Finding Your Own Balance
It seems more and more people are searching for that work life balance. What does that really mean? Is there even such a thing? Are the pressures in life so strong that it becomes virtually impossible to gain? Does the pervasiveness of social media impact how we see ourselves?
Are we afraid to ask others for help and put undue pressure on ourselves to “do it all?” These questions have been on my mind for some time and I am frequently asked how I achieve work life balance. For me, about five years ago I really sat down with myself and thought about all this. What I kept going back to is that work-life-balance is a personal endeavor and that I needed to find my own inner peace. I believe balance is different for everyone—I believe that we each hold our answer to this question, but what is most important is that we find happiness and acceptance within ourselves.
I thought I would share a few things that helped me personally achieve this internal state. For starters—I quit comparing myself to others. This was key. I cannot stress enough. To people who ask me I always say, “who you are and what you do is unique to you.” Get comfortable with that! Balance is a state of mind—and remember, don’t strive for perfection, strive for progress. Learn to set parameters and schedules. Communicating early and often with those around me is a must. My family has a group text and I am not sure what I did without it.
Creating a positive internal state started from within. The very first “think” I did was set time in my schedule for myself and my health and I made it a priority. It wasn’t easy, but boy was it the key. I focused on making sure my personal health was in order because I realized a few years ago that my health was getting out of control and it was impacting my mood, my confidence, and my productivity. I needed to make my own self-care a priority. Think of it kind of like being on an airplane when they say, “put your mask on first and then your child.” In fact, I was overwhelmed with happiness when I started taking 30 minutes for myself in the morning to work out. It was amazing how it bred independence in my kids. They saw how important that was to me and how much it positively impacted everyone around me that they started taking accountability for their tasks in the morning to get out the door on time. In fact, today they even take on some additional tasks for me when they notice I am running late—without even being asked they start helping get my lunch and coffee ready. They do their own laundry, they keep their rooms in order, they do their dishes, they help with dinner. They are an important part of the team and I appreciate them every step of the way.
Oh, and by the way, this didn’t happen overnight. It took consistency, communication and effort. It was six straight months of focused attention on myself before it became a habit and it has had a dramatic impact on my perspective on life. It’s more than a lifestyle change—it’s a mindset change. Once I got that figured out, I set out to other parts of my life. First off, schedule, schedule, schedule. Think ahead, plan ahead and work ahead. Prioritize and don’t be afraid to use your resources, ask for help and coordinate with others. Surround yourself with good people, who truly care because toxic relationships can derail your happiness. Communicate early and often. I think I have said that more than once here so hopefully you are picking up on that J! I am very open with my family and my staff. My personal and professional commitments are all wide open on my calendar. If I cannot be at something or get to something I make sure I communicate. And if I miss something, which happens (a lot) I acknowledge that and make sure others know I welcome and appreciate the reminder. There are plenty of events I cannot make and plenty that I can make—to me that is just life not balance. I also think it is important to cheer on others, be supportive, and make a point to ask others if they need help.
I think seeing life from multiple perspectives and other vantage points helps you live your own life better. That has really been important to me, especially as I have grown older. Listening, not judging, and truly caring about other people’s views is so important. And honestly, it just makes you a kind and thoughtful person. We need more of that! Like everyone, there are days that do not go as planned or there are major bumps in the road. I stop and take 10 minutes, a few deep breaths, smile, think about the bigger picture and look for something positive from another viewpoint. Not everything always gets done, but if you surround yourself with good people and you focus on doing things for the right reason, you will find that inner peace and your own personal balance. Most importantly, I don’t let others influence my balance—I took the time to find my inner peace in life, love myself and I am incredibly grateful for the support from those around me!