Q: I struggle to find a healthy balance between work and family time. What can I do?
Questions about balance come from the very core of how and why coaching can be a powerful force in a person’s life, work and business. The “balance” question is quite common, yet seldom do I agree with the common answers, so I have written on the subject often – here, here, here, here, here and here. And, since I was asked the question above on this very day, I’ll revisit the subject once again here.
Balance between our work life and personal life, balance among our various roles – no wonder they seem so elusive, because:
You can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything!
Sounds silly, but this is a great place to begin. You cannot do everything you want or must do all the time. Likewise, you might not want to sacrifice everything for the sake of one thing. Too often I find the concept of “balance” leads to guilty feelings about everything all the time…and that’s not healthy, especially if Health is something you are trying to balance!
If you often find yourself thinking, “I would rather be…”, then balance won’t help and it may even hurt. What would you rather be doing? Why aren’t you doing those things? The things you are doing may be “should do” instead of “must do” activities. What must you do with intention and priority today? How would you rather be feeling? Where would you rather be going? What would you rather have? With whom would you rather be investing your time? How would you rather be? Why would you rather…? What are some other questions you might ask? What is it you really want? What is it you must really do?
Consider this example: If you’re at work and you would rather be at home, isn’t your quality of life at home the reason why you work? If you are with family and think you should be working, isn’t family well-being the reason you work? If you want to achieve something you love, are you willing to endure some things you may hate (within reason) to succeed?
Tournament of Dreams
Here’s a start for living an On Purpose life rather than a guilty one dragging along in “balance”:
- What do you want? Make a long, exhaustive list;
- Match your “wants” in pairs to compete with one another
- Ask, “Which one is most important to me now?” until you have a winner. Do this for each area of your life, i.e. family, career, financial, health, spiritual/ethical, social, mental development, etc.
- Plan your days around the winners.
What do you want most?
Why do you want it?
What are all the things that might keep you from achieving it?
Can you be innovative enough to conceive solutions for all these barriers to success? (This is where coaching can be most powerful.)
When will you take the specific steps to implement these solutions?
Then, what does your time-line look like for these steps to achieving your goal?
If you won’t change your goal, which is admirable, you can always change the time-line. But what happens to most people is this: they don’t write down their goal and make it an ongoing priority; they lose focus; they fail to identify and address the obstacles and their solutions up front, so the time-line keeps changing, and they eventually forget or give up on the goal.
So write down the “winners” from your Tournament of Dreams in the form of goals. Conceive all possible obstacles and potential solutions for them up front. Then take the necessary steps whether they take you a year to complete or 20 years.
Breathe. Love. Have fun along the way.
Every Life Has a Reason
NOTE: Make sure you also check out my post as guest blogger today at the World Prayer blog. Here is the link http://ow.ly/133Pg .