Right now it’s 8:30 at night, the house is silent, and I’m writing. My husband is out of town, my baby is asleep, and I could be doing anything I want to. But that’s the thing about my job—I’m not doing it because I have to; I’m doing it because I want to.
When you’re running a business, it’s especially easy to get bogged down by the guilt of working often. We feel like working a lot makes us terrible people—especially working when we don’t have to.
But the truth is, if you’re working after-hours when you could be doing anything at all, it likely shows that you love what you do. That’s why I work a lot! I actually have to make myself stop because I enjoy it so much. That may sound crazy to someone who has never had work they love. But when you find a path to make money doing what you love, it doesn’t feel like work.
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This is different than people who are exhausted and burnt out, working long hours because their job demands it at certain times (e.g., an accountant who can’t take a vacation during April, or a basketball coach who doesn’t get time off with his family over the holidays). During those times, we do what we have to do to get through and survive the crazy season. But hopefully that crazy time is just that: a season.
I talk to women all over the country about this concept of life balance. I’m not saying that you should run yourself ragged working all the time. And I’m certainly not saying that you should ignore your children or other important areas of your life. I spend extra time working, but it’s deliberately when my son is in bed and my husband is out of town or busy.
But I do want you to remember that life balance isn’t the idea that your life will ever be perfectly balanced out. Life balance is simply living from your values. And because everyone’s values and seasons of life are different, everyone’s version of life balance will be different. If what you’re doing brings you joy, even if it’s work, then you are spending time living from your values. You are creating your own version of balance. And at the end of the day, that’s the only version of balance that matters anyway!
So if you’re burning the midnight oil by filling a few extra orders, replying to one more e-mail, or writing one more page while your creative juices are flowing, go for it! Don’t feel bad if you find yourself drifting to work even when you don’t have to be. It may be a sign that you’re in your sweet spot doing something you love.
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