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WNC Business

Seeking Work-Life Harmony

Apr 10, 2024 02:40PM ● By Randee Brown

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s WomanUP initiative supports women in business while focusing on connectivity, support, and inspiration. Annually, WomanUP events include two main workshops, the WomanUP In Action series, and the WomanUP Awards ceremony each November.

The topic of the Spring 2024 WomanUP Workshop was Seeking Work-Life Harmony featuring speaker Meredith Ellison, co-founder of Quility. She discussed the importance of moving from a concept of work-life balance to work-life harmony, and how the idea can shift how women approach professional and personal lives. 

When Ellison and her husband learned they were going to become parents, they made an intentional decision to build their own business so they could be on a similar rhythm and schedule while raising their children. As business owners do, they ended up working in many aspects that were originally unexpected. There was an ‘aha’ moment that allowed Ellison to contemplate what really fills her cup and hire out some of the needs of her company and spend more time caring for her family.

During a particularly challenging year, Ellison worked with a purpose guide facilitator to help her identify what aligned as the purpose her work. One of her insights was to discover what she really wants to say “yes” to in order to feel feel confident when she says “no.” Committing to a six-month-long women’s circle hosted by someone she admires, she now lives with a conviction that we are not here for balance.

“Balance limits, balance confines, balance holds us back,” said Ellison. “We are here for harmony. We’re here for integration. We’re here for purpose.”

While balance is the end goal for many, it can often leave people confused, frustrated, depleted, or in a state of failure. Attempting to make each aspect of one’s life equal, in actuality, is not possible. Balance is often rooted in the concept of scarcity; a feeling of not having enough and that you have to divide things up. Allocating time and energy equally to specific activities equally and proportionally often makes people feel that time and energy are finite, but Ellison encourages women to reimagine that they, instead, are infinite. 

Myths of scarcity have taught many of us that there is not enough, and we hear that phrase repeated often — there’s not enough rain, not enough time, not enough of one thing or another, which eventually and unconsciously builds a core foundation of ‘I’m not enough’. Another myth is that more is always better, which often leads to hoarding and craving, and a third is ‘it’s just the way it is’, but each of us actually gets to choose the way it is. We are each responsible for our own energy.

Moving from the concepts of scarcity into the realms of possibility can allow individuals to see the opposite is not necessarily abundance, but sufficiency. Sufficiency is not a measure of any quantity, but rather, an experience of knowing there is enough; that our resources are deeper than perhaps originally imagined. With gratitude and attention, what we appreciate will expand.

Rather than focusing on achieving balance, harmony is what we should be striving for, according to Ellison. The definition of harmony is “a state of peaceful existence and agreement; a pleasing combination of related things.” Harmony must include health — physical, spiritual, emotional; home, family, and friends; career; and community connection, both locally and beyond. Intentional integration of each of these aspects will allow people to connect to their purpose.

Living in your purpose allows each of us to realize our individual power and encourages us to enter a flow state, likened to operating “in the zone;” when a person is fully immersed in energetic focus, total involvement, as well as enjoyment of the activity. This is the state of mind allowing the feeling of slowing down time and living in a high energetic state, debunking the myth that either of these are finite.

“Activating purpose elevates energy,” Ellison said. “This, my friends, is how we tap into the abundance of energy and life force. Connecting with our deep purpose and our authentic power honors the generations that came before us. We need to do this for the world, and we need to do it for future generations. We don’t need you to be modest; we need you to be powerful. We do that through humility, and we walk forward.”