The term “life balance” comes with a lot of baggage—especially to many women who are stressed and busy balancing work, family, relationships, and more. I’ve encountered everything from anger to extreme defensiveness when I’ve brought up the term.
More than one successful woman has told me “I don’t believe in life balance.” “Work-life balance is a myth,” and even, “balance isn’t possible–it just sets us up for failure.”
Gulp. Strong feelings. The idea of creating balance in a busy life is overwhelming, emotional, and feels like a dream for many.
I got my haircut last week and that meant leafing through some big, fat, ad-filled magazines that I don’t normally read. I reached for O and ended up reading Oprah’s interview with Mehmet Oz (Dr. Oz) in the December issue. They were chatting away, covering ground I am familiar with. Eating well, learning how to say, “No.” The importance of setting boundaries so that you can take care of yourself. And then Oprah fessed up. She offered Mehmet Oz “. . . some advice, even though I’m not taking it myself.”
Oprah went on to say that she believes it’s important to make a conscious decision to create balance in your life—but she’s not doing it. She even said she’s not making any more resolutions until she creates more balance for herself—and Dr. Oz says something like, “Well when you figure it out, let me know, because I don’t know how to do it either.”
If this is something that you struggle with, you are in good company.
Maybe it’s just me, but it all sounded a bit like lip service. Like these two incredibly influential people don’t really believe this whole balance thing is possible. It reads a bit like “yeah, right. Balance is nice, but if you want to be successful….”
I may be wrong about this. Oprah and Mehmet, I’d love to hear from you.
If Dr. Oz and Oprah can’t figure it out, can you?
Of course you can.
First off, stop getting all tied up in knots about the concept.
I’ve heard the arguments. “Balance is always changing.” There is no “perfect” balance. “Rhythm” or “flow” are better words to use. “I don’t balance, I dance.”
Great. Here’s what I think. I believe that when most of us talk about “life balance (or whatever words we choose),” we’re speaking about creating a way of spending or budgeting our energy and time that feeds us and that is aligned with our priorities. Yes, it’s different for everyone. Go ahead and use whatever words you want. But rolling your eyes at the idea is really an expression of feeling stuck or powerless or (maybe) content with the way things are.
Some high-achievers hide their fear of being stuck or incapable by pretending they like things the way they are or by pretending that it’s silly to want anything different.
Are you living your best life? I believe that you were put on this earth to be your best, unique version of yourself. If you aren’t spending your energy and your time in a way that allows you to bring your gifts to the world, something is out of whack. That’s my belief and my litmus test for balance. You are free to have a different one.
Want to create better balance in your life? I absolutely believe that it’s possible. Of course, it’s usually not an instant, “snap your fingers” kind of shift, but there is almost always a way to make things work better.
If you want more ease, flow, or balance in your life, here are some ways to get started:
Stop believing (openly or secretly) that it’s impossible. You may not have a clue how to get there, but that does not mean there is no way out of whatever trap you find yourself in. Does Oprah believe she will ever be able to create that balance that she craves? I really don’t know. It sure sounds like she knows that she’d benefit if she could achieve it. Most of us know that if our life worked better for us we’d sleep better or stress less or lose weight or whatever. But do we really believe it’s achievable? That’s the first step. Faith that your best life is out there and that it can include more of the good stuff that feeds your spirit and your soul is an essential key to creating balance and ease in your life.
Give yourself space to start figuring out what better balance looks like and feels like for you. That’s not always easy and there is no cookie cutter formula. It involves listening to yourself. Don’t worry about the big picture and how you are ever going to balance the bajillion things you have going on. That’s a trap that may overwhelm you and keep you stuck. Start small and do-able. You are creating a path, one step at a time. Tune in to the path and the steps you need to take by carving out me-time religiously—just like you make time for brushing your teeth, commit to making time for yourself. Don’t worry, you don’t have to take a weekend retreat on a deserted island. My Put Yourself First 7 Day Blast-off and my Success Soundtrack™ program show you how to make incredibly productive use out of just ten minutes of me-time a day.
Finally, don’t get freaked out when you don’t have the answers. Doing some things differently may mean that you are going to need to acquire some new tools or expertise to move forward. Give yourself permission to know where you want to go and seek out what you need to figure out the best way to get there.
And Oprah and Dr. Oz? I’d love to take a stab at helping you define your paths. You’ve got the potential to help so many even more than you already do. Please, please, please, don’t lose your faith in the possibility of a life that works better.
Take good care,