To me, work means the things you do to earn money so that you can purchase the things you need to live. Life means your existence as a human being. I could see work/play balance, or work/recreation balance. But work/life balance?
Is this just semantics? I don't think it is. Life includes time spent with family and friends, recreation, hobbies, volunteering, taking care of your home, teaching your kids, and the list goes on. Life is huge! Should your work be put in equal footing with it? I don't know about you, but that is not the way I want to spend my life. Work is simply another part of life. Once we elevate it to be something bigger than that, we run into real danger of burnout and a lack of happiness and fulfillment.
The work we do is a tool. Whether you love your work or hate it, it pays to remember it is simply a tool. It's purpose is to provide the material things you need in order to enjoy life.
Kathy Ireland said it like this,
"My beliefs are that the business needs to serve the family rather than the family serve the business."
Work is a healthy part of any responsible person's life. We all need to do it in one way or another. If we can find a way to do it that we really enjoy, then that is great! I love the idea of finding your passion and bringing it into your work. But we can't let that work become the overwhelming force in our lives. That is when we lose touch with life and run the risk of having our work take over completely.
Keep your business and work in it's place, as a tool to provide for your life, as a servant to you instead of a master. Then live life like it was meant to be, using your time strengthening your happiness and that of those around you!
(In my upcoming book "Life Support - Reviving Your Life in the Midst of Business" I will be covering the idea of viewing your business as a tool in much more depth. I would appreciate any comments you have on the topic, just write them below!)