The truth about the Work-Life Balance of a CEO

Work-Life-Balance – We currently encounter this term almost everywhere. But what does that even mean?

The term Work-Life-Balance has become a very important benchmark in job portals and job advertisements. Applicants (especially those who are younger) are actively looking for a good and – above all – highly promoted Work-Life-Balance in their professional life. During the last years, it has become an important criteria when looking for a job. It´s also an indicator for high standard of living.

But is this really the truth?

Under a good Work-Life-Balance we generally understand a balanced relationship between two of our worlds: work and private life. This relationship has to be as balanced as possible. If you manage to achieve that, then life is called “good”. If not, there is the threatening risk of working too much with the consequence of a burnout. As a measure to prevent the burnout, many try to eliminate a large part of work from their lives in the hope of achieving a better balance. However, this only combats the symptoms and not the cause. In most cases the employer is held responsible, but the problems are often completely different and find elsewhere.

Therefore there is no such thing as “that” one, generally perfect recipe for a good Work-Life Balance. The solution lies in the individual everyday life of the people and needs to be seen as unique. We have to ask ourselves: What are my priorities? Where is my focus? What CAN I do and what do I WANT to do? As you can see, the perfect balance does not lie in the fact that we make the free time around the classic 9 to 5 working day meaningful, it lies in the answer to the question of what we really want. As a mother and successful business woman, I wrote this blog article, because I want to share a few of my secrets with you. I invented my own strategy to achieve a healthy Work-Life-Balance and maybe you can benefit from my experience.

Thousands of articles and books cover the subject of Work-Life-Balance. The heroes and heroines of these publications get up at 5am in the morning. They meditate, do yoga, are super successful in their job, meet up with friends, and squeeze one or two HITT workouts into their daily schedule as well. But does this really work? As a married woman with two children? In Forbes Magazine (in an article from September, 2018) Amy Nelson, founder and CEO of The Riveter (work and community spaces for and by women) asked the all-important question: “How does all this magic happen?”

Does it really make sense, to separate work and private life? In particular, as the CEO of your own company? The answer is: Not necessarily. A true Work-Life-Balance - in the classic sense and as defined above – is not necessary, if you really love what you do. That might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s true - at least for me. As a self-employed person, you very often hear the phrase: Wow, you must work all day, everyday. In a way, that’s true, but the stress I am facing now is completely different from the stress I had to deal with while I was still employed in a company. Nowadays I can independently think about how and when to react to certain challenges, problems or anything like that. Henry Ford once said:

Nothing is particularly hard, if you divide it into small jobs”

and I agree with him.

Nevertheless, turning off your work cell, taking a vacation (once in a while – it´s a fallacy for many when they think about self-employment, but vacation is important!) and ensuring that there is enough quality time with your loved ones is of the utmost importance. As well as time for yourself. There must be enough me-time. How do I do that? With good organization. It is much easier to do justice to yourself and to other people and things that are important to you when you are well organized. Of course, you lose a certain part of spontaneity in your everyday life, but if we are really honest with ourselves: How often are we really spontaneous due to work and private appointments and obligations?! That’s why I’ve come to love organization as a very positive aspect of my everyday life. It also helps me with working as effectively as possible, which means: I hand over things and give tasks to people around me. This requires a team of people that you can rely on. I’m lucky enough to be able to work with such a team and I really appreciate it. Of course, I still have an overview of upcoming and ongoing projects and to-dos. That too requires good organization. And good communication. In the office, with my team, but also at home, with my family.

In conclusion, I define a good Work-Life-Balance for myself with the following key facts: organization, communication, a good team, letting go of certain tasks, passion and time with the family.

I would like to end this blog article with a quote from Mark Schneider, the CEO of Nestlé:

To be the best at anything, there is no balance. When you love something so much, you don’t want to take your foot off the pedal. You run on adrenaline to be better.” I find this quote very inspiring - always under the premise that family and friends are not neglected.

Thank you for reading!

A little note from me:

I am aware that this issue is kind of a luxury problem. There are enough workers who have to do their jobs to support themselves and their family. Many would be happy to have a job at all, that’s clear to me - but this is a discussion for another blog article. Therefore, I concentrated exclusively on the Work-Life-Balance and my experience with it and did not go into any other topics like general employment. Thank you.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

After 20 years of experience in financial services and a career at the big consulting firms, I founded my own consulting firm passcon and lead it to international success within only three years - now I am here to support You, the (female) leader of tomorrow!