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How do you find Balance, when you are in the middle of the biggest project of your career? Often the answer is that you cannot – and sometimes the answer is that you should not.

The reason why can be found in any good mystery book. During the first chapter or so, the plot is set up, characters are introduced, and the “crime” is discovered. In the middle chapters, the characters discover clues, develop relationships, and build intrigue. The last chapter is the climax of the story, where the entire caper is laid bare. And in the last few pages the loose ends are resolved.

Why isn’t the book “flat”: every chapter balanced perfectly? Each chapter with an introduction, crime, clues, climax, and resolution? Each chapter monotonously the same? The answer is simple: it would be boring. Books that are a bit of a roller-coaster are more interesting, engaging, and are more satisfying to the reader.

Roller-coaster careers might be a bit too much for some, but most people would settle for a career that is interesting, engaging, and satisfying. Whenever we make an investment in our career by taking on additional responsibility, getting extra education, or delivering at an exceptional level, we are making our career more interesting – and less flat. The challenge, however, is that this investment comes at the so-called “expense” of Work-Life Balance.

Consider, however, a different perspective. What if each stage of your career was actually like a chapter in the book? As you go through your career, you might choose a different balance for each chapter. Upon graduation, you are keen on promotion; in the middle chapters when you have a family, your desired balance would include more time with them. Later in your career, you might add more community or spiritual involvement.

The key is that your desired Work-Life Balance should be shifting along with your career, and along with your life. There is no such thing as a generic “perfect” Balancing Act, only the Balance that you set for yourself for the current chapter of your career.

This week’s Action Item: What Chapter are you in right now? How long will this chapter last?

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
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