Balance is a funny thing. Everyone wants it, but no one seems to know how to get it. Perhaps we are missing the point somewhere along the way.
Like success, everyone has their own idea of what balance means . But the only interpretation that really matters for achieving equilibrium is your own.
Generation X is a leader when it comes to work-life balance. It is the first generation to put themselves and their personal lives before their job and career. This was a bold move because many Gen Xers were raised by Baby Boomers who have a high regard for putting work first.
Generation X came of age watching their parents work hard, but that was before the dawn of the Information Age. Do the same rules apply? What do we want to model for our children? Do we want them to fight the same battle we fight to balance ourselves between home and office?
If we want to stop running against the clock, we need to make peace with it and not feel guilty for not working every minute.
By definition, the word balance means a stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis.
I think the main issue for many of us is that our vertical axis is off kilter because we are not firmly rooted in who we are, and as a result we lose touch with ourselves and what is important to us.
Our values represent who we are as our most authentic selves. Everything we do should support our efforts to be authentic. When our lives are not aligned with our values we feel internal stress and conflict, in short out of balance.
In my own life, when enough was enough, and I had tried every proverbial means there was to acquire balance, surrendering to my values is what worked.
My two step process was to first identify my top 5 values, which are spirituality, integrity, relationships, creativity and vitality. Next, I raised my level of awareness by filtering my decisions through my values. I still use these strategies today.
Before anything goes on my calendar it has to fall within one of my top 5 values. Early on, I would even color code my calendar entries according to my values so I could see how I was allocating my time and energy. Any time I feel internal stress or conflict, my first question to myself is which value am I in conflict with. Conversely, when I feel great joy, I ask myself which value I am in alignment with.
Just like physical balance, some days are better than others. Practice and the rest will come.
If you need help identifying your values visit https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_85.htm