Last week we discussed what I believe to be one of the most crucial points of living your best life which is quality over quantity and while reflecting on that idea something that kept coming to mind for me was balance. In discussing the idea of being careful of what we say yes to, I believe it is important to touch on how to find and/or create balance within your life. Our lives are meant to be dynamic so there are guaranteed to be many components that make up who we are. Work obviously dominates a large portion of our waking hours in terms of time but work can’t be all that we do. So how do we learn to effectively allocate time to other things that make our life full and provide that ever so needed sense of balance.
Balance is defined as a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. So if we already know time isn’t on our side that means it is once again its QUALITY that is going to level the playing field. How many times have you had the feeling that you are simply working too much or lacking time for the things in life that you really want to do? As much as I hate to admit it, it happens. We’re human. This is where balance comes into play. Whether it is work- life, work– school, finding time for certain hobbies or activities, managing different groups of friends, volunteer opportunities, etc. it is imperative that we figure out a way to carve out time, feed, and nurture all the things that we desire and believe will make our lives better.
Choosing to leave the corporate world and start working for myself was a huge challenge I took on not too long ago. I knew it was going to require a lot of my time and energy potentially taking away from some of the “fun” or social things I liked to do. You’ve heard the stories about people going onto business for themselves and how success can only be reached if you commit yourself 24/7 to the cause. While I absolutely love what I do, is it really all that healthy to submerge yourself in an idea so deep that it becomes you? I knew that I was willing to give my new endeavors all that I had but I also knew there were several elements in my life that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice, such as friendship, exercise, family time, etc…. because in the long run I knew it would cost me exponentially much more if I lost those things in terms of peace of mind than any potential dollar amount my business would bring in. The same goes for those of you still in the corporate world. Pulling those 12 hour days proving that no one person is more dedicated. What is truly the opportunity cost here? Of course I believe in the idea and value of a strong work ethic and know that it is what separates great leaders from the rest but I also believe creating balance within every aspect of your life is the only way to truly succeed.
It’s no secret that I like to exercise and it has over time become one of the biggest non-negotiable elements within my schedule. I remember about a month or so ago someone asked me how my weekend was and I said relaxing in contrast to their response which was busy and somewhat stressful. They then expressed curiosity around what made it so relaxing for me considering I too, like them, was an entrepreneur trying to grow and build a successful business from the ground up. I hadn't given it much thought before that but it was during that brief conversation that I realized the true weight and benefit of carving out time for myself.
For example, regardless of what my Friday night looks like I have a non- negotiable standing appointment to go for a run every Saturday morning. Aside from being something I truly enjoy, it also serves the purpose in setting the tone for the rest of my weekend. It gives me time to reflect on the previous week and in a way reset. The ability to shed some of the baggage and weight I may have picked up and time to let go and get clear again. People often ask me isn’t it boring or what do you think about when you run and my answer most of the time is absolutely nothing and I think that’s why it works. During this time I am without worry, stress and with an increased quality of life and the value this time gives me is worth its weight in gold.
This is just one example of the many effective ways I have learned to create and build balance in my life. It’s become one of the best habits I have created and can’t imagine breaking it.
This week I challenge you to start thinking about ways in which you can find or create balance in your own life. Start by reflecting on some of the activities you’ve pushed to the side for one reason or another? Perhaps due to the lack of time or money, or the idea that you aren’t creative enough, strong enough, etc… you know those self- limiting beliefs we discussed a few weeks back. Imagine that they didn’t exist and were not a factor in the decision making process. What would bring balance and clarity to your life? Perhaps it’s an exercise regime or a night out with friends. A standing weekly date night with your significant other or your children. A museum membership. Walking to work instead of taking public transportation. Going to bed earlier and getting a few extra hours of sleep. Etc. Next, give value to each element. What impact would said action or activity have on your life? Is there an enhanced level of quality that it manifests? Or does it just add more stress and chaos to the picture? For those things that add stress and chaos, scrap them for now. You can always revisit them at a later date. Remember the point of all the work we do is to make your life easier. For those things that you find value in start to look for places where you might incorporate them into your schedule. Take it slow and implement one thing at a time finding success before you take on anything else.
Remember it’s the value of the action that’s most important here.
There is an old saying that you make time to do the things that you want to do. So get to work designing a life that is full and one that you want to live.