective to outside of the box from a life perspective. Here’s my top 5 tips on how you can start small on this:

  1. Make time for daily exercise: This will be 40 minutes of your 24hours in a day and will make a world of difference to your mindset. It’s 40 minutes of ‘you time’ for your body - make it happen!
  2. Eat well: How does this contribute to work/life balance you ask? Once you start prioritising good eating habits into your daily routine, you’re making your health a non-negotiable. This, VS a daily order of Uber Eats is letting you win over the battle against time and deadlines.
  3. Family first: I can’t tell you how many family shindigs I blew off for my business. No regrets, like I said, it was an important part of the hustle.. But I truly just throw myself in family events now and get so much juice for life out of them. It makes me sad to think at one stage of my life making these memories were put on the back burner.
  4. Friendships are soul food: I love my friends. I love making time for them, I love the energy that connections give and most of all I love how I can walk into these friendships as Just Jade as opposed to Jade from Equalution. Your friendships are as precious as the air you breathe 
  5. Identify the joys that fill up your cup: Find these and do more of them wherever you can.

We live in a day and age where mental health and prioritising the inner just as much as the outer is highly valued. Ride this wave and don’t think in order to be successful you MUST burn the candle at both ends. It’s all about picking and choosing your battles! 

'I get asked about work-life balance all the time. And my view is, that’s a debilitating phrase because it implies there’s a strict trade-off. And the reality is, if I am happy at home, I come into the office with tremendous energy. And if I am happy at work, I come home with tremendous energy. It actually is a circle; it’s not a balance' Jeff Bezos Founder CEO Amazon.