Balance is BS

April marks National Stress Awareness Month, opening an important conversation we often dodge.

The grind culture has us programmed: Be the first in, last out, and idolize the workaholics who’ve ditched life for the office, driving straight into burnout city.

In the past year alone, 84% of employees faced a mental health issue. 71% of working adults identified experiencing at least one stress symptom. Among younger generations, 68% of millennials and 81% of Gen Z workers have quit their jobs due to mental health concerns.

Think about Spider-Man’s suit turning black—that’s stress in disguise. Remember Peter Parker? That alien symbiote not only switched up his suit but also his vibe, messing with his mind and actions.

Rocket & Groot

Credit and Source: Dexerto and Marvel

That’s stress for you—wrecking our health, fogging our brains, and slamming the brakes on our output. Chasing the elusive work-life balance might just be a wild goose chase. What if real peace means blending our work and life, not splitting them apart?

Redefining Balance Through Integration

In my journey as a father and entrepreneur, I came to a harsh realization – the pursuit of work-life balance is bullsh*t. This epiphany led me to write my book, ‘Balance is Bullsh*t’, a raw and honest account of my struggles and triumphs.

Joshua's Book: Balance is Bullshit

Joshua B. Lee and his Book ‘Balance is Bullshit’

When my son came into my life, I made a conscious decision to be a working stay-at-home dad. I wanted to be present for him while still pursuing my career. I set up my office at home with the best intentions, always keeping my doors open to be accessible.

Joshua & son Jayden

Joshua B Lee and Son Jayden circa 2015

But as time passed, those open doors began to close, isolating me in a metaphorical coffin. I felt trapped, staring at the walls as my company continued to run without me. It wasn’t until a friend intervened and encouraged me to reclaim control of my life that I found the strength to make a change. This pivotal moment inspired me to share my story with others, to shatter the illusion of balance and embrace the messy reality of life.

‘Balance is Bullsh*t’ is not just a book, but a testament to the power of taking ownership of your journey and finding your own version of peace. April is Stress Awareness Month, it’s important to acknowledge the transformative power of blending work and personal life.

It’s not about juggling separate aspects of our lives, but rather integrating them to nurture our well-being. Instead of segregating our responsibilities, we can embrace their interconnectedness. When our work aligns with our passions, it becomes a source of energy rather than a drain. This blend busts the traditional work-life balance myth. By integrating instead of separating, we not only survive but thrive, transforming stress into an opportunity for growth and fulfillment.

The Entrepreneurial Stress Adventure: Handling the Highs and Lows

Being an entrepreneur is a wild ride, full of incredible highs from big wins and tough lows from the inevitable hurdles. There’s constant uncertainty, pressure to succeed, and sometimes the feeling of going at it solo, which can be heavy. I came to a pivotal crossroads in my life in my 30’s.

I was in the middle of a difficult divorce and every day I got up and just went through the motions, where it felt like my office was my coffin. From the outside I had a great so-called “lifestyle”. I had successful companies, but it was giving me zero fulfillment. So, I made the hardest decision of my life. I closed my companies and with less than $1000 to my name… I moved back in with my parents. That might seem like “rock bottom” but those decisions shaped the person I am today.

I had some remarkable realizations. I realized that in today’s 24/7 world of hustle, stress, and distraction, we often obsess about the needs of our ego to feel good. I discovered that all I wanted or needed was peace, happiness and real connection and support from the people around me.

Joshua working at home

My biggest pivot was mixing my work life with what I love doing.

While the companies I shut down were extremely lucrative, I learned that it was giving me more stress and dissatisfaction than I could ever imagine…money truly wasn’t everything.  My biggest pivot was mixing my work life with what I love doing—which is exactly what StandOut Authority has been about.

Your business isn’t just about making money, it’s part of your personal adventure. When your work reflects your true passions, those ups and downs become part of the bigger picture. You find strength in your mission, and suddenly, your passion is the engine driving you through any challenge.

It’s not about avoiding the tough times when you’re stressed out; it’s about being ready for them. It means when you hit a high, you ride that wave with everything you’ve got, and when you hit a low, you push through with determination. The journey is about growth, hitting every twist and turn with purpose, and remembering your entrepreneurial path is not just about your business’s success but also about your own personal development.

Leading with Heart: Rethinking How You Lead when Your Stressed

Leading comes with its own set of pressures. On the one hand, there’s the pressure to generate results; on the other, there’s the responsibility to nurture after your team. It’s a juggling act that can crank up the stress levels for anyone in charge. But what if we flipped the script on leadership?

Imagine leading with a heavy dose of empathy and keeping it real every step of the way. This isn’t about being soft; it’s about being smart. Showing your team that hitting targets doesn’t mean running ourselves ragged. It’s proving that taking care of our well-being is part of crushing our goals, not an obstacle to them. Empathetic leadership is essential in addressing mental health challenges at work, creating a supportive environment for employees.

A study by Catalyst Inc., a global non-profit organization, surveyed 899 employees in the U.S. and highlighted the impact of empathy in the workplace. It found that 86% of employees with empathetic senior leaders and 82% with empathetic managers reported better success integrating work and personal life.

Joshua & Rachel working together

Rachel and I Working

This kind of leadership is what Rachel B. Lee and I embody at StandOut Authority. We strive to create an environment where everyone feels safe to speak up about stress and tackle it head-on, together. It’s about building a team that’s not just productive but also genuinely connected and committed. When leaders lead with empathy, they light a fire under their teams in the best possible way. This shift can transform the workplace into a space where everyone thrives, not just survives.

Managing Stress at Work: LinkedIn Partners with Headspace App

Headspace and LinkedIn have joined forces to tackle the growing concern of mental health in the workplace, launching “Life Skills: Emotions at Work,” a series co-created with culture experts Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy.

Headspace National Stress Awareness Month

Joshua B Lee LinkedIn Headspace National Stress Awareness Month

This initiative responds to alarming statistics from Headspace’s Fifth Annual Workforce Attitudes Toward Mental Health Report revealing widespread workplace dread and hesitation around taking mental health days.

🔵 87% of survey respondents experienced dread at work at least once a month.

🔵 Almost three in five CEOs (59%) experienced dread at work at least once a week.

🔵 Only 21% of respondents to a poll on LinkedIn said they would not hesitate to take a “mental health day” off work.

The series, accessible through a two-month free Headspace app trial for LinkedIn members, consists of eight videos designed to transform work-related stress, like burnout and criticism, into opportunities for growth and resilience. This collaboration spotlights LinkedIn’s commitment to utilizing its platform for mental wellness.

As we navigate through National Stress Awareness Month, let’s remember that pursuing work-life balance is bullsh*t. Instead, let’s embrace the transformative power of integrating our work and personal lives. Your experiences can inspire change and offer new perspectives on tackling stress, share your stories and insights in the comments.

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