There is NO such thing as a Balanced Life

Last month I attended the 9th Annual Graham Sessions in Phoenix, Arizona and I also had the pleasure to present on a forum discussion about women in leadership positions.  If you don’t know about the Graham Sessions, check out Heidi’s blog post to find out more information or this post to recap this year’s session.  My co-presenters for the session were Ann Wendel and Sandy Hilton. Sharon Dunn moderated the session.  It was a lot of fun to talk about women in leadership positions and hopefully the discussion will bring some attention about the continued disparity of pay and c suite leadership positions between men and women in physical therapy, in healthcare and in society at large.  There is much more to be said about this topic but that is not what I want to talk about today.

Today I want to talk about the concept of work-life balance.  During the Graham Sessions, I was asked how I achieved work-life balance.  My answer to this question is that I don’t believe in work-life balance.  I think this must be a myth like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that we keep searching for.  I think that the concept of balance can lead us to despair because there is no such thing as a balanced life.  Work-life balance is a lie.  I don’t believe that we can achieve anything ‘great’ if we stay balanced.

Work Life

I believe that we have to go to extremes to achieve something great, we must push ourselves beyond our comfort zone and intentionally get out of balance.  I have to admit that I am not an expert in this area and this is only my opinion about life and work.  And I can’t wait to hear what our Leadership Development coach, Daphne Scott would have to say on the topic.  I also know that when I am at the extremes that I tend of over eat, over drink and find other ways to down shift my life.  It can be a slippery slope at times.  I am now working on meditating more and turning less towards food and alcohol.  But the bottom line is that I don’t want to be balanced.

This is what I know.  I personally don’t want to go out of this life well rested and totally balanced. I want to go out with nothing left in the tank.  I enjoy working really hard and going to the extremes to achieve big goals.  I know that I can’t live my life at the extremes and that my life pendulum will need to swing back to reset and recover – fine.  But once I have recovered then I want to go back out on the field and compete.  I believe in hard work and grit and feel that happens at the extremes.  Do you think that Oprah Winfrey, Mia Hamm or Hilary Clinton are living a balanced life?     I feel like the only one that is holding us back is ourselves.  And the truth is that I am scared all the time, of everything – but the point is that you go for it anyway.  So quit trying to live a balanced life.  Ask yourself this, “are you willing to go to the extremes”?

Bridgit Finley


**The picture is from the book, The One Thing by Gary Keller.  It is worth the read!

10 responses to “There is NO such thing as a Balanced Life

  1. Well done Bridgit!
    I always push myself to the extremes and people always tell me I can’t go on like this forever or that I’m going to burn out. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I’ve never gotten anything or anywhere sitting, waiting in my comfort zone.
    I always say I may take big risks, but I almost always win big. Sometimes I lose… big, but that’s rare.

    Keep on keepin’ on!


  2. Sandra Norby says:

    Well said, Bridgit!!!!

  3. Rob Wainner says:

    Great thoughts here Bridgit, dead on!!

  4. KC says:

    I agree that there is no such thing as work life balance for a female leader in the true sense that includes her career and having a family. There is no way I could have had the action packed full career that I had and raised children the way I envisioned all at the same time! That’s why I am an older parent!

  5. Meredith Tittle says:

    …I am clearly not an expert… And I admire all of you Bridgit, Rob, and Daphne. For me work is life – so if they are in sync- they are not 50/50, I too agree.
    I think trying to separate it does make us feel guilty for spending time in one place and not the other. But being with people in life that believe in you and assist you – enables us to have a passion and pursue it. Thankful we are all made a little different- and grateful for those who ” get me” but confident to press on despite those who don’t.

    Fun topic

    #goget’em #tomorrowiswaiting

  6. Larry says:

    Agree completely Bridgit! Compartmentalizing work/life reminds me of a quote that says “there are two kinds of people in this world, those that put all people in two categories and those that don’t”. Work and Life have very different rhythms and attempts to oversimplify likely lead to frustration.

  7. Brett Minter says:

    I would have to disagree that we can’t achieve anything great if we stay balanced. I believe that we can have a great life with balance. I am a husband, father of two teenagers, tDPT student, Director of a Private Practice, Active in coverage in middle school and high school sports in my community, active in my church and an outdoorsman. I want to be great at everything I do. However, if I commit the majority of my time to work and don’t have relationships outside of my career I may be a Great PT but not very good husband, father or person. So my goal is to be a great as I can be at all my responsibilities. I am not always great at any of them but it is still my pursuit. This can be tiring and not much resting is involved but it is very fulfilling and balanced at the end of the day. Thanks for the post.

    1. Keith Brown says:

      Great reply Brett Minter. I agree 100 percent!

    2. Katt says:

      I agree with you Brett Minter. You can not forget about all the roles you play in each life of those who believe in you.

  8. Phil Rolfe PT, DPT, ATC says:

    To say that a balanced life is not possible is short sighted and biased toward a particular lifestyle. Having a balanced life is defined however you like and may change in different aspects of our life. I personally choose to go to extremes and be a great PT, a Father, a human who takes care of himself and a husband; but that means that I don’t choose one over the other. I may be at work one evening seeing a patient who I could not find time for during my typical hours, but I will journey back to my 6 year old daughter (who doesn’t understand or care that I have other responsibilities) the next night in order to offer my presence and love during our nightly routine. I may be wrong, but I am quite sure that Oprah, Mia and Hilary DO find some balance in their lives in some way, and that way may be completely different than the ideals of Bridget Finley, Rob Wainner, or Phil Rolfe.

    Paradoxically, if we live our lives in stark contrast to what we expect from our patients, we would be living a disingenuous existence. Specifically, when we expect our patients to take time to find tools for stress relief, find some time to do their exercises and rest in order to heal, we are really asking THEM to find a balance.

    Good to have this thought process, thank you Bridget!

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