How do those who are deeply passionate about their work balance their lives? I have written a few articles on the topic of balance and could list several ways “to balance your life” but that does not seem to answer the deeper part of this question, which is much more complicated than the basics of work/life balance.
I had someone say to me once that part of the root meaning of the word “passion” is “to suffer”. I suspect that those people who are truly passionate about what they do can relate to this definition of passion — to be passionate about something is to be consumed and driven by it. Where in this experience is the concept of balance? Passion might compel you to write at 3am and work for days without showering, with little sleep, and barely eating. This is not balance — and this is not the work-alcoholism of the typical American that might be remedied by the standard concept of balance.
Anyone who has been passionately connected to his or her work knows that the self is not always maintained in the process. The creative element that is a part of visioning and passionate action requires dissolution of the self. This makes it challenging to deeply understand what balance is all about under these circumstances.
However, if we substitute caring for ourselves in place of balance, we get a bit closer to something that might serve those of us who are so intimately connected with our passion. While balance might imply that we spend a certain amount of time doing separate activities, caring for ourselves implies that we are an essential part of our passionate work. If we are not healthy, then our work is not healthy either.
If we are not healthy then our work is not healthy.
Period and no exceptions.
While the metaphysics of this statement are intriguing, answering the following question will help us to apply it to our lives: How might your approach to work change if you looked at it from the perspective of the above statement?