For years now we’ve been encouraged to live a balanced life. In the work place the phrase used is “Work Life Balance”. Google the concept and you often find attached a “Life Wheel” exercise.
The purpose of this exercise is to show you where you have a low score. This means that this is where the imbalance is and where you need to make changes.
On the surface, this is of course an accurate assumption, however, how realistic is it?
I have a slightly different take on this.
Our lives are made up of different aspects; some of them are shown in the diagram above. Our focus is based on what we believe at the time is what we need to do to get through a particular phase.
For example: You have finally been given the promotion you’ve wanted for ages. With it comes a project that is going to keep you busy for at least 6 to 8 months. It’s the kind of project that is going to show what you’re made of. With this comes choice (Please note that I say choices and not sacrifices).
So what do you do? What you have to, yet you feel unsettled.
Is it because you are not spending time with friends & family as you used to? Are you possibly not making it to the gym as regularly as you “should”?
Here’s my opinion as to why what should be one of your greatest achievements is not giving you the satisfaction you thought it would.
- You didn’t consciously look at the time the project would take you away from the rest of what makes up your life.
- Maybe you didn’t have an open and honest conversation with your partner as to what changes would need to be made in the running of the household.
- Is it possible that you didn’t assess the promotion in line with your value structure and simply grabbed it blindly because it fitted in with your “plan”? You know the one you made in your 20’s and haven’t really revisited since.
- Are you listening more to what others think your life should look like or focusing on what you eel or believe is right for you.
Often when working with clients, the first 3 items mentioned above are sufficiently dealt with, it’s number 4 that becomes the bug bear.
Too often we put far too much emphasis on what the people around us or media portray as being a balanced life. We have this picture in our minds, a perfect wheel. A perfect wheel is going to give us our happiness.
What is going to give you happiness is nobody but yourself.
How do you do this?
- Be consciously aware of what your values are.
- Understand that at different stages of your life, your values will not necessarily be the same.
- Ensure that the goals you set for yourself are truly yours.
- When you are making big changes in your life, discuss them with your partner and set out as to how you will both deal with what is possibly going to be the future.
- Have the same conversation with your children. If you are not going to explain the changes to them and why they are being made, you cannot expect them to simply one day wake up and be okay with it.
- Be aware that the people around you sometimes object to the changes you want to make simply because it doesn’t suite them. Be empathetic.
- If there are personal beliefs or childhood experiences that are holding you back, do what it takes to deal with them.
Yes, this is going to take some work on your part, however, when you approach your life and the changes you want to make consciously, you’ll make better decisions and that alone will me a happier you.
And if someone tells you your life is unbalanced, remember….. whose balance is it anyway?