Why the quest for balance won't make you happy
It's holding you back
Having been an entrepreneur for decades, and a single mom for nine years, I have given the lofty goal of balance many attempts. I have an epiphany! I try it on. I write it down. I put it in my calendar: This will be the year/month/week/day where I will be able to get it all in and still have plenty of time to play with my kids, cook great meals, relax. Surely there must be a formula for balance– and I’m going to find it!
But the truth of it is, owning a growing business and having a full life can be like a constant game of trying to get ahead of a fast-moving train. Throw in a family, a decent self-care regimen and any desire for some down time, and the ephemeral state of work-life balance can be virtually impossible to achieve. Perhaps we are looking in the wrong place? Perhaps balance doesn’t even really exist?
Most people I know who have their own businesses are creative, driven innovators and out-of-the-box thinkers. If that is true for you, then does balance even seem like a fun thing to pursue? Do you thrive with a great deal of predictability, order and same-ness? Or do you thrive when you have new ideas, new creations and new challenges?
Here are three tips for letting go of the ideal of balance so you can start to have a lot more fun – and success - with everything you do!
Stop judging yourself and how you are using your time.
When we are seeking any ideal, we have to constantly measure ourselves up against what we have decided that ideal is, and how we are going to achieve it. When we judge ourselves and our businesses, we kill the creative process, and diminish the discovery of new possibilities and revenue streams.
When you notice that you are judging yourself for what you are or are not doing, or how you are using your time, stop! Get curious about what is actually right about it that you have never considered? Maybe those long hours spent at work today are the makings of your next big idea? This re-framing can dynamically open up the creative process and a space for a lot more ease. Without judgment, we can create so much more! And if something needs to change or be different – you will know it faster and you will change it with much greater ease.
Are you having fun yet?
If you are not enjoying what you are doing, what would it take to have more fun? Perhaps you can have conference calls while hiking in the woods? Or you could add some fun creative games with your team or co-workers to spark new ideas in your business. Not everybody loves strategic planning sessions or even team building exercises – but sometimes even a change of scenery such as having a happy hour meeting or a creative powwow session on the lawn on a sunny day can boost morale, ignite a creative spark, and add joy to your business that is fresh and enlivening. Adding fun to your business can be a huge inspiration for you and your team to spring into action!
Take an hour a day just for you
What if you could spend an hour a day doing something that is just for you? What would you do? If time for exercise didn’t count as an obligatory hour, what could you do for you each day that would be different, exciting, and fun? You could stargaze for an hour, read a great book, or have dinner with a friend.
What would it be like if you had time every day that did not have to be productive – but could be spent just enjoying life, however that shows up for you on any given day? The idea is that this is time just for you to play, to have fun, and to honor you! If you gave yourself this gift every day, would you even require balance? So often when we get busy and stressed, we decide that we need to do something or figure out a new solution to try and change whatever it is that we are desiring to change. What if adding fresh perspectives, new activities, new spaces in your daily routine could keep you excited about your life and what you are doing in your business? What if you didn’t have to figure it out?
Balance is an attempt to control lives that are often already too ordered and lacking joy. When you let go of your judgments of how you are running your life so that you can actually start to wonder about what works and what would be fun, the very thing you were attempting to achieve through balance just might show up! Your thriving, dynamic life, business and income might be closer than you think – and more accessible than ever if you are actually willing to have more fun!
Heather Nichols, MSW is a Boulder-based Access Consciousness and Joy of Business Certified Facilitator with over 20 years of expertise in facilitating change and creating business. She has always been a creator, a visionary and a magician and explores possibilities beyond imagination. Is now the time to create greater possibilities in your life and business? Find more information about Heather and her upcoming events: http://www.heathernichols.com/class-schedule/.