Updated: Nov 7, 2020
A former executive from ExxonMobil and Phillip Morris made headlines by announcing that women need to “eliminate the word balance” from the work/life balance equation. “It sets everyone up for frustration and disappointment.”
The former executive? Dede Bartlett.
That seems like a rather bleak and cynical outlook, but Bartlett is not alone in her sentiments. For decades, women executives have decried the face that men do not seem to have the same difficulties or barriers in work/life balance as their female counterparts. Executive women have delayed childbirth or eliminated childbirth from their plans at staggeringly higher rates than their male counterparts, and while that statistic is improving, it is far from equitable.
Define Your Own Balance
But as a woman who has had a successful business life, a great track record of philanthropy, and enjoyed her family life, Bartlett doesn’t despair, and neither should you. Instead of subscribing to a storybook version of what balance is, she instead encourages women to define what balance means to them. True balance, she argues, is the ability to accomplish and prioritize the daily activities and goals that each individual allots for themselves.
She also feels the roadblocks that currently deter women from accomplishing those goals, such as childcare and gender neutral opportunities for promotions, are starting to fade out. Bartlett agrees that there is much work to be done, but that the work/life balance conversation will look very different ten years from now.
The term “work/life balance”, however, is truly in the eye of the beholder. The goal for all women leaders (and women in general) is to define what balance looks like for them, and not compare their wants and needs to their peers. Finding your own place of balance and happiness should trump any other definition of balance, and that is the point that Bartlett and other women leaders like her are trying to make.
Your time for personal revolution is now: Are you able, ready, and willing to seize it?
Until then, Be Limitless and Discover Your Next.
What’s Your Next?