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A constant discussion topic among every professional woman I know – and no small number of men – used to be work-life balance. We judged ourselves and each other harshly when it came to our skill in balancing. In our 20’s it was secondary; in our 30’s it was a conundrum; and in our 40’s we made whatever adjustments were necessary and lived with the consequences as our careers developed and families expanded.

Most of us took on the leadership, entrepreneurial and volunteer challenges our choices left us with and succeeded. Somehow, most of us are still married and no one’s kids have gone to the dark side (though I suppose there is still time left;)

We survived and so did our families. This discussion is now old news.

“Balance” is a Misnomer

I admit that juggling a rich family life and professionally rewarding career can be a strain, but I don’t think of it as a balancing act any more. It’s just life. We live life the way we live it, and it is the sum total of all the choices we make along the way – at work, at home, on the commute and on our time off. This is how we stay in our power, by making these choices consciously.

Balancing implies you can favor one over the other, weigh one more heavily than the other, do one well and muddle through the other. I don’t know anyone who consciously chooses to sacrifice their family for their work or vise versa – we all just make choices.

Here’s some free business coaching:

You Can Have It All… Just Not All At Once… Or Can You?

Define “it” and “all” appropriately and IT is ALL yours right now. Your choice.

Once More, Women Lead the Way

This whole discussion started when women took on the burden of two jobs, and yet within two generations, the professions of house-husband, full-time dad and daddy blogger pop up on my radar all the time. Younger generations of men and women are defining happiness and success differently than my generation. Men and women of all ages now struggle with work-life “balance”, until they stop and realize that it’s just life. Women led the way but men are quickly catching up to the blended opportunity of working and living. And in this blend, there is great potential for success.

Success can mean anything you choose to make it. And if you can define it, you can achieve it.

What does this have to do with Leadership?

Leadership is many things, and prioritization of resources, setting of intentions and modeling good character happen to top the list of both employment and family leadership. The day I became a true leader in my family and in my career was the day I accepted responsibility for every decision I make. My life has been far from balanced ever since, but it has been incredibly rewarding, successful and full of love.

Still struggling with the balance?

Look at your next choice as simply a choice about what is in front of you now. Make your choice and move on to the next one. Feeling out of balance? Redefine success and factor that into your next choice. And the next one.

Don’t think it’s possible with your particular set of choices? I say baloney.

What say you?

This post originally appeared on the Reclaiming Leadership blog. Check out my new self-service women’s leadership coaching website: InPowerCoaching.com.

Dana Theus