Do you ever wonder how other people achieve balance in their lives? They’ve got a ton of stuff going on, but they always seem so with it and together? Or they’ve been thrown a ton of obstacles and somehow they still keep on keepin’ on? I get this question a lot from clients and used to struggle with it myself until I learned balance is really only about 2 things – having a focal point and being flexible.
If you’ve ever watched a light post in the wind, it flexes and sways. Yes, this strong steel post responds to its environment so it can remain standing and shed light – and it was built this way. Why, you ask. Why don’t they just build them strong enough that they don’t sway? Because if it’s built too rigid, it will snap. Ya get it? How apt is that? If you are too strong, rigid and focused singularly on maintaining balance, you’ll snap.
If you want to remain standing upright, you need to consistently and repeatedly readjust and choose to return to that place of balance. It’s not a decision you make once and then it’s done. It’s a choice you make and then continually recommit to keeping. And, the choice you’re really making is: (1) to stay focused on what’s important to you – to get and keep your priorities straight; and (2) to let go of the inevitabilities that you can’t control.
Your focal point is that thing on the horizon that keeps you level and on course. In life, your focal points are where your values and dreams meet. Keep your internal gaze there while you adjust and engage with what’s going on in your life right now. If your focal point is that your highest value is family and your dream is to rise to the top of your profession, find the point where they meet. Will realizing your dream allow you to provide opportunities and experiences for your family? Then, adjust your actions so that, when you’re with your family, you’re showing your family you value them by giving them the opportunities and experiences you can at that moment, and, when you’re at work, you’re moving yourself forward. But family and work aren’t always separate, they overlap. That’s where flexibility comes in.
Flexibility comes from conscious surrender – doing what you can and letting go of what you can’t. I, personally, love reflecting on the serenity prayer for this. It goes like this: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” So, again, if your focal point is family and professional growth, then you can’t change the date of that birthday or anniversary so accept that important dates and events are when they are, but you may be able to change how you schedule meetings or when you celebrate special occasions with family.
Remember, balance is a state of being in equilibrium where your energy and attention is directed and distributed in a way that you feel poised and stable and you are emotionally, mentally and spiritually steady. That place is unique to you. Accept wherever that point of balance is for you and move toward it.