Why the Work-Life Balance Conversation is All Wrong

Why Work Life Balance is BrokenA few months ago I attended a huge women’s conference with some of the most powerful women on the planet speaking.  So I sat in on a panel of experts discussing work-life integration to see what wisdom I could glean from business owners and CEO’s.  Some of what was spoken on this panel made me want to run screaming from the sardine can of an overcrowded conference room.

When the panel started with introductions, one COO started by saying in her strung out voice “I’ve only had 4 hours of sleep over the last two days.”  I thought – why the hell should I be listening to you about work-life integration?  In my opinion the panel only got worse from there.

If we were truly discussing how to have it all at the right time, I would have expected some wisdom from successful women who have found a way of being at the top of their professional game while also having a personal life they love. Instead, with the exception of the one panelist who was real and offered valuable insights, I found myself desperately wanting to rush the stage and give the others a slap and wake-up call.

It pained me deeply to see a room of several hundred women hanging on the words of a few overworked business owners as if what they spoke was gospel and held the keys to their own sweet yearnings for a career and life that works, particularly those working mothers.

As I listened to their stories, what I really wanted to know is:

  • Why do women have to get to the point of breaking before they cry out for help or are willing to set a boundary?
  • How can you possibly call it work-life balance to go to work early, come home early to catch your child’s event and then spend all night into the wee hours working once again?
  • Why do you have to be available at all hours just because you need a flexible work schedule? What are you trying to compensate for?
  • When did saying No become heresy and a career death sentence?

Story after story of working constantly and showing up at their children’s events only to have their face buried in the mobile device with work made me shake my head.  The one panelist even shared that her own son would ask her after his football games – why are you still working instead of watching my game?  This comment made her feel guilty so she stopped looking at her phone and her son really took notice as it mattered a lot to him. Yet she shared her choice with all the regret of a drug addict missing their hit.

When did work-life balance become a thinly veiled term for trying to have it all by never really being present for any of it? [Read more…]

Does Taking Vacation Freak You Out?

As a business owner, does the thought of taking vacation make your blood run cold?

You desperately want and Entrepreneurs Need Vacationneed a vacation, but it just seems so impossible.  You think “I’m so busy I hardly see straight.  I’m supposed to add all the pre-vacation work followed by feeling guilty about being away only to be capped off with the mountain of stuff that piled up while I was gone?!?”


Heck, it’s more trouble than it is worth!

Or is it?

I know so many small business owners who rarely, if ever take vacation. In fact I was talking to my mechanic the other day and he said he has only taken off two days this entire year (for reference, it was already the end of July).  Then there is the other camp of entrepreneurs who will squeeze in a vacation or two only to stay connected and work while they are away.

To me, this is not living.  Get real!

Is this the freedom and flexibility you were seeking when you decided to own your own business?

I thought not.

Vacation is vital to heart, health, and soul. Your ability to disconnect and recharge is directly related to your ability to be creative, productive, and achieve profitable longevity in your business.  Make no mistake about it, playtime away from your regular surroundings is vital for your success. Without it you will burnout.

That isn’t an “if” that is a “when”.

So what gets in the way of taking time off? Here are the top 3 excuses I see self-employed business owners use and how you can break free of them. [Read more…]

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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