Work-Life Balance – The Perpetual Challenge

You are wondering how to keep going juggling work and the family – something feels it has got to give. Your work is demanding and you put in long hours but you love your job. You have always seen yourself as a role model and now you are feeling guilty because you see so little of your children and spouse. You are thinking of throwing in the towel.

work-life balance

Photo by Donovan

These feelings are incredibly common and sadly many talented people give up and step away from the executive level but it is possible to reach and stay in senior leadership positions with the right support and thinking. But its hard asking for help, right? Yet research shows that those who ask for help in their careers are ultimately more successful. It appears asking for help is crucial to success.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy.  I remember having doubts myself. Picture this. I was the CEO of an organisation and juggling the demanding role with bringing up a young family. I got a call from work saying my son was sick and I rushed home and ended up taking him to hospital where he was kept in for several days. As if this wasn’t stressful enough, the following day as I attempted to continue to work the sky turned pitch black a massive electrical storm hit London.

The storm was so violent that London was besieged with torrential rain. The phone rang ” There is so much water coming through the roof at work, that we have to leave because its unsafe”. Minutes later another phone call -from home. “There is water coming through the ceiling in your bedroom and it won’t stop!”.

Was I stressed? You bet. I had no control over what was happening. It felt like all the wheels had come off the cart at once! In that moment, I certainly felt it was impossible to juggle work and family but like the storm this feeling passed.

So how did I handle it? I asked for help…I was not invincible only human.

Right support

When the storm hit London, one of the things that really helped me was I had the right support in place. I had a strong team at work that I trusted and the same trusted support at home. And, I had built a solid relationship with my Chairman who I could talk to about the situation and various options for continuing to work whilst looking after a sick child. I stayed true to what was important to me and navigated the choppy waters by asking for help. I pushed the HELP button.

Asking for help

Photo by The Monk

Do you find yourself resisting having the conversation because you’re afraid of hearing NO? Well this story should inspire you.

I recently spoke to a company Managing Director who shared with me his frustration. His second in command had just resigned because she was struggling to juggle work and home. He had been developing  her for his job in a few years time. She wasn’t giving up work, she was moving to another company as she believed the role would be more manageable.

He lamented ” If only she had come and spoken to me about the challenge, we would have found a way to support her to balance her job and family life but it was too late”. Whilst there are organisations who are inflexible, there are many who are willing to be flexible – they just don’t get the chance.

So I dare you to hit the Help button.  Who do you need to have a conversation with about your work-life balance?

Will you book an appointment with that person to talk about your dilemma?

If you are still resisting having the conversation, or if you want to find a new way of looking at your situation so you can fully exploring all your options before taking action, email me and book an Executive Coaching consultation.

In the meantime, I’d love to get your own thoughts on work-life balance and your strategies for managing the perpetual challenge.