Is there such a thing? While I love the word balance, it just makes you feel peaceful and accomplished when it rolls off your tongue. Balance. Balanced Life. Life Work Balance. Unfortunately, nothing ever achieves absolute balance. Nothing.
Wait... but we like that word balance, it gives us something to strive for, something to aim at achieving. I get it, but if true balance doesn't exists, what if what appears to be a state of balance is really an act OF balancing.
Balance is often viewed as a noun, yet the act of balancing is more likely lived out as a verb. It's something we are constantly doing. It's never truly accomplished. Think of it as counterbalancing. When you give time or attention to one thing, another area of your life likely suffers, and thus enters the need to counterbalance, i.e. if you focus too much on work, personal life is out of whack, and vise versa. May we suggest to first:
- Consider whats truly important to you. Example: It's not worth becoming CEO if you lose your family in the process or don't have a life when you arrive at your desired position. While they seem important, money and position are not everything, that's for sure. Know whats important to you and why you pursue what you do. Check in every now and then and make sure it's worth it, and still what you want in life.
- Awareness is key. Really, personal awareness is key in ALL areas of our lives, but especially in this life-work balancing act. Be aware of everyone your decisions affect, and remember to not have too much imbalance for too long. Never go so far out that you can not come back safely, or stay gone for too long that there's nothing left when you return.
- Always pay back those you owe lost time to. Example: If you are focused on rising in ranks in your company and know it will affect family time - explain to those close to you, up front, the commitment you are making and why, and offer to make up lost time up when its complete - and this can't be an open ended promise that goes on for eternity. "Dad is working really hard at work on this project which means I will miss a few dinners with you guys, but it's temporary for the next 6 weeks and when Im finished, we will....... (you fill in the blank with something that will make the time up - it doesn't have to be anything elaborate, just something that shows those you love that they are important.) Keep your promise, for empty promises tend to do more damage than the time spent away while focused on the other areas.
According to the book "The one thing, the surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results," a balanced life is surely a myth.
Instead of assuming a balanced life is exactly what we should be seeking, what if we instead focused on something deeper and more meaningful like life purpose, meaning, gratitude, giving back, significance, to name a few, instead of achieving a rank or title - the latter are true components of a successful life, and yes, they still will require time, effort and some counterbalancing on your behalf.
So know and understand what's important to you and why. Some things are worth the effort and some things, maybe not? When you do put in the time to pursue your dreams or goals, make it worthwhile, focus in and be productive and then get to counterbalancing that lovely life of yours.