Balance takes place in the midst of action.
Creating and maintaining work-life balance is unique for each of us and requires an ongoing commitment to life-giving choices that generate fulfillment and joy. Like walking an uneven pathway that requires the careful consideration of each footstep – as we choose how to expend our precious time and energy moment by moment – we are either moving toward a greater sense of balance and alignment or away from it.
“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” ~ Rumi
Women have been talking about work-life balance for decades and are constantly seeking to find it between the demands of work and the priorities of their day-to-day lives. Men are starting to participate in the balance conversation as well as described by Rachel Feintzeig’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Male CEO’s Tell Us Their Work-Life Rules. Even men are now questioning the traditional divides between their professional lives and their personal wellbeing. Fundamentally, as humans, balance is essential to our overall well-being, fulfillment, and ability to consistently perform at the highest levels. Continuing to churn through life as it swirls around us without being mindful of the importance of balance often leads to increased stress, unhappiness and burn out.
For years, I tried to achieve a fixed state of balance by keeping life and work compartmentalized. My assumption was that if I nurtured each compartment with equal amounts of attention, my life would grow like a well-tended garden – orderly, in rows, with no plant creeping into a neighboring section, and certainly no weeds to clutter my well-planned space. My discovery has been that when life and work are interconnected, fluid and sometimes a bit disorderly, I feel the most alive, creative and whole.
It took the introduction of a visual “wheel of life” by my life coach for me to see with clarity the interconnections of all aspects of my life. This tool revealed a clear picture of what was creating balance in my life, what wasn’t, and where I needed to make intentional choices about my priorities. The lines drawn on this simple printed wheel helped me define balance in the way that best serves me. Using that definition as a guide, I have truly committed to making conscious choices that move me toward a greater sense of balance each day.
When I am being the best version of myself, I move toward balance gracefully and playfully – constantly adjusting and assessing with a sense of curiosity, pushing myself to stretch and try something new. Sometimes losing balance along the way, yet being gentle with myself as I refocus on making choices that reflect my true priorities. Rarely do I achieve a perfect state balance, but as I make choices that get me closer to my definition of balance and keep me there for longer periods of time, my energy and creativity surge.
Balance is a dynamic, rich state of being that requires continual monitoring and careful tuning as priorities change.
7 steps for incorporating conscious choice into your balance journey:
- Get perspective by assessing the various components of your life using a wheel of life that’s provided in my Self-Directed Guide to Creating Work-Life Balance. (note, the password for the guide is “balance”)
- Identify your highest priorities and practice saying “no” to the requests and distractions that aren’t aligned with your highest priorities.
- Heed the warning signs of stress and burn out such as frequent illness, irritability, and fatigue and practice self care.
- Take action by making small shifts that create more time for the things that bring you joy and move you toward a greater sense of balance.
- Notice the impact by pausing and reflecting on the effects of the action you took.
- Make time to renew and refresh regularly – and without guilt: take short a walk, read for pleasure, meditate, or spend a few moments in nature.
- Continue to refine and adjust your unique approach to achieving balance. It’s a never ending yet rewarding journey…
“Life is a balance between what we can control
and what we cannot.
I am learning to live between effort and surrender.”
Intentionally cultivating balance in your life will create powerful results. You will find yourself in an expansive and free-flowing, highly energetic state doing the things that bring you the greatest joy – and living life well!
Let’s grow together…
Access my Self-Directed Guide to Creating Work-Life Balance using the password “balance”.
How do you create and maintain balance? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.