By Carol Tuttle
Overwhelmed, scattered, totally worn out. Does that ever sound like you? Even though you’re committed to work-life balance, sometimes equilibrium isn’t as easy to find as you’d like.
Most advice suggests that you set boundaries, manage time better, and practice self-care. Yes, those are important. But if you’re juggling a hundred balls, you need an overall strategy to calm things down — not just tactics that give you more to do.
Consider the possibility that you can have work-life balance with a simpler (and even counterintuitive) approach.
Where your balance (and imbalance) actually comes from
It’s easy to look at your emails, phone calls, meetings and to-do’s and believe that they are the problem. Everything coming at you is just too much!
But whatever imbalance you see in your outer world is actually happening on a deeper level. In other words, if the outer events of your life feel overwhelming, that’s a sign that you’re living out of balance on the inside. Fix that and the rest will follow.
For a moment, step away from the urgent rush (nothing will explode, promise) and balance your inner world with this simple process.
Here’s how to find your inner balance — in 3 steps
We each have three primary reasons for being here:
1) Identify your lessons to learn
Ask yourself a simple, direct question: “What lessons am I meant to learn in this life?”
What answers come to mind? Welcome all of them.
This question might sound simple. But by asking it, you open yourself up for surprising answers to present themselves.
Honestly, most people hesitate to ask this question. They believe that all life lessons have to involve pain and hardship. That may have been true for you, but it doesn’t have to stay that way moving forward.
What if your lessons involve how to create more balance? What if your lessons involve an important conversation that improves your work life? Or even a career change? What if your lessons include starting a business or a non-profit?
If you frame your life in terms of lessons to learn rather than problems to solve, you will find balance more naturally and easily.
2) List your experiences to have
In this case, experience means opportunities to become more aware, more conscious, and more awake to the world in which we live.
For some, an important experience is traveling. For others, it’s spending time with certain people or building important relationships. Desired experiences could involve developing talents or reaching a personal goal.
And yes, important experiences to have can absolutely be professional. What do you want to experience professionally so that you make a contribution through your work?
Ask yourself: “Which experiences call to me?”
And then (this is the important part), respond to your answers.
Many of the experiences we want to have feel new or vulnerable, so we avoid them. If you ignore them or prioritize your to-do list instead, your life will start to feel small and your work will feel out of balance.
3) Get clear on your service to give
You have unique gifts to offer this world.
When work-life balance feels shaky, it’s easy to think, “I don’t have enough time or energy to give to anyone else. How could I possibly fit that in?”
How are you thinking of service? Donating money or volunteering might come to mind. Those activities are important