Kathy, How do I create work-life balance?
You need to focus on BALANCE rather than BALANCING - Learn how below.
We talk about work-life balance as if it's a static thing: BALANCED.
But work and life are not static things. They are ever-changing. We need to move with the ebb and flow of work and life, rather than trying to stop the scales of balance dead in the middle. We need to practice BALANCING!
Has your balance ever got out of balance like mine?
As you know, last week, my newest granddaughter Paisley was born. Subsequently, things in my whole life went out a whack.
To be honest, though, I wanted to resist it. I wanted to re-establish static BALANCE, ASAP!
I wasn't in control anymore!
Gone was controlling my world, though, especially if I wanted to honour my values.
But here is what I learned last week. Or maybe re-learned.
The lesson I learned was during challenging times, to move with the chaos of what is happening, rather than trying to stop everything right in the middle.
QUICK PRACTICAL EXERCISE TO UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "BALANCED" AND "BALANCING":
STEP 1: Stand on one foot.
Find a point of BALANCED. You can't. You will be moving back and forth if every so slightly BALANCING.
STEP 2: Still on one foot, lean to one side. Just a tiny bit at first, then so far that you have to put your foot down
else, you'll fall over.
STEP 3: Think, what was the "tipping point?"
Your core strength matters!
Of course, your physical capacity and your core strength will impact how good you are at balancing and when you tip over. The way to get good at BALANCING is to strengthen your muscles, especially those in your core! So it is with balancing work and life.
Your nonphysical core
Your nonphysical core is knowing and understanding how to honour your values in life. Your core in life is about knowing what keeps you in integrity, who your true supports are and what hills you'll die on. It is also about having your fundamentals of wellness down pat.
****Just a little reminder - to strengthen this core of you, you'll need to do the inner work that I'm always reminding you about!
Lesson from the exercise? You'll never be BALANCED, but always BALANCING.
Last week, I had to practice BALANCING.
In truth, I leaned way over to one side, the family side of my life and I held myself out there for a few days. I reprioritized my schedule.
Leaning too far!
But at some point, probably earlier this week, I felt myself leaning too far that way. I felt myself almost tipping over. I'd been there for my daughter and her family. I'd done what was needed but wasn't needed there in that way anymore. And, I'd started to feel the tug of not just work again, but also of my wellness that had got neglected.
Leaning back the other way
So earlier this week, I started my lean back the other way. It was a bit wobbly at first. When you jerk too quickly, you tend to fall over also. But as the week has progressed, I've found myself shifting back and forth closer to the centre. I feel in more control of my life.
We are always BALANCING
This back and forth, though is a constant. Writing proposals, working through accreditation, traveling to training and setting up new offices have all pulled me to the work side of work-life balance, frequently in my career.
When I lacked the strength in my core, was when I tipped too far and fell into the void of never-ending work. Too frequently, this was at the cost of my family and health. Now, I know to come back to my core. Its this understanding and this foundational piece that helped me and will help you, continue to be good at BALANCING!
p.s. Help strengthen your core! Get really clear on your values and how they show up in your life. Here's some help to get you started, validating what's important to you!
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