The Balance Delusion

The balance delusion
“Lady Justice is blindfolded for a reason.” – Erin Rhinehart.

Lady Justice is blindfolded for a reason. If Ms. Justice was forced to witness everything that she must balance, she would drop those scales and run. She is deluding herself. And really, to some degree, aren’t we all wearing blindfolds? Isn’t delusion necessary to find, and maintain, that elusive “balance” for which we all strive?

Let’s get real. There is no such thing as balance. At least not balance in the sense that everything, 100% of the time, is in complete equipoise. Balance is a personal decision. To find and maintain any sense of sanity, the idea (and ideal) of balance must be tossed aside.

As leaders (and aspiring leaders) in our respective fields, we are expected to put our work and our clients first, and be available 24/7. As mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, we are expected to put our family first, and be available 24/7. This leaves us little room for much else. This is the impossible dream for which we all strive, to be everything to everyone all the time – and to do it flawlessly no less. We set ourselves up to fail. It is time to redefine balance. But, how?

This is the best part. Balance can mean whatever you want it to mean – and only you get to judge whether you have it or not.

For me, redefining balance is a process. I’m still trying to figure it out; and, unfortunately, it tends to change daily. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to learn how to set boundaries. In other words, learn to say “no.” As a young associate in a law firm, this was more difficult. But, as I earned my stripes, so-to-speak, I was granted more control over my time and career choices. It isn’t necessarily easier to say “no” now, but it has become a more viable option. And, I am better equipped to evaluate which opportunities to decline and which opportunities are worth the extra hours.

Figure out what is important to you, prioritize, and execute. Of course, this is easier said than done because most of us really aren’t that sure what it is that we really want to do. As you sit back and think about how to redefine balance for yourself, consider the famous question posed by Robert H. Schuller, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Perhaps your answer will help you remove your own blindfold.

Erin Rhinehart

Erin Rhinehart is a Partner with the law firm Faruki Ireland & Cox P.L.L., which has offices in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio. Her practice focuses on media and communications law, class action defense, and business litigation. Connect with Erin on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.

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