The Work/Life “Balance” Series Part II: The “B Word”

Yesterday I shared with you one of the darker sides to the story of how I got to where I am today. I hope that it encouraged you to know that we are ALL just figuring this thing out as we go and making lots of mistakes along the way.

 

My life looks VERY different than it did ten years ago when I was sitting in that small corner of our guestroom tired, overwhelmed and resentful holding a new baby in my left arm while I tried to respond to work e-mails with my right. 

 

For the next few days, we are going to walk through some of the frameworks that I have learned in 10 years of fighting for both a thriving life and business.

 

But first, we need to address the elephant in the room. The “B” word.

 

I’m talking about BALANCE

 

It seems to have become trendy today for business owners to say that they “don’t believe in balance” or that “there is no such thing as balance” - essentially that “balance” doesn’t and can’t possibly exist. 

 

I am pretty sure I have said that phrase myself at some point. I think to a certain extent it has just become a popular stance to take publicly, whether it's because of our own personal struggle with finding balance or if it’s because we haven't really defined our terms when we talk about the idea of balance.

 

Maybe what they are brushing up against is the idea of balance as “An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.”(English Dictionary). The idea here is that we find a way to give ourselves equally, all the time, in exact proportion to work and marriage and parenting and health and friendships and so on.

 

No thank you! These don’t all have equal weight in my heart let alone on my calendar!

 

But there is another equally valid definition of balance that works so much better when we are talking about work and life. 

 

It reads, “a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions enabling it to remain upright and steady.”(also, English Dictionary).

 

Here, we can figure out the correct weight that each area of life needs to be given in order for it to remain upright and steady...in other words...for it to thrive both as an individual element and as a whole structure

 

Think the picture on the right vs the picture on the left.

 

This is the balance that I think is TOTALLY possible and the most freeing part about it is that the exact proportions you assign to each element of life is relative to YOU.

YOUR individual needs and the needs of YOUR family, YOUR season of life, YOUR capacity, and YOUR interests.

 

Not hers. YOURS.

 

Hopefully, I have convinced you that balance IS possible and that your balance is going to look different than anyone else’s balance.  The goal then is that each individual part (work, marriage, health) as well as the whole structure (your life holistically) can remain upright and steady - can THRIVE.

 

Let’s try something.

 

ASSIGNMENT: I want you to pull out a sheet of paper - I’ll wait!

We also created an easy to follow template for you to print. Just click the button below for access.

ADD_THIS_TEXT

 

I want you to start by spreading these 7 words out on your page Health, Friendships, Marriage (if applicable), Family, Work, Spiritual Life, and Rest/Leisure.

 

Next, I want you to number them from 1-7 with 7 being most important to you and 1 being the least important to you.  Essentially, we are prioritizing these seven areas of life in order of importance to you.

 

(And yes, I realize that all 7 areas are important to you. The key here is to have the maturity and clarity to rate them in ORDER of importance to you. This might take some thought).

 

Finally, I want you to draw a circle around each word that corresponds to the amount of time and attention that you currently give each of these things. (Lots of time = big circle, little bit of time = small circle)

 

If it gets a small amount of your time and attention then it should be circled tightly, more of your time and attention gets a big broad circle and so on in proportion to how things are currently.

It could look something like this:

 

Stop and assess: Are there discrepancies between how important something is to you and how much of yourself you give to it?  

 

Our goal is that by the end of this series you have put certain measures in place so that the “weight” or time/effort/attention you give to things matches the “weight” or level of priority that these things hold in your heart and that when taken all together, the result is a life that is stable and steady without risk of toppling over.

 

Did you have any aha-moments while completing this exercise? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

 

Bonus assignment: Talk through this with your spouse, roommate, closest friend and let THEM be honest about how much weight you are giving each area.  Just listen and resist the need to be defensive. You have nothing to prove - we are all growing here, and growth starts with honesty. This is where change begins - and sticks.

 

Tomorrow we start the heavy lifting. I’m excited for you!

 

Until then,

 

Shay


2 comments


  • Bethany

    My ah-ha was that while my marriage is my biggest priority mentally, I’m not actually giving it the highest physical priority in showing my husband that it is. Thank you for this!


  • Nicolette Maries Wilson

    This is an AWESOME exercise! I want to share this on my blog! I had a few Ah-ha moments for sure!


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