Work-Life Balance: Can Women (Or Men) Really Have It All?

We hear the phrase “work-life balance” rather frequently these days, and it provokes notions that people can have it all, without the difficult choice between having a family or a career.

Marcus Roberts, author of Mirador Wealth’s post on work-life balance, admits that the idea often seems overwhelming.

“Unfortunately, while everyone seeks balance, actually achieving it can seem a formidable, if not impossible goal.”

Elaine L. Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, sat down with former CEO of WWE Linda McMahon on her show Women Can Have It All at Sacred Heart University earlier this week. The Fairfield Daily Voice stated that the two prominent professionals shared their opinions on the work-life balance theory and their respective experiences both in the workplace and with family life.

Chao served as labor secretary from 2001 to 2009. According to News Times, she says women should grab their work-life balance plans and redefine what it means to them to have it all in life.

“Having it all means doing what you want and defining for yourself what fulfillment is what success is.”

The two women met several years ago at a political event, and McMahon’s place as CEO and co-founder within the wrestling industry impressed Chao.

“She is a woman CEO in such a male-dominated business.”

They also each have ties related to the work-life balance concept at SHU. McMahon is a donor at, as well as the vice chairperson of the university’s board of trustees, the founder and CEO of the campus’ Women’s Leadership LIVE program, and one of the school’s major donors. Chao received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Sacred Heart.

Chao’s resume has its own impressive points. She is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, although her career dominated her life until their wedding just before her 40th birthday. She was also the CEO of United Way of America, deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation and director of the Peace Corps before her years as Secretary of Labor.

“Women Can Have it All” deals in-depth with women who practice the work-life balance to better manage their careers with their personal and/or family time. McMahon interviews women all over the world with leadership positions in many fields and industries. The primary focus relates to women in the workplace with subjects such as changing careers and management. SHU’s Jack Welch College of Business sponsors it.

McMahon believes that if a woman wants both a career and a family, with the proper work-life balance in her life, it is possible.

“[The two decisions] are no longer mutually exclusive.”

Chao agrees with her peer. She stresses the crucial need for figuring out what priorities people have in their lives and arranging them in an order conducive to reaching set goals. She gives her confidence the credit for taking her career to the heights it has reached.

“Life is an obstacle — you just need to get on with it…If I actually thought I couldn’t make it in this world, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning.”

Marcus Roberts offers a solid piece of advice, no matter which route you choose.

“Ultimately, you only have one life to live, so do what is right for you.”

He reminds people that we each have different ideas of the ideal work-life balance, and that our ideals could change with time as our career directions shift and the needs for our families change. He also advises consulting with professionals and evaluating your family’s or your own personal budgets and needs before implementing or changing your work-life balance plans.

[Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

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