Are career success and personal success mutually exclusive?

The ultimate dream of most people has always been to have it all: achieving the pinnacle of success in your career field, finding the love of your life, settling down, enjoying good health, living to the ripe old age.
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Unfortunately, it turns out that a crazy amount of work and effort lies behind this idea of perfect work-life balance.

Do people really have to make a compromise and pick one happiness over the other?

Not if you choose your career wisely…

You might not have considered this before, but the quality of your personal life can be directly dependent on your professional life satisfaction.

Sacrificing too many hours and too much energy at a job that is just not right for you in whatever aspect will only leave you frustrated, in addition to stopping you spending quality time with friends, partners or family. This frustration can make you lose appetite for building the personal sphere of your life.

Conversely, if you happen to have a job that is a match made in heaven for you, it can have an incredibly energizing effect upon your entire existence, with more enthusiasm, confidence and hope left for “working” on your personal life.

Bryan Robinson, a psychotherapist and author of the novel Chained to the Desk likened this situation to a plane crash: “It’s that whole airplane metaphor. If you have a child, you put the oxygen mask on yourself first, not on the child.”

When it comes to being a good friend, girlfriend/boyfriend, spouse or parent, “the better you are yourself, the better you are going to be in all those areas as well.” Make sure you’re happy to be who you and where you are and the rest will follow.

… and cut back on activities that lack purpose

If you have a proclivity to complain of poor work-life balance, think about all those activities you do on a regular basis but don’t fall into either category. All of us are guilty of this to a greater or lesser extent; we often complain about lack of time but act as if we had too much of it to spare.

Yes, YouTube provides an endless sea of opportunities for filling up your free time, but don’t underestimate the risk of overindulging, which is dangerously high with all social media channels.

If you feel like your favourite time-filler doesn’t move you forward and eats away at your real life, toss it out. Put your attention on the people and activities that reward you the most.

The importance of living in the moment

Whoever said our day-to-day living should be separated into boxes anyway? Living in the present moment allows you to take the burden of work-life balance imperative off your shoulders and just live.

Or, to put it differently – relax, let go of perfectionism and stop looking too far into the future.

One of the staunch proponents of living in the present moment was also Winston Churchill: “It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.”

Henrik Edberg, the person behind The Positivity Blog, adds that when you start to look too far into the future then any task or project can seem shrouded in a cloud of unattainability.

As a self-defence mechanism you shut down because you become overwhelmed by the expectations placed on you and start aimlessly browsing the internet/watching telly instead.

On the other hand, by giving your everything to the here and now, your focus along with well-directed efforts will make your life blossom like a flower and both career and personal matters will fall into their own rightful places, in their own time and at their own pace.

About the author 

Katarina Matiasovska writes for Inspiring Interns, which helps career starters find the perfect job, in everything from sales jobs to marketing internships. To browse our graduate jobs London listings, visit our website.