The Secret to Balance

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Do you have balance in your life?  Personal and professional balance in our lives seems to be the ever-elusive dream for many of us.  Trying to balance home, work, health, spirituality and free time seems almost impossible.  It is something that businesspeople have told me for years.

Well, I am pleased to tell you that I believe I’ve found the answer to creating balance in your life.   Are you ready?  Write this down. Here it is:  Forget about balance, you’ll never have it!

I can hear you now . . . “What?!  No balance?!? That can’t be!  It’s just not right!” But wait . . . there IS good news.  Although I don’t think balance is possible, I do believe you can create harmony in your life.  This differentiation is more than just semantics.  It is a critical approach to looking at life that can free you up to see the world in a different way.

“Balance” assumes that we spend an equal amount of time in all or most areas of our life.  It is like the image of the scales (see the picture at right) where everything is completely in balance and equal.  It assumes that we must spend a certain portion of each week devoted in some equal measure to every item important in our life.

Well, the problem with that is that almost no one can really achieve that.  Especially entrepreneurs, professionals and salespeople.  We tend to live such hectic, busy lives that it is incredibly difficult to fit it all in.  Women often tell me that this issue is an even bigger problem for them.

So what do we do about this?  For me, it’s about creating harmony.  Just look at the image representing harmony  in this blog (see the yin yang symbol at right).  Even the image is lopsided when you look at one aspect at a time.  But it is the whole that feels complete.  This is a way to look at the issue that has personally worked for me.  Sometimes I work crazy, long hours for several days in a row.  Or I may be on the road traveling for business for many days at a time.  On the other hand, I am a husband and a father.  I need and want to be there for my family as well as have time for myself.  Long ago I figured out that daily balance is almost impossible.  But I found I could create harmony using a few core principles.

First, three simple words make a big difference to me: “Be here now.” Wherever you are, be there.  If you are at work, don’t think about the time you did not spend with the family the night before or what you should be doing with you significant other right now.  When you are at home, don’t think about the work you have to do at the office.  Wherever you are, be there . . . fully and completely.

Second, make sure to set aside time to do all the things that are truly important in your life. Yeah, I know everyone says that, but here’s my twist:  Be creative about how you manage this. For example, when I wrote my first book I didn’t want to be holed up in my office writing in the evening and not be available to my family.  I found a creative way to find that time that was in harmony with my family time.  A few evenings a month, I’d stay up with the family, put everyone to bed and then go into my office and start writing at 11 p.m. and work almost all night on my manuscript.  I’d catch a few hours of sleep and get into the office a little late to start my day.  I’m a late-night person and this worked for me.  It may not work for you.  However, my point is to be creative and inventive in finding ways YOU can accomplish what you need to do, yet still allow yourself to spend time doing the other things in your life that bring you harmony.  Nothing pleased me more than when I showed my children the book when it was published and they said to me . . . “When did you write that?!” They had no idea I was up late working several times a month.  That was harmony to me!

Third, find ways to integrate various elements of your life. For many years, I have spent weeks at a time up at my lake home in the mountains.  Each year, I spend a week or two working from the lake house remotely.  Now I bring up my staff and management team for short retreat/workdays.  It is a great way to combine my work life into a leisure environment.   Then, the last week or so, I take off COMPLETELY and spend time with my family.  By integrating my two worlds, I create a sense of harmony.

Last, remember this: when you are 70 years old, you are not going to wish you spent more time at the office. You don’t need to be a workaholic to be successful.

Focus on creating harmony in your life.  Be creative.  Don’t try to do the things I do or that someone else does.  Find ideas that work for you and the life you live.  Make the time to do the things that are important to you and be innovative.  Harmony is created where harmony is sought.  OK, that’s a bit “new age” sounding . . . but it is true.

I’m very interested to hear what you think of this approach and/or what do you do to create balance in your life.  Leave a comment and let me, and others reading this blog, know what has worked for you.

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12 replies
  1. Pamela Reekie
    Pamela Reekie says:

    Thank you so much for writing this article. It was truly what I needed today because my husband and I are newly self employed and work together daily. Sometimes we have a difficulty finding the balance but I believe this will help us tremendously.

    Reply
  2. Mark Meincke
    Mark Meincke says:

    The only true success includes life balance. $$$ are great, but not the only thing. Make $$, create success, but not without keeping life in balance.

    Have your cake, and eat it too! Pursue happiness with at least the same vigor that you pursue financial success.

    Not only can you have both, but you should have both.

    Reply
  3. Norma Rose
    Norma Rose says:

    It’s true! Balance is impossible with constant changing circumstances! Thank you for freeing us! I especially enjoyed your “Be here now” principle. I find myself multi-tasking so much that being ‘present’ for someone is truly a challenge for me. But when I do practice it…it reaps great reward.

    Reply
  4. artur
    artur says:

    I agree that “equal amount of time in all or most areas of our life” doesn’t mean we’ve created balance or harmony as you call it.

    Generally speaking, I think people tend to forget about the ultimate result they want to have or set “not right” goals. So instead of spending their time on things that give them satisfaction, money, development etc. they try to spend equal amount of time on different areas of life. And this in most cases mean they don’t get expected results.

    In my case, I set long term goals, split them in monthly goals, set priorities each month and plan my time each week. It worked really good for me. I had best holiday ever :)

    regards,
    Artur Stepniak (Poland :) )

    Reply
  5. Jenn
    Jenn says:

    I am a mother or two, have a business and am actively involved in BNI as an incoming Assistant Director. I have three active chapters and one core group and am looking into an additional core group. I also am very involved with my two daughters, Husband and God. Balance. Hmmm. I work very hard to be fully present in everything I do. Email is a godsend to communicate. I work early mornings I am up at 4:30am planning my day, I am a very scheduled person, and then get my children up and ready for school and then off to work and school we go. I work, attend meetings and seminars and on Friday work from home. I am always home in the evening with my children at least 4 nights a week. That is my commitment to my family and myself. I take Saturday off. That is for me. I sleep in to maybe 7am. I cook and do family things, pray and meditate and spend time with my husband. This seems to balance for me I am rarely sick and when I feel a bit under the weather I reduce my work load. Stress is a killer! I could be a workaholic and was when I was younger. I have learned to pace myself and enjoy every moment of what I am doing. Staying organized is key and remembering what is important and the priority at that moment. Great article this truly hit home for me! You are awesome Ivan!

    Reply
  6. anjali
    anjali says:

    I like the entire text whether its being there 100% where you are or balancing or harmony but difficult to follow up exact.Practice makes a man perfact, thats right in this context. I am a travel agent in India.Can i join BNI & how? Is there any membership fee?

    Reply

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