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This is the Plan Until It’s Not: 5 Ways to Maintain Work-Life Balance AMIDST UNCERTAINTY

Updated: Oct 29, 2023


This is the mantra I repeat with my teams all the time (insert eye roll here). It's also what we realized while getting lost in a massive 7 acre corn maze this weekend!

Lost in the Maze of Uncertainty

We had a map. That was the plan. But nope - didn't matter 😂

What got us out of there was my daughter using her gut (certainly not my sense of direction). She looked for landmarks, listened to the sounds, and honestly - just kept us moving forward until we figured it out.

Are you feeling lost, stressed or constantly facing massive uncertainty and change? You are definitely not alone. Uncertainty for leaders is everywhere and it feels like change is happening faster and more drastically than ever. Those days of having neat, tidy 5-year business plans with all the answers are over. It can be frustrating, even a little scary - not unlike being lost in a Halloween maze! But, rest assured, there is a way out that doesn’t require us to throw our work-life balance out the window.

Strategies for Navigating work-life balance

Here are a few things I’ve found helpful while navigating intense change and uncertainty:

  1. Take Time to Think: when it feels like so much is coming at you, it can be easy to rush into decisions or start working at a frantic pace to match what it feels like is going on around you. Avoid this trap. While it may feel counter-productive at first, slowing down to just think for a minute is the best thing I’ve found to get myself settled. This is the time to shut it down and step away. You’ll find your stress drop and the ideas start to flow again.

  2. Talk to Your Team: sometimes you don’t have the answers right away - and that’s OK. In fact, that’s probably best! However, don’t wait until you have them to talk with your team. Remember their brains are scrambling just like yours but they likely don’t have all the information you do. Keep them in the conversation along the way. Be open and honest about where you are at and include them in brainstorming. They will appreciate your transparency and the opportunity to help.

  3. Stay Flexible and Adaptable: as leaders, change is simply part of the strategy sometimes. Things change, stuff happens and that's part of the deal. And it goes both ways - we need to be willing to adjust just too. That brilliant plan we set in place that, well, maybe it wasn't so brilliant after all. Be OK with changing direction because it’s now the right decision.

  4. Teach Your Team: you are likely used to big curveballs being thrown your way. Your team, however, may not do so much. Use the opportunity to help them grow. Your team's got strengths too, so let 'em flex those muscles! Encourage them to share ideas and let them take the lead on things. When your team feels like they're part of the solution, they will grow and adapt faster.

  5. Take Care of Your Team & Yourself: change and uncertainty are stressful. Don’t forget to make sure you are rebalancing workloads, time off, and prioritizing self-care for everyone. Talk about stress, provide tools to help, and check in with each other. And make sure to do the same for yourself. In change mode, you are shouldering a lot of the anxiety of others so make sure you have a way to offload it before burning out yourself!

Work-life balance
Work-life balance

Navigating the Leadership Maze

So, here's the deal: This is the plan until it's not – and that's perfectly fine because sometimes you've just got to be flexible to navigate the maze successfully. This is a journey, and these are the stories you will tell at the end - and frankly, the ones that make you better along the way.

Keeping work-life balance a priority when dealing with intense change and uncertainty will actually give you an edge to solve problems and reduce stress faster. Lean into it, let go a little and you’ll no doubt figure out how to lead the way.


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