129: How to Reframe Work/Life Balance So That It Works For You - Andrea Liebross
How to Reframe Work/Life Balance So That It Works For You

129: How to Reframe Work/Life Balance So That It Works For You

Summer’s coming. This is one of those times of the year when people get really busy. And ironically, when you’re already busy, you feel inclined to want to be even more productive, even start something new.

But the kids are home from school now. Your aging parents might need greater care. Or you might just be making summer travel plans. And as a mom, a daughter, a friend, etc., you want to be in the present with those you care about. You want that work/life balance you fear won’t achieve.

But what if you could shift your thinking to the whole idea of work/life balance? What if you adopted a new frame of mind to put less pressure and stress on yourself to pull away and focus on other things in your life?

In this episode of Time to Level Up, you’ll learn about three things you need to consider that’ll help you reframe the whole work/life balance concept. I’ll also teach you what helps you create what you’re looking for when preventing burnout.

What’s Covered in This Episode About Work/Life Balance

7:44 – How striving for work/life balance can lead to burnout

9:38 – What you need to stop believing and forgive yourself for

11:18 – How fear gets mixed up in your attempts at work/life balance (and what it really means when it happens)

16:45 – What you need to protect (and might need to revisit)

21:03 – What really helps you tackle the guilt about work/life balance and eliminate decision fatigue

28:45 – Jill’s advice for women in business around leveling up

Mentioned In How to Reframe Work/Life Balance So That It Works For You

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Quotes from this Episode of Time to Level Up

“No matter what stage you’re at, what season of life you’re in, we always feel like we should be somewhere else, tackling something else.” – Andrea Liebross

“Our brains take what’s a really useful concept–trying to create work/life balance–and they sometimes use it to sabotage ourselves.” – Andrea Liebross

“If we think about business, or work as just part of life, then there is no such thing as balance. It’s just part of the wheel of life.” – Andrea Liebross

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Welcome to the Time to Level Up Podcast. I'm your host, Andrea Liebross. Each week, I focus on the systems, strategy, and big thinking you need to CEO your business and life to the next level. Are you ready? Let's go.

Hello, my listeners, and welcome back to the Time to Level Up Podcast. How is your May going? May always seems like it is a busy, busy month. But here's something that I recently read that people are way more productive and/or inclined to start something new when they are in a “busy” timeframe.

A lot of times when someone starts a new routine or tries to establish a new habit, it occurs during the busiest times of the year. If you catch yourself thinking, “Oh, when this is over, then I'll have time to focus on whatever,” I would actually encourage you to think differently. Maybe now, while you're busy, is the perfect time. We don't have to wait.

Which brings me to something else I wanted to mention here on the podcast, I've been doing a lot of thinking about passive podcast listeners. If you are a longtime listener, there's something different between just listening and applying the knowledge. What I have noticed is that those women who actually start to engage in a coaching relationship of some sort, either with me or someone else, are the ones that make the most progress.

If you've been a longtime listener that has not engaged in coaching, I really would encourage you to try it out. Because I think you're going to get the results that you're looking for, the change in your life that you're looking for, the clarity that you're looking for, the confidence that you're looking for a whole lot faster and easier when you've got someone holding your hand to do the work with, someone who's helping you through the work.

Now is a great time to think about, actually pull the trigger, and make the decision to engage in some coaching. I don't want you just to be a passive listener, I want you to be an active participant in your own growth and development. Head over to andreaslinks.com and schedule a call. Let's chat. Let's dive in.

Today we're going to talk about balance. We're on the cusp of summer and I hear a lot of women really craving this elusive work-life balance during the summer but being afraid that they're not going to be able to achieve it because things are different in summer, kids are home. Whether they're big kids or little kids, usually if you have children, they are somehow part of your summer. You might be doing more traveling. Even if you don't have kids, you're probably doing more traveling during the summer.

As working women who own businesses, we're often chasing that balance of working the business and wanting to be the mom, the partner, the daughter, or the friend that we envisioned would happen. We really feel bad about letting our kids, our clients, our colleagues, our friends, or our partners down by not being present with them and we also feel some guilt about practicing our own self-care, spending time on ourselves.

We may even feel a little bit of regret or remorse for not helping aging parents enough. To make it worse, we actually sometimes feel embarrassment or shame around admitting that this is all very stressful.

But here's the thing, when we get on a role with our business, when we feel success, when we start to have ideas pouring in, when the next steps become super clear that will allow us to achieve whatever we're trying to achieve, it's really hard to pull away from that momentum we have and shift or switch gears on to other things even though those other things are people that are important to us, and maybe the other things that are important to us are taking care of ourselves, our health, preparing delicious foods, or going for a walk.

