What’s balance really about and do I really want it?
I have a lot of clients come to me who are looking for more ‘balance’ in their lives. It’s a word I hear a lot and I’m sure you do too. Yet the first thing I want to know is, well, what’s balance really about? Because for me balance can sometimes equal a plate of veges for dinner and a side of Maltesers. On other days balance is about having sufficient time at home and quality time with my partner. Other times balance means ME ME ME ME time! The point is, just yearning for something and not being able to clearly articulate what it is you want can be confusing for the brain.
My relationship with balance has been constantly evolving. I used to just think that if I left the office at 5pm then that would automatically equal balance. And yet I was still left feeling exhausted and anxious. That certainly didn’t feel like balance. Then I thought I had to empty my diary completely and say no to every social invite, because, well, the work stuff was ‘fixed’ so it was all the ‘other stuff’ that had to go. And then I just felt sad and disconnected because I wasn’t hanging out with my friends and loved ones. I could keep going. I’ve learnt over time (and lots of getting it wrong!) that balance to me is more about feeling fully refreshed and recharged. Balance is about doing the things I love completely whole-heartedly. So, if I’m saying yes to coffee with a friend, I’m ALL IN, no clock watching no email checking, ALL IN. Balance is also a flow. It’s not a ‘state’. I don’t just magically ‘get’ balance and then that’s it. I’m learning that it’s a grounding point to keep moving towards and to keep coming back to. For me balance can feel like lots of different things—it can feel peaceful, still, energising, funny, radiating, loving, confusing and frustrating at times. Most importantly, when I’m in balance I’m being ME. All of me. Open, honest, vulnerable and authentic.
What is your version of balance? Next time you catch yourself yearning for more ‘balance’ in your life, what is it specifically that you’re after? And how can you bring more of it into your life? Here are a few quick questions to ask yourself:
What is balance to me?
That is, not to anyone else you know, not to your boss, your sister, or that girl you met at networking that seems to have her life ‘totally together’. What does balance mean to you. How would you know when you ‘had it’? What would it look like, feel like, sound like? You want to be able to recognise it once it’s in front of you and truly appreciate it.
Why do I want it? What will it give me?
For what purpose am I seeking more holidays, less time at the office, more gym workouts, less projects (or whatever balance is to you). What’s your why? Our brains need to be motivated into action when we have a strong enough pull, a strong enough sense of achievement, or pleasure associated with a change.
What’s the one thing that would bring about the biggest difference to me right now?
If there was just one small thing I could do that would bring me more balance what would it be? Too often we expect far too much of ourselves and then immediately beat ourselves up when things don’t go to ‘plan’. Noticing that there are simple ways to bring more of those feelings into your life can be a powerful way to shift your subconscious patterns. Often we’re on autopilot mode which means we say “I want more balance” and then automatically respond with “But I can’t…because..”. Asking yourself what’s the one thing that would make the biggest change is a way to guide your subconscious mind down new pathways.