Intentions VS. Ideals

wideBalance is out.  After years of trying to convince women that work/life balance is the ideal, there’s growing recognition that most “ideals” aren’t goals. (Think Barbie).  Contemporary women like Sheryl Sandberg, Anne Marie Slaughter, and Debora Spar dispel the balance myth.  Women live wide[1], across a broad spectrum of life, assuming many roles.  It’s messy, it’s tiring, and it’s complicated.  And it is definitely not balanced.  But when done with intention, it is rewarding, exhilarating and joyful.   Trade ideals for intentions.

Trust me, you really don’t want balance.  You want to laugh, to be proud, to complete a project, to be an enthusiastic voice at your kid’s event, to deliver a strong and steady voice in a meeting, to have an engaged ear to your kid’s banter, to soak in a deeper conversation with your partner, to know a job well-done, to smile.

How to go from exhausted to invigorated? From sick to fit? From guilty to accepting?  From stuck to strong?  Intentions and choices.  “Throw open the windows and doors of the musty old mind-sets  we live in [ideals, balance, Barbie, fairy tales],  shake the dust out of the covers we wrap around our bodies, and in a thousand old and new ways… show up and pay attention to a fresh experience of being human.”[2]  Here’s where to start.

Step 1 – Often the hardest step

Think small. Find the single, right word.  What is it you really want to do or feel?  Do you want to feel fit? To wake up excited about the day? To limit distractions or interruptions? To regain lost confidence?  To have alone time? To have together time?  To control your schedule?  What would really change your day or your week?

Today is the day to “shake the dust off the covers” and step out from the impossible ideal box.  To be intentional about how you go through your day.  Turn off the radio/IPOD on your way home from work, take a 22 minute walk, create an opportunity to think about your word or phrase.   And don’t use a big, broad, umbrella word like time, happiness, balance, quiet.  Nouns may be part of the process of identifying what you want, but they won’t help you get it.  Try and identify your intention with verbs.  Remember the old adage “actions speak louder than words”?   How about “verbs speak louder than nouns”?  What’s your word?

Change your intentions from “I want_____”    to    “I want to_______”.   This will get you started.  And if you are having trouble with this sentence, call me.  We will complete it together.




This entry was posted in The Change Series, Women and Work. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *