Readers, today I'd like to you to meet Allison Nazarian, a working mom with strong opinions and great insight. Allison has just authored a book called Love Your Mess. She is an author, speaker and journalist who works with businesses and individuals ready to put their stories into words. She also is the the facilitator of Your Story Unlimited workshops, a football fanatic and a someday-bookstore owner. I love the viewpoint she shares n her post.
The Myth About The Myth Of Balance
When we talk about balance, we think of a tightrope or a beam or some sort of straight, narrow and rigid path from which we will fall if we deviate. We talk about hard-to-attain ideals like a “balancing act” or the elusive “myth of balance.” We’re told that the goal includes things like “juggling” and super-human levels of flexibility.
When balance is presented to us in this way, most of us begin to believe that it is hard (too hard). Or out of reach (too far out of reach). Or only available to a select few (not us). And like any other ideal we are constantly exposed to, this is one that can be incredibly hard to live up to. Unless you are an official competitor in an Olympic gymnastic event (and even then!), the expectation to maintain perfect balance is just not a fair or realistic one.
So instead of living life according to unrealistic terms, consider these tips for a more realistic approach to “good-enough balance:”
- Cut yourself some slack. In case you have forgotten, you are human. You may, on your best days, demonstrate some superpowers, but, ultimately, you are human. Some days are more productive than others. Sometimes you will be more “on” or “in the groove” than others. Learn to respect your natural flow and your way of doing things. Working with it, rather than against it, will go a very long way in terms of moving forward.
- Focus on what works. I went for years cramming three days’ worth of “to dos” onto my list and then wondered at the end of every single day why I wasn’t getting “enough” done, or why I couldn’t do it all. A huge shift for me came earlier this year when I started to get real with that list. The more I am aware of my self-expectations and of how they need to be kept in check, the better I am actually able to manage my day and complete what needed to be done. Conversely, the more I try to get to a near-impossible level of doing, doing, doing, the more I work against myself and actually make less forward progress.
- Don’t believe the hype. You know that neighbor or co-worker or friend who acts as if everything is perfect and she has it all covered? Well, she has bad days too. The more time and energy you put into coveting her self-professed ability to do it all, the less time and energy you have to put into your own self. Look inward and stop comparing yourself to people whose inner lives and priorities are not yours.
- Remember down time. As warriors on the Road To Perfect Balance, many of us view down time as a sign of weakness or laziness. And, well, that is where we often go wrong. Very wrong! Slowing down should not be viewed as a “treat,” but more as a must. Building in this time is a crucial part of being able to do all of the other things we want to do in our work and home lives. Not only is it a must, but no one else will do this part for us. We must be the ones to make time-outs a non-negotiable part of our regular schedule.
Readers, how good are you at cutting yourself slack? It's not the easiest thing to do, is it?