Maybe it is taking care of your aging parents, prepping for an upcoming holiday, planning a trip, or just spending time on a walk with your husband, your partner, or your kids. Or maybe it's spending time meeting friends for drinks or feeding friendships, whatever it is when we are on a role in business, we feel like it's really hard to pull away, make time, and shift gears for other things.

Now the same can be true when we are on a vacation role. For example, you know how hard it is to get back in the groove sometimes we say, when you've been away from it, or maybe when you've been really focusing on you, it's hard to focus on the business?

I hear my clients talk about this a lot and I feel this myself because remember, I'm human too. I hear women say they feel that time sometimes is running out to achieve what they want to achieve in their business. But time is also running out to spend time with their kids, for example, they only have 18 summers, or time is running out when they're physically going to be able to go on a trip to Europe.

No matter where you are, what stage you're at, what season of life you're in, we always feel like we should be somewhere else, getting something else done, tackling something else, and secretly, we all dream of weekends away where we could focus on whatever. But we then come up with a lot of excuses as to why we can't.

I recently read an article about all of this in Harvard Business Review, which made me really start to think about this topic. They kind of talked about it as a push and pull, and when there's a push and pull, there's guilt, guilt for focusing on work or guilt for not focusing on work, feeling like a failure, because you can't quite get this balance thing down. You feel like you're half listening to your clients or half listening to your family.

Then you start to feel like you're missing out. Then this leads to failing, feeling like you're failing, not really failing, because remember, there's no such thing as really failing. There's either winning or learning. I'm going to throw another little wrench in here. There's also this time that you want to spend in your community or doing things for the greater good, volunteering, and we're always trying to plot how we're going to fit that in.

Remember, there's an episode out there, I'm not sure which one, where I talk about being the nipple, we're trying to satisfy all of these external circles and we sometimes forget about ourselves in this. It's all like a no-win situation. It creates all of these feelings when we think about this balance that we're trying to achieve. It fuels feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion, and kind of being defeated a little bit and that can really lead to burnout.

There's a lot of talk out there about the importance though of not becoming burnt out and having a work-life balance. You don't want work to take over your life, you need the balance. But you also don't want to totally get sucked into family things or even yourself. I don't even know what you'd consider being sucked in or spending too much time on yourself. You need this balance.

I kind of agree with that. But I just want you to notice that our super smart brains take what's a really useful concept, this concept of trying to create work-life balance, they take this concept and they sometimes use it, our smart brains use this concept to sabotage ourselves.

Today, I want to give you three things that you can think about to kind of reframe this work-life balance so that it works for you. Here we go. Here's number one. Number one is to stop believing that balance is better and forgive yourself when the balance doesn't happen. Stop feeling like you have to devote the same amount of time and energy to work and family or to business and life.

Stop believing that balance is better because here is what I see happens most commonly. When I think about this balance, Harvard Business Review called it push and pull, I like to think of it as a teeter-totter or a seesaw, what's the difference between the teeter-totter and seesaw? I should look that up.

But anyway, women, if they feel like the teeter-totter is leaning toward the work side, they feel guilty that they're not spending enough time with their families and they're spending too much time on work. But if the teeter-totter is leaning toward the life side, what they're feeling is fear.

I would argue they're feeling some fear of going all in on their business or even starting their business. By starting, I mean to really diving in, committing, not just being interested, but committing to building the business, because they're afraid if that happens, they won't have enough time for themselves or their families, they will lose that balance. There's guilt and there's fear.

Let's talk about that fear for a second. This is kind of a tangent but bear with me. Fear gets really mixed up in this discussion because I see a lot of business owners or entrepreneurs say to me, “Well, I told myself that I was going to work five hours a day for five days a week on my business, and I even wrote it in my calendar,” whatever they say, or “I'm going to work two full days or I'm going to put in two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon,” it doesn't matter.

This is what they say to me, “I told myself that I was going to work this much but I'm just not doing it. I think I'm afraid that if I really do that, I am going to start to neglect, not pay enough attention to, or forget about all the other parts of my life. My kids are going to suffer, my partner is going to suffer, and I'm going to suffer because I'm not going to get to go to Pilates three times a week. I might only get to go twice.”

When I say, “Why are you afraid of that?” “Oh, because I know myself. This is what's happened in the past. I really get into something and I abandoned everything else. I started to neglect all the other areas,” I can see this because I can see this sometimes happening in me.

