BALANCE - IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE?
The word balance is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as follows:
: the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall
: the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling
: a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance
We all talk about it. People struggle to achieve work and home life balance. We balance our roles and responsibilities. There are thousands of books and articles on the subject, but what really does it look like to be balanced and is it even in our best interest to strive for it?
My simple answer is HELL NO! Trying to become a “balanced” person is, in reality, trying to take on many roles and doing them all in a mediocre to, at best, average kind of way.
Hear me out now. I’m not saying that you can’t be great at several different things, but what I am saying is that to be really successful at one thing you’re probably going to be out of balance for a while. Look at any person who is successful at something. Chances are they are (or at least at some point were) obsessed with becoming successful at whatever their craft is.
We live in world full of people doing things in a mediocre way. We all exchange with these type of people on a daily basis. People working at a job they hate, but doing nothing to change because then what could they complain about?
Then there are also the people who actually enjoy what they do, but do it in a very average way because they have too many roles and responsibilities. These are the “YES” people of the world. I myself have fallen into this category most of my life. If this is you it’s time to take a brief inventory of your current roles and responsibilities and how much energy you put into each.
One tool I’ve used to help me document this is called The Wheel of Life. You can find several websites that have printable wheels with the instructions. Here is just one of the many out there.
As you can see the goal here is to create a wheel that is balanced. The major problem with this – first, if you have completed a perfect circle, chances are that you are operating at a very average level in all areas. You can’t possibly have a circle with all 10’s. Second, it doesn’t take into consideration the priority of each area in relation to your personal goals and desires.
My personal suggestion is to think through the different roles or areas of focus and prioritize them. I’ll use myself as an example. I personally like to prioritize by areas of focus rather than a specific role.
My areas of focus:
- Family (Husband & Kids)
- Family (Extended)
- Career/Business Building
- Home/Physical Environment
Next use this list and evaluate how much time/energy you are spending in each area. Rank each of these areas in order of importance to you. Hopefully what you discover is that your highest priority areas are where you are already spending the majority of your energy and time. If not, you now have a reference point to start evaluating from.
You may find it hard to prioritize the many roles you have, and you’ll likely discover that 6 months from now your list will look totally different! That’s ok! Life is full of change, so it’s important to keep evaluating as we continue on this journey called life!
One thing to note: There are no right or wrong answers! You are on a personal journey. This tool shouldn’t be used to help you get your life in perfect balance necessarily. It also shouldn’t bring feelings of guilt or regret. This is a tool helping to guide you to better knowing what is important to you and where you spend your energy.