A potential new hire mentioned that she was concerned about work/life balance at a startup. ‘Balance’ felt outdated. I imagined a scale in front of me with 8 hrs of work on one side, and 8 hours of play on the other.
We are now decades past Joseph Campbell’s advice to follow your bliss. His mantra urged us, like Gary Vaynerchuk now, to find what we were passionate about and make a career of it. It is our rightful place in the universe. But being able to embrace this philosophy takes a certain enlightenment that most people don’t have. It takes being able to see past all the fear, the money issues, and the ambiguity of how.
It takes having faith in yourself.
In my former life as a Christian, we used the metaphor of a piggy bank. Every step you took closer to what you felt God wanted was a quarter in the bank. Once the steps became larger — moving to a new city, not taking a higher paying job, breaking up with someone who didn’t support your relationship with God — you could look in the piggy bank, and know that everything was going to be okay. You had saved up enough to last you through this tough time.
So what’s the difference between bliss and balance?
Bliss is integrative, balance is separative.
Bliss describes how you feel, balance describes what you do.
Bliss ensures that whatever you’re doing brings you joy. Balance ensures you don’t do too much of something you don’t like.