Wobble on (or the Myth of Work-Life Balance)

Photo sequence is author, Abbie Beacham, mid-wobble

It was a snowy day in Denver. I was sitting in my home office drinking a hot mug of coffee and watching the beautiful flakes float peacefully and gracefully down to the ground below y window. At last measure, we were at about 17 inches on the back patio. In the distance, I could hear someone scraping their car windshield. Where were they going to go? Work? Ha! I thought. Good luck with that.

I distinctly recall that I was grappling for a way to prepare a presentation on “Work/Life Balance.” I had received a request from a department at my work to come to a meeting and present for an allotted 15 minutes. I was to present on the topic and then, they would, in their words “go do it” — Work-Life Balance that is. Frankly, I thought that was hysterically funny. I should present it to the person scraping their windshield.

Then it hit me. What if Work-Life balance was a MYTH? Yep, a ruse, a set-up, a rigged game and a cruel joke – you can’t get it. How long have we been striving and seeking to arrive at that elusive destination of work-life balance? Right when we think we have it? Splat! Gone again.

The balance we seek comes in moments. Every balanced pose comes in moments. Balance is a dynamic equilibrium with constant shifts. Some are small shifts that are almost undetectable. Other shifts throw us to the ground. The shifting, however, never stops. Life is like standing on a wobble board. If you have ever been on a wobble board, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

The wobble board concept is covered in our very first session of Cultivating Personal Resilience. People in our groups immediately nod that they know what it means to get balanced on a board that is constantly shifting. It takes practice to notice and adapt. Over time we get good at it – shifting and adapting. Then, on those occasions when we are thrown off the balance completely, we know how to get right back on.

People in our groups have said “No work-life balance? It’s actually a wobble board? Wow! I feel so let off the hook! I don’t have to get to perfect!” Exactly. We don’t have to get to perfect. We just wobble on my friends. Wobble on.

[This post was originally published July 27, 2020]

Welcome to Project Well-Being

Hi! Welcome to Project Well-Being. We are so glad you are here.

Have you ever had a great idea that you kept putting off until the conditions were perfect? So have we! Project Well-Being has been “under construction” for years. We have been waiting to launch until conditions are just perfect. It turns out that the perfect time for us to launch is NOW (it’s always been ‘now’). The time is now because there has never been a time like now. We are in the midst of a pandemic–COVID-19 (hence our masks)–and a stark awakening of the acute, painful, deeply embedded strains of racial inequality. There has never been a time when the need to tend to the well-being of ourselves and those we care about is more important. This is our project and now is the time.

We (Abbie & Jenn) are clinical psychologists with expertise in health, mindfulness and meditation, exercise science, wellness, and well-being. We think of ourselves as academics gone rogue. Between us we have 6 graduate degrees, over a hundred professional research presentations, some cool publications, and decades of experience. We agree on a couple of things:

(1) There is a need to translate scholarly work into practical, easy to apply tools for busy people who want their lives to be better and more in tune with what they truly care about;

(2) Learning these practical tools doesn’t need to be drudgery. Laying a healthy daily foundation for how we want to live our lives can be meaningful, interesting, effective and even fun.

At Project Well-Being we distill what we know works (all that research-y stuff) into understandable manageable pieces through our online learning activities (including a free monthly zoom community practice!), weekly blog posts, and monthly podcasts.

We look forward to sharing this exploration and application of well-being with you. We would love to hear from you about your reactions, questions, and topics of interest for future blog posts, podcasts and courses.

Thank you for being here.

[Post originally published July 22, 2020]