Simple Solutions to Everyday Balance
1. What is work-life balance?
Well, we certainly know what it isn’t! When your to-do list is as long as your arm, when you come home from work, open the refrigerator, and find the set of keys you lost that morning in the butter dish, when you’re thinking of sticking post-it notes on your children’s foreheads to remember their names, then you know you’re out of balance…way out of balance.
Let’s be honest. How many people do you know, including yourself, who are living a truly balanced life? Work-life balance is unique to every individual- it’s a matter of learning what truly nourishes you and what causes stress and chaos in your life. Balance is about discovering an awareness of what throws you off balance and learning skills that bring you back to your true self.
For example, is your lunch hour restorative, or are you running errands at lunch returning frazzled, continuing your day like a tornado? I urge my clients to notice what nourishes them; a call to a friend or a spouse, a short meditation or nap, maybe some exercise, or even a long leisurely meal. What feeds you?
Work-Life Balance is a deep understanding, that no matter what challenges we face in our everyday lives, we have the ability to experience life with a sense of power and balance.
2. Tell us the secret of work-life balance.
The secret to work-life balance is listening: listen deeply to your inner voice, listen to the people around you, listen to your environment. Listening gives you the information you need to make the choices that can restore balance and energy to your life.
I’ll never forget my client Mark: a handsome, intelligent, successful 57-year-old businessman. When I asked how long he had felt out of balance, he shrugged and said, “Oh, maybe a month.” But after questioning him further, I found that 4 years earlier he had had a heart attack, 2 years after that a battle with cancer, and 1 year later his marriage fell apart.
Clearly, Mark had stopped listening. Once he learned to listen to his life, he redefined success on his own terms and reclaimed a sense of balance, energy, and fulfillment.
We live in a culture fascinated with talk shows where people talk faster and louder that each other. The top television and radio shows in America consist of people yelling at each other. Nobody is listening. Our hectic world keeps us whirling. The true secret to Work-Life Balance is learning to listen to your inner voice, living from the inside- out.
3. How can I avoid getting out of balance in my life?
You can’t! It happens to the best of us. But you can develop practices that will warn you when you are out of balance and help you return to balance easily and effortlessly.
We innately know when we are out of balance. We have implanted detectors that go off like smoke alarms screaming to us, “red alert, red alert, out of balance.” But we have learned to turn a deaf ear to our inner alarms. We have unplugged our inner alarms. We have taken the batteries out, so can move faster and faster and faster, like a train running out of control on a track. Millions of us share this same experience.
I work with my clients to develop a personalized checklist to increase their awareness on a daily basis: “when do I start to raise my voice? When does my heart thump in my chest? When do I want to cry, scream, or eat a gallon of ice cream?”
They soon discover their own unique warning signs that their lives are getting out of balance. My clients often experience a great sense of relief when they finally realize they don’t have to hold up the earth anymore. And shortly after that they begin to experience more and more authentic happiness and a greater sense of purpose.
4. Many people fear the word “change”, as it is synonymous with “pain.”
What is the one thing we can do to allow change to happen easily?
“Change” is just another word for “living.” Life itself is change, from the moment of our conception to the moment we no longer exist. Our relationships, our bodies, our careers—all are in a state of change. Change itself doesn’t cause pain—the pain comes when we resist the natural ebb and flow of life. Change is your life’s purpose unfolding before you.
There are two faces of change that are quite different. One is the natural cycle of life that we have no control over, such as seasons, weather, illness, and death.
The second face of change is the power of choice that we can exercise daily to make small changes that can transform our lives.
How many people do you know that have stayed in suffocating relationships, dead end jobs, or are eternally imprisoned by their own fears because they fear change more than the freedom and power available to them? Change is an infinite possibility for your life.
5. What are three simple things we can do to achieve work-life balance?
Just remember A-C-E, “ace”: Awareness. Choice. Energy.
This 3 step process is simple, does not cost any money, does not require you to trek off to a distant land, does not mean you must search for a guru, and doesn’t take any more time out of your busy day. Its power lies in its simplicity.
A. Deepen your awareness through listening deeply and noticing two things: what throws you off balance, and what brings you calm and fulfillment. Many of my clients that I see at 4 pm, can’t
remember what they ate for breakfast or lunch that day. If they don’t look down at their clothes, many can’t remember what they wore to work that day. AWARENESS. Being mindful, present in your life.
C. Exercise the power of choice. Choose to release what drains you and embrace what truly nourishes you. When you begin to make life giving choices in your life, you will be able to make
many more decisions easily. Realizing your life is the consequences of your choices becomes very empowering.
E. You will reclaim the energy that is your natural birthright. Your life will become a powerful dynamic concentric circle. The more aware you become the more you become aware of your choices. The more you realize that your life is created by your choices the more real energy and power you will experience in your life.