Creating Balance Between Your “Two Worlds”
This month I would like to address the topic of life balance. Life balance is a bit of a misnomer. It seems from the title that we expect to have life balance in every area of our lives, moment by moment. The reality of a well-balanced life is usually realized and achieved in very small incremental steps. So, life balance is achieved over a period of time – weeks, months or longer.
Now I must confess that I have lived much of my life really out of balance. During the last few years at my corporate job, I let work control every aspect of my day. I was working crazy hours, and when I was home with the family, I really wasn’t there because my mind and thoughts were still on the things happening at work. I knew that my life was out of balance, but I was in such a rat race over work, I didn’t realize that I had become totally unaware and lost. I was simply reacting to everything that came at me – day after day, moment after moment.
It’s hard to explain, but for some reason we are often fortunate to receive a timely wake-up call. I think of it as a blessing even though these reminders are usually difficult at the time. My big wake-up call came when my oldest daughter started having issues with sensory processing disorder. I will not to go into all the details, but let’s just say everyone needs a wake-up call, and that was mine.
I have lived the craziness of trying to do it all. It seems that we are all living in a world that is constantly moving at high speed. Our normal response to the craziness is to mindlessly react to it. I find that most who feel out of balance find that their thinking is exclusively driven by a single area of life, and it’s usually work. In our culture we have a tendency to allow our work to occupy all physical time and mental capacity. Years ago, there was some research conducted on work-life balance by a scientist named Parkinson. From his work came what we now call “Parkinson’s Law.” Parkinson concluded his study with this: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Think about that for a second. If you have given no thought or consideration to every area of your life, then you have given work no time limits. Work will then expand to fill the void that you have left open for it. In the absence of planning in every area of your life, you have opened the door for work to dominate your life. It really doesn’t have to be that way.
Life balance begins with awareness. This is why you have a “Life Balance Analysis” in your Achievement PlannerTM. This analysis allows you to think through all six areas of your life and rate each area with a score of 1-10. That is based on your level of satisfaction in each specific area of your life. The goal is for your overall score to be a seven or higher. Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t there yet. Take time to plan one small thing to do in one area that was not at the level you wanted. You are now aware of the overall balance in your life. Awareness creates change because it leads to new choices.
Life Balance is all about balancing your outer world with your inner world. Your outer world is represented by your everyday behaviors and habits. Your outer world includes things like work, family, housework, exercising, friends, social media, vacations, church, cooking, etc. Your inner world is composed of your thoughts and feelings, both conscious and subconscious. So, your outer world focuses on what you are doing, and your inner world is focused on who you are being. For most of us, our outer world seems to demand all of our attention, and that feels so demanding that we never seem to have time to focus on our inner world. So, in order to find balance in your life, you must focus on both.
That is why the Next Level Achievement SystemTM is so important. It will help you become more effective in all areas of your outer world. It helps you develop the capacity to move from reactive thoughts to more proactive behaviors. You are proactively planning your day before your day begins and proactively thinking about all areas of your life by planning next month before next month begins. By building the habit of proactive thought in all areas of your life every month, you begin to move toward a more thoughtful and balanced approach to your life. So, by implementing the habits and behaviors of the Next Level Achievement SystemTM, you become more effective in your outer world.
Your inner world reflects your emotional state of being. It represents your internal thoughts and feelings. It is a state of awareness. Deadlines, to-do lists, projects and responsibilities can all help make our lives feel a little too hectic, unmanageable and even out of control. One of the greatest skills you can acquire is learning how to access your inner world and centering yourself in times of stress. Discovering the center of your inner world allows you to calm your emotions and slow your central nervous system to a point where you can feel and identify more of what is going on around and inside you.
One way to find your center is to connect to your breath. I like to use what I call a 6-4-6-4 breathing technique. You slowly breathe in for 6 counts, hold for 4 counts, breathe out for 6 counts, and hold for 4 counts. It has been scientifically proven that focusing on your breath calms your central nervous system. It also allows you to become more aware of your feelings. The goal is to become an observer of your thoughts and feelings. Once you become an observer, then you can start to choose how you want to think and feel. So, start becoming aware of your inner world and connect to your breath to calm the mind in times of stress. As Zig Ziglar says, “You can’t change what’s going on around you until you start changing what’s going on within you.”
If you practice focusing on both your inner world and your outer world, life balance will become a reality and from balance, abundance appears!
In love and gratitude,
Jenni Byrd Grier, President of The Byrd Group, is an accomplished International speaker with more than 15 years of corporate management and leadership experience as well as an MBA in International Business. Jenni is a life-changing Next Level Achievement™ Coach who will help you create a vision, live life with intentionality, set goals and make them happen. You can find more information on personalized coaching with Jenni here.