Balance Is Found in Imbalance! A Three-Step Process to Feeling Internally Balanced
Balance: Stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis (Merriam-Wesbter Dictionary).
When I talk about balance here, I am not talking about balancing different areas of your life. Because it is precisely in finding the perfect imbalance in how we use our time that we can find balance within ourselves: even distribution of weight between who we are and who we want to be.
I was always one to want to achieve and prove that I was excellent at whatever I tried... until I burned out. I also got bored of it. I couldn't slow down - I was working all the time, trying to achieve more, wanting to prove to myself and others that I was SuperWoman. In fact, many of my co-workers called me that.
The truth though is that I was no SuperWoman. This was the ONLY way I knew how to live. I didn't know how to slow down. I didn't know how to make space for the things that mattered to me and I suffered from it. I was too tired to go out with friends, I wasn't learning or growing anymore and I was incapable of saying no. All this lead me to losing confidence in myself, to burn out and to feeling of misalignment with my values.
In the end, I just knew that something had to change and I had to make choices. I started looking at all aspects of my life and determining what was truly important to me. It sounds so simple! Yet, simply creating this awareness was a lengthy process and I'm glad I went through it because it lead me to where I am today: fulfilled, doing work I love with incredible humans and living a peaceful life with my partner and the Professor (that's my dog, in case you don't know him!).
I want to share a little of this process with you to help you create internal balance for yourself during times of transition.
1) Point A: Creating Awareness
That's right. It starts with observing different areas of your life. It seems so simple, doesn't it? And yet, the discoveries you’ll make mean facing fears of changing the way you function, because in order to change your life, you must change your thoughts and your behaviors.
In order to go anywhere, you must understand where you're starting from. Use my wheel of balance tool or create a list of the important areas of your life and in each category, take stock of the following:
Habits you have (both positive habits and those that you’d like to change)
Boundaries you have put in place (or not!) for yourself
Your levels of confidence
What are your values? Identify them and see where they fit into your life
What motivates you?
How do you spend your energy?
Truly take stock - take the time to track those over at least a couple of weeks and note down your observations, without trying to change anything and more importantly, without judgment.
I spent 5 hours watching Netflix 3 times this week.
I went to the gym twice for 60 minutes in the past two weeks.
2) Point B: Creating a Vision
Now you know where you are, let’s think about where you want to be. You'll need to create a clear vision for yourself: Who do you want to be? Remember all the thinking you just did on the areas above. Where would you like to be in relation to each of those?
If you had a magic wand, what would each of these areas look like?
And most importantly - WHY do you want your life to look like that? What becomes possible when your life looks that way?
I know that you will limit yourself by thinking “But HOW could I possibly do this?” and that’s a normal human reaction. However, know that your brain cannot think of the why and the how at the same time, so let it be. Simply write what you actually want, whether you think you can get it or not. We all need to do a better job of identifying what we actually desire and why.
I want to feel healthy and energetic because it will allow me to have a more positive impact on others.
I want to spend more time with my family because this connection time gives me the energy and support I need to think through my next steps in life.
3) From Point A to Point B - Let’s Do This!
You know where you’re starting from and you know where you’re going (at least in terms of the balance you want in your life). Congratulations! You are ready to start setting actions for yourself and thinking about the how.
Look back at the areas for change you identified. Choose the one or two that are most meaningful for you at the moment. It’s important that whatever challenge you take on is 100% achievable - if you try to change everything at once, you probably will not get there.
Massive change always start with tiny steps. Choose the one step you can commit to and make it the one that will have the most impact in the long term.
If I wake up just 10 minutes earlier to stretch my body in silence, it’ll set me up positively for the rest of the day.
If I call my dad for 5 minutes every 3 days, I will feel more connected to him and can ask him for support and advice to keep me believing I’m on the right path.
Now follow through with this - you don’t need to change anything else. Take just one action and after a month, observe the effect of that tiny change on your mindset, your behaviors, your habit, perhaps even your language.
Now that I wake up earlier, I feel more positive during the day and I feel proud of myself for doing this.
I have shared this habit with friends and they have started doing it. It feels great to have a positive impact on others.
Choose a new habit when you’re ready - you’ll quickly find that sticking to these small changes will allow you to feel much more balanced within yourself.
Internal balance is not about trying to juggle the different areas while riding a unicycle with a blindfold on. It’s about identifying those areas that are meaningful to us and ensuring we are devoting enough energy to them, no matter what is going on externally.
You got this!
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