Have you ever noticed how people are half full or half empty, happy or sad, rich or poor, full or hungry or see life as either black or white? We live in a multi-coloured and multi-faceted world with an abundance of choice, yet for most of us we seem to default to looking at life as being one side of the scales or the other. Searching for the middle ground or balance in our lives is something that we yearn for especially when the scales are tipped firmly to one side. If you’ve ever found yourself at one end of your own personal extremes, you’ll also be familiar with the experience of how quickly it can tilt to the other end if you don’t take control.
Finding balance is something that most people strive for, including me. You only have to consider the latest HBR article on how ‘great performers make their personal lives a priority’ to remember that work life balance is the inclusion of family, community and self, all alongside work. The concept of life being a see-saw, either up or down, can be fun at first and almost exhilarating, but after a while it can make us feel quite queasy. Yet the key to finding balance is not the science of equilibrium, but the art of clearly defining where your feet are planted in at either side of your scales.
Let me share with you one of my current balancing acts – creating me time vs. creating a growing business. It’s always interesting to reflect on how these balancing positions were created in the first place, sometimes originating from our own belief system and values or inherited over time from others. Part of successful balancing is to not be weighed down by unnecessary baggage from the past but to create a new reality that best fits the situation today and under the present circumstance. Finding balance in almost every decision and area of our life can be found by following these 3 simple steps.
Simple Balancing Steps:
1. Get to know the two ends of the scale – what ‘me time’ is and what ‘growing a business is’.
2. Let go of ideas, beliefs or truisms that make you feel heavy and literally weighed down – for me I can feel in the pit of my stomach statements that are heavy to carry, like ‘being self-employed is hard work’.
3. Consider a middle option – for me it would be ‘creative time’.
Then simply start the steps all over again by looking at the extremes of your middle option (creative time), the truisms around it and finding another middle option. Keep on going until you reach a point where your feet feel grounded, your head no longer giddy and you feel ready to take the next step forward.
4. Now choose one small step towards balance today, choose an action, set a time limit and even tell someone about it – my action would be pre-blocking time in my diary where I can be creative and to not make up rules about what ‘creative’ is..
Finding balance in our lives is an ongoing commitment to ourselves and those around us, and next time you find yourself at the dipped end of the see-saw you can decide how to find your own centre of balance.