Balance Requires Change ~ Are You Up For It?
Over the years I have heard experts say balance is not achievable. I believe it is, although it may be different than what you think.
I think balance starts on the inside: more of a feeling and state of being.
I believe balance is determined by your state of mind. It is more about how you handle what is in front of you instead of how much you have in front of you.
I feel balance is not the same for everyone, so don’t let anyone tell you your balance, isn’t balance.
Two Ways to Look At Balance
To achieve balance in your life, understanding what it means for you is important.
One definition of balance is that it creates a condition in which different elements are in equal proportion. That can be interpreted as spending equal amounts of time in all areas of your life. If you subscribe to this, balance may always seem out of reach.
Another definition of balance is comparing the value of one thing with another. This can be seen as taking the time to evaluate what is most important to you now and how you would prefer to spend your time or what makes the most sense.
It is not about packing everything in and pushing to get more done. If this is a tendency you have, you may be showing up at lunch with colleagues or dinner with friends focused on your phone instead of the conversation and who you are with. You are possibly missing out on the balance you crave along with having your brand reputation take a hit.
When you don’t have balance you may find it helpful to ask yourself these questions…
When you don’t have balance in your life, what do you feel is missing? Is it fun, getting help, exercise, quality time with friends, getting away for a long weekend….what is missing for you?
In the attempt to create balance, what are you really craving? Is it alone time, additional help or support, time to read, travel, a night out, getting back to doing something you love, chunks of uninterrupted time to complete tasks, learning something new…what are you craving?
When balance is an issue in your life where are you focused? Is it the uncertainty of getting things done, the quantity of what there is to do, a change in routine, the frustration of doing one more thing, how anxious you feel…where are you focused?
When you feel out of balance most likely you are allowing your circumstance or environment to take control, instead of you managing what is happening in your environment. It is time to know what you want and make a more conscious effort to create it.
Maybe a sibling looks after your aging parent for a weekend. Maybe you ask for the help you need instead of doing it yourself, at work or at home. Maybe you hire someone to allow for some time to recharge. There is always a solution.
Five Key Practices
To empower yourself in bringing balance into your life here are five proven practices that leaders have implemented to maintain the balance that works for them in their lives.
#1 Put Yourself First
You are at the top of your list. It is not selfish ~ it is essential! Identify the things that fill you up and go do them. It doesn’t have to be big although it needs to recharge you. You need to fill yourself up first so you can be fully present and engaged with others.
When your laptop or phone is running low you charge it. When your car needs gas you don’t’ rationalize if it is a good idea to fill it up or not, you fill it up!
Create the same automatic response for yourself. When you feel out of sorts, irritable, tired, resentful, impatient ‘fill yourself up’ to create balance and do it regularly.
#2 Schedule What’s Important – Breaks Too!
If it is a priority to you, get it into your calendar. Block time for both the big things and the small things to see where it can work into your day; time for reading, time to complete tasks, meditation, exercise, date nights, planning/strategy think time, doctor appointments, family activities, meetings, and vacations.
To achieve a higher rate of follow-through you need to be specific with when you are doing what. Don’t just say you will workout three times a week or meditate every day. Decide what day, what time and mark it on your calendar. You can do it one day at a time, a week at a time or further out if it works for you.
This allows you to see what your days look like and provides you with a focus giving yourself a better chance of getting things done.
Honour all your commitments equally: the ones you make to others as well as the ones you make to yourself. Value yourself and balance will be in your reach.
#3 Engage In Your Passions
Do what lights you up! Find activities that utilize your key strengths (what comes easiest to you) and engage your passions to naturally raise your energy level and boost the fun factor in your life.
I once worked with a new leader who now had a team reporting to him. He was doing a good job but it was robbing him of his quality of life. He was doing the work although wasn’t utilizing his key strengths. Through conversations, it became apparent that the consultancy side of the business is what lit him up. Changing roles presented some challenges, although it was well worth it. He got his health back on track and zest for life.
Ever put in a long day and still feel like you have energy to spare? Review those days and identify what the activities you were doing that raised your energy and/or seemed totally effortless. Then be on the lookout for opportunities to do more of that! Balance is within your reach.
#4 Indulge In Positive Conversations Regularly
There are conversations that drain you and those that leave you feeling high. Positive conversations elevate our ability to build trust, connect, think more creatively, be more empathetic and collaborative. You feel good after indulging in positive conversations because it produces a feel-good hormone called oxytocin.
Oxytocin metabolizes more quickly in our bodies then cortisol (the stress hormone) so it is critical to our positive state of mind to seek multiple opportunities to have positive conversations throughout your day.
Balance is more probable when you have a positive charge and add laughter to the mix. You have things to do ~ it may as well be fun!
#5 Set Healthy Boundaries & Ask For What You Need
Healthy boundaries demonstrate respect and help to establish expectations. You teach people how to treat you by accepting their good or bad behaviour. To change how they treat you, you have to be willing to state what you need or what works better for you.
Listen up if you are a pleaser and stop extending yourself for those people you will never please. This often leads to feeling overworked, underappreciated and resentful. Instead start identifying what is important to you, ask for what you want and you may even need to get familiar with the word “no” or at the very least “not now”.
Set healthy boundaries knowing they are first for you. This will definitely contribute in a big way to creating the balance you desire in your life.
If you feel out of balance or have the desire to create an internal calm, review the questions above. Identify the one thing you have the greatest need to change or make better right now. Follow through on the five practices and repeat until it becomes a habit.
Did I miss something that you use to achieve balance? Which of the practices do you already follow that helps you in creating YOUR balance?
Balance starts with your state of mind, which influences your state of being. Balance, done your way, is essential to living your personal brand consistently.
Align yourself with what matters most to you. Live your brand fully expressed with intention and purpose to play bigger!
Are you interested in having a conversation to explore how you can define your personal brand and accelerate your growth as a leader, individually or as a team? Send an e-mail to book a complimentary 30-minute consultation.