The problem with striving for BALANCE


I hear this a lot.​​​​

"I want MORE balance in my life."

"I have so much to do but if only I could create more balance, I'd get more done." or "If I had more balance, I would feel better."

People go crazy over striving for BALANCE.

I don't recommend it. The problem I see with desperately striving for balance is that it has us feeling worse, rather than better. For most, it seems like an unattainable goal. It makes us feel inadequate when we don't have it. It makes us think we are failing at life especially when the life balance wheel seems 'wonky'.

The more we strive for balance, the more we get it wrong. When one area of our life is in order, inevitably, there is another that is 'out of balance'. We feel as if we are always behind on something.

It just doesn't seem like a useful concept.

The other problem I see when we desperately strive for balance is that we think it has to do with attaining something externally to level out what seems out of balance internally in our lives. When we desperately strive for balance, we forget to stay present and accept the messy parts of life. The tendency is to assume or hope that we'll feel good once we're 'balanced'.

We want to be able to look at the life wheel and be at a perfect 10 all the way around. What we may have instead is a great career but not enough time with the family. Nice things but lots of credit card debt. Financial security but unhealthy relationships.

It seems to me that the focus should be on creating 'internal' balance first. And for that you need to notice what you are giving attention to in your life and what your intention really is.

If the wheel of life seems a little wonky, it doesn’t have to be a negative.

Just notice what you’re giving your attention to and notice if that is aligned with your intention. All the results we want (more time, more money, more opportunities, better health, great relationships, freedom), must first be created within by answering the questions, what do I really want and why do I want it? Why do we organize our lives the way we do? How are we choosing to prioritize the content of our lives? Are our activities aligned with our intentions or are we merely surviving? Notice that when they are aligned, your life wheel isn’t always a perfect circle that’s evenly balanced.

Being able to recognize that the results we want in our lives, whether career, health related, finances or other, takes work, is useful. If we want those things, we must embrace the not-so-balanced nature of it all. You take calls on weekends, you order take out, you wait to remodel the house, you create a budget, you miss a game or two, you delay gratification. You do that because your attention is aligned with your intention.

That's what I call life.

If you're going to strive for something, strive for alignment of your attention and intention. Strive for commitment. Strive for your speaking, intentions and actions to be fully integrated. If you practice this, next time you miss your kid's soccer game, you won't wallow in guilt (and rub it all over your kid). You'll know it was deliberate because you made a conscious choice. Or it could be the opposite of that, you delay career options because you're aligned and intentional about raising your family. The more you are aligned and get exactly what you want out of life, the more you get to experience balance. It doesn't always look that way on the outside. But it will inside.

The rest is just life happening.

The Stepford idea of perfection, only belongs in the movies. Life is messy and often out of balance. 

I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be. Don't let that be your guide. 

Your thoughts?

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