Is balance a myth? At some point in recent history, in the Mad Men worldview of sacrificing our private lives on the altar of our careers, something shifted. The world wobbled. Women entered the workforce. Technology changed the geography of upward mobility. We began to demand something more than money from work. We began to demand meaning. We began to crave a relationship to something bigger, something inspired.
But at what cost? The idea of work-life balance implies that there are (at least) two silos and unless the content is shared equally, it isn’t fair and it doesn’t work. But is that really true? The great personal development teacher Byron Katie requires that we question our assumptions. When we fall back on an easy answer, an excuse for not following our dreams, Katie challenges us to ask ourselves: is this really true — or is this just a story I tell myself ?
Are the twin ideas of “work” and “life” really opposites? I like to think that Sir Richard Branson has it right about work-life balance when he says, “It’s all life.”
Life is life — and whether its running your business, walking the dog, or writing your memoir. It isn’t what you’re doing so much as how you’re doing it. Does your effort bring you joy? Does volunteering at the senior center give your life meaning? Does working 80 hour weeks contribute to your essential sense of joy? If the answer is “yes,” then the idea of “balance” is irrelevant. When you love what you’re doing, you’re not worried about balance. When you love what you’re doing, you dive into that cool pool of inspiration and swim like an ecstatic otter. When you love what you’re doing, you bring that love to all aspects of your life.
This is not to imply that some imbalance cannot be unhealthy. I’m referring to the kind of imbalance that feeds your heart, that stirs your soul, that amps up your life with technicolor zestiness. Asking simple questions like “where is my joy?” and “what stops me from reaching for the stars?” are a good start toward finding the perfect balance for you. Sometimes that balance is 50/50, but more often, it’s on a continuum. Let meaning into your life without measure. Or if you must, measure your million small moments of joy.
Cynthia Gregory is an award winning author, blogger, and success coach. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
A funny thing happens when you decide to make a change in your life. You may have been stewing about a change, plotting out the ways you’ll be happier when you make then change, even blaming others because you haven’t made the change you know in your heart is right for you. So what’s holding you back?
It’s really quite simple. As humans, we are wired to crave change. We are programmed, like flowers tilting toward the sun, to bend toward transformation, toward personal development. At the same time, we are hard-wired to fear change. Seriously? Yes. At the same time we yearn for that new figure, new career, a new skill like playing the piano, we resist change.
Your inner saboteur will try to soothe you. It will whisper in your ear: everything is fine the way it is. You don’t need that degree anyway. Your mother likes you the way you are.
Your inner saboteur is a smart cookie. It always sounds reasonable, so like the smart voice in your head. The trouble is, if you take the advice of the part of you that will always opt to play small, your world will remain equally small. If that’s what you want, perfect! Don’t change a thing. Do not pass GO and collect your prize.
But if what you desire, what you crave on a cellular level is to be more of who you really are, you must learn to befriend change. Change is tricky. Change can be messy. It means letting go of what you know. But if you persist, if you step into the discomfort of something new, you will conquer your fear. If you keep jumping in that water and swimming beyond the crashing waves of doubt, paddling past the rip current of insecurity, you will enter the center of your power and you will change.
Change, like happiness, is a choice. There is a saying from a gritty old movie, where the tough guy says to the would-be hero, “We can do this easy, or we can do this rough.” Even a villain knows there is always choice, and either way is okay.
Sometimes, when you’re ready, shift happens in the blink of an eye and nothing is ever the same again. You get to choose. Happiness always comes down to choice.
Are you ready to stop playing small and start living your dream? Coaching can help provide clarity and identify self-limited beliefs or habits that keep you from playing full out. Want more happy and less stress? Find out if coaching is right for you with a six week life coach package.
Six Week Coaching Sampler
- six weekly 30 minute coach calls
- a coaching alliance designed uniquely for you
- weekly feedback and life-hack challenges
- a safe place to explore dreams
- a process founded in the belief that you are already whole
For more information, email Cynthia@cgregorycreativity.com