Work-life balance has become an omnipresent phrase used to describe the importance of balancing our professional and personal lives.
The term constantly makes its way into work-related conversations, headlines and company mission statements to the extent that some experts say it is becoming more of a catchphrase than an actual meaningful concept. While its core message remains crucial for wellbeing, the constant repetition of it might actually be diminishing the effort to create a more modern and relevant approach to work and life.
Is it time to retire the term and replace it with more meaningful terminology?
The idea of work-life balance suggests that the two are not connected and there should be time for both. However, others alternatives include work-life harmony, whole life approach, and work-life presence, just to name a few. Although it’s largely just a terminology change, it could help people think about what a balance between work and life really looks like for them in the future
A whole-life approach
Wendy Leshgold is co-founder of The Fast Forward Group, which offers professional and leadership training via the lens of a whole-life approach. They’ve worked with companies like Google, JPMorgan Chase, Amazon and Paramount to teach that when people are living their best lives, they do their best work too.
Leshgold isn’t shy to the corporate grind and neither was her co-founder Lisa McCarthy before they started their company.
“I knew there was a way to be fully engaged in your career, but not say ‘oh, I can’t focus on that relationship, or on my mental or physical health,’” said Leshgold. “It is possible to be able to fire on all cylinders. But how do we give people a repeatable system to go after things that matter professionally and personally?”
She says it’s way bigger than work-life balance. Some people might have work-life balance, but keep things so split that it doesn’t ultimately benefit them. At the root of the whole life approach is asking: what does success look like in my whole life. That’s not an easy question for people to answer, especially if they measure professional success as being the most meaningful. To get to the bottom of it, it’s helpful to ask what you want to be known for in a year’s time.