My husband and I got really into this process of building a house. Once my kids went back to school last fall, I felt like something was off, like something was going on. What I realized was that I was “out of balance” because I was spending all of my brainpower and we together were spending all of our brainpower, my husband and I on this house, and we had forgotten about all the other things that we enjoy.

I can see this happening. We were forgetting even to make dinners and we started ordering out a lot. My dining out part of my You Need A Budget was going up. I even probably neglected my own health and self-care. I wasn't doing my two-two-two, two yoga, two strength, two cardio a week.

Whatever it is for you, can you see how you can say to yourself, “Oh, if I go all in on this, I'm going to neglect something else”? If we're talking about if I go all in on my business, I'm going to be neglecting all the other parts of my life, I might say to my client, if this is what they're saying, “Okay, so why don't we just not do the business? You don't have to. Who said you did? Maybe you could go get a nine-to-five job or maybe we could do something different?”

Nine times out of ten what they'll come back to me with is, “No, but I really do want to do that business. Not doing it isn't even an option.” I might say, “No, no, no, no, it's not that I don't want to build this house. I really do.” Think about that. If that's the case, then what's happening is you are making a series of choices. This thought of neglecting other areas of our life doesn't just happen, we make a series of choices, we choose not to be disciplined, not to keep the teeter-totter balanced.

We choose not to put the reins on and stop ourselves from going too far into one thing to make room for the other. We choose to let ourselves spend longer on something than we planned. It's a choice. I really promise you, it is a choice. You think it just happens to you but it doesn't.

I want you to remember that you have to stop believing that there is such a thing as balance. You have to remember that really what's happening is when you fear feeling unbalanced, it is a series of choices. You're choosing something else, and that, my friends, is okay. That is okay.

Release that need to be balanced. If you can do that, do you see how that would empower you rather than make you feel guilt, shame, or fear? It's just a series of choices. Recently, I've made a series of choices that's put me down this path. If you can let go of that guilt, then you actually can make way more progress.

If you can say, “I've made the decision to really devote extra time this month to making decisions on my house,” “I've really decided to put extra time into writing my book,” or “I've really decided that my kids are only home for three weeks in the month of May and I'm going to put extra time into that,” that empowers you versus creating guilt, shame, or fear.

Let's move on to number two, which is a great segue here. Number two is actually protecting the areas that matter to you in that week, month, or season because whatever you're protecting aligns with what you value, so you might have to revisit your values.

I don't know if you've ever done that, if you've ever pulled up a list online of values, but look at it. What are your values? What do you value most? One of the things I value most is connection. This month in May, when you're listening to this, literally my son is home for two and a half weeks or so between his semester abroad and his summer job and my daughter is home for a month or so between her finishing her freshman year of college and going off to be a camp counselor in Maine.

I really have tried to clear up my schedule as much as possible during those weeks because I value that time, because I value the connection, and I need the time to create that connection. Right now when I'm recording this podcast, I'm just a couple of days out from going on a trip to Italy to visit my son because he's still there right now as of the time of recording and I have decided that I'm really not going to do work while I'm there.

I'm going to get to spend some time with him. We're also meeting upfront with some cousins that we don't get to see too often from the East Coast and we're going to do Tuscany with them. I have to remember that I am choosing to not spend the time on my work, I'm choosing it to spend on my family, and that's okay.

I also have to remember, just a side note, that this trip that we're going on, and that month of May when my kids are home and I'm trying to create that connection, life's 50/50, there's going to be great parts of it and there are going to be kind of crappy parts of it. Even vacations aren't always amazing 100% of the time, because vacations sometimes or trips are 50/50 just like every other part of life.

But now on these few days leading up to leaving for this trip, I feel very out of balance, we'll call it. Like this weekend, I said to my husband, “I have a lot of work to do before we leave.” I have been working hard in my business over the last few days and I will in the next coming days until we leave and I’m feeling super out of balance, but that's my choice because it's aligning with my values.

I want to create things for my business and serve my clients even while I'm gone so I need to put this extra time in now. I prepared to record this podcast on a Sunday. I don't usually prepare podcasts on Sundays, but I did it. I didn't go play golf. I stayed home while he went and play golf and I prepared to record the podcast, I’m recording it on a Monday.

When we have a certain deadline, goal, or something we're trying to achieve, a lot of times we go all in on it. We work more intensely. We try to do something maybe for a certain number of days, we're purposely out of balance. Think about all those times when you've thought about “Oh, I should do a cleanse for five days.” For those five days, you are planning on going all in on you.

Sometimes when we do that, it can create a really good habit too. That's a whole other podcast about habits. But there are times when I err on the side of my business and there are times when I err on the side of my life. I am choosing to be out of balance because whatever that choice is aligns with my values.

Number two is to really protect time for areas of your life that matter to you most and that align with what you value inside that period of time. That's the second thing. Next, third, this idea that I just introduced to you really helps us tackle the guilt that I mentioned earlier.

If you say to yourself, “I need to be balanced all the time,” it doesn't work. It just doesn't work because the guilt really becomes very heavy. The guilt can shift from work to life but I want you to actually practice or think about being out of balance. I want you to practice being out of balance versus using the concept to sabotage ourselves.

If we think about business or work as just part of life, then there is no such thing as balance. It's just part of it. Business is part of the wheel of life. When I do that exercise with my clients and ask them to rate their level of satisfaction in all different areas of life, I talked about that on a podcast with Veronica Tubbs, business is just one part of that rotating wheel, one spoke on the wheel. It's not the whole thing. It's just part of it. Business is part of life.

Here's another thought thing I thought about over the weekend. Last week, it was super warm out and I got an ice cream cone. When you're eating an ice cream cone, there are parts of it that start to melt so you quickly lick that part, you try to catch up, and you direct your energy toward that part so it doesn't melt and drip onto your finger.

But then while you're doing that, there's another part that starts to melt so you shift and you direct your energy towards that part. You quickly try to catch up. It's like a constant game of redirecting your energy to the part of the cone that needs you most. There's no such thing as a perfectly balanced way to eat an ice cream cone.

What if there was no such thing as a perfectly balanced way to work through your days, weeks, and months? The third thing I want you to think about is that work or business is just part of your life that we don't have to separate them out.

Now, the last thing I want to leave you with is kind of a tactical to-do, something you could try. I want you to go back and listen to episode 88. In there I mentioned the ideal week, and it's an episode all about Michael Hyatt and company's Full Focus System. Part of their system is an ideal week.

What I want you to take away from that episode is how having a system does help you create what you're really looking for in this work-life balance concept, what you're really looking for in that concept is eliminating decision fatigue and guilt. If everything was balanced, then we wouldn't have to keep deciding where we wanted to spend our time.

If we could put ourselves on repeat and not have to make so many decisions, then we probably actually would feel a whole lot better, if you can adopt the concept of ideal week, which is very routine based, it's going to minimize decision fatigue and guilt that you are feeling in trying to balance all of these things.

Okay, my friends, one of the things that I have found through coaching is that no matter who I'm working with, they really want more systems in their lives. When they can make the shift, the mindset shift of why systems might be helpful, they see huge growth.

But notice that that shift goes back to what I was talking about at the beginning of the episode, you've got to shift from being a passive consumer of content to an active consumer who is putting what we're talking about on podcasts into action, and engaging in relationships that support you in doing that.

For example, engaging in a coaching relationship that's going to help you generate the thoughts you need, the mindset you need to have the systems, and coaching really guides you through that process. Go to andreaslinks.com, let's set up a call, and figure out what type of coaching relationship is best for you. I invite you to do that.

I also invite you to share this episode with someone else who is constantly struggling with work-life balance. If you can just share this with one person and let me know, direct message me on Instagram, let me know you listened and you shared it, I like to know that there are humans out there listening, that would really help me.

I can help you. Can you help me? That's the way the world works. Remember, until next time, you can always level up your life. Always, always. You always have the opportunity to do it and now is a perfect time. Okay, my friends, I will see you next week. Have a great week.

Hey, listening to podcasts is great. But you also have to do something to kick your business up a notch. You need to take some action, right? So go to andreaslinks.com and take the quiz. I guarantee you'll walk away knowing exactly what your next best step is to level up.

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Who_s the Best Business and Life Coach in Indiana - AndreaLiebross.com

I'm Andrea Liebross.

I am the big thinking expert for high-achieving women entrepreneurs. I help these bold, ambitious women make the shift from thinking small and feeling overwhelmed in business and life to getting the clarity, confidence and freedom they crave. I believe that the secret sauce to thinking big and creating big results (that you’re worthy and capable of) has just two ingredients – solid systems and the right (big) mindset. I am the author of best seller She Thinks Big: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Guide to Moving Past the Messy Middle and Into the Extraordinary and host of the Time to Level Up podcast.