I’ve heard people say, ‘it is important to have balance in your life.’ I’ve also heard some people say, ‘you have to learn how to create balance in your business.’ Recently I’ve heard, ‘there is no such thing as balance.’ Wow, so which is it? Is it important, do we need it, or does it even exist? Balance is a tricky word when it comes to non-physical concepts.
When we think of balance we often conjure a vision of two objects equally weighted or a person standing on one foot.
“A state of equilibrium; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.”1
But in business and life it often means putting up with the things we don’t like so we can have enough time to do what we love. For example working to get 2-weeks vacation. The problem is that doing the negative to have the positive is not balance. Doing what is equally weighted throughout your life is.
When we say we are working towards balance we forget that it means every day, all day long, not just after the work is done. It is not putting in three 12 hour days so we can go to our kids play at school. It is not getting 90 ‘no’s’ to hear 10 ‘yes’s’ in our sales calls. So if that is not it then what is it?
So how do we add this to our lives and our businesses? We crave stability and yet we seek change. We want calm and achievable and yet we engage in risks that require a long learning curve and a huge investment in energy.
The key I feel has three parts:
1. Know Your Extremes
When are you pathologically happy? You know… like being in love. That painful ache of love that drives you to do things you would not normally do and keeps you awake at night. It brings you to tears for fear of losing it and makes you pace in anticipation of your next dose of it.
When are you depressed, angry, overwhelmed and feeling out of control? These are the times that paralyze our actions and stop us from doing what needs to get done.
2. Know Your Ohm
Spend a little time to capture a list of times when you were happiest – when you were most calm – when you felt at peace with your world, your relationships, and your life. It should be a place that makes you smile and fills your heart with a warm remembrance of something worth repeating. It took no effort to achieve it and no payment to experience. It just was a place and time that gave to you exactly what you needed. Understanding what you see as your place of bliss will help you understand your ‘middle way’.
3. Understand Your Why
This may take longer to identify, but anything you start with will be better than having no ‘why’. Try using these questions to help you unearth this truth for you.
- Why do you love working with the people you work with?
- Why do you love helping the clients you get to help?
- What about your product or service gets you excited?
- What about what you do makes you happy to get out of bed in the morning?
- How do you feel you are able to affect change in your client, community, country, world?
Now try these three suggestions:
- If you know when you are at your extremes (out of your ‘middle way’) you are not balanced and your family, clients, and friends will be able to sense it. Ask others if they think you seem at peace with your business right now.
- If you find yourself fighting for every minute of happiness and you really are not present when you get those moments of respite, then you are not in your ‘middle way’. Look for times without extremes.
- If you cannot answer the questions to why you are doing what you do, you may be living someone else’s dream. Think of who else you might be living your actions as and then ask the questions again as if you are them. See if you can answer the ‘Why’ as someone else. It is very hard to be your most amazing self and add value to others when you don’t know why you are doing what you do.
Use these tips to help you stay in a place of calm, where you can regenerate your energy easily, add value to others, and feel happy about the life you have chosen to lead. You will be more productive, your days and your duties will feel lighter, and you will be present for the times you are not working in your business. Think of how your kids will respond when they know their mom or dad is truly able to spend a day with them not worried they are missing out on something else. Imagine how you will feel when you know you have not missed out on something because you have time to do all that needs to get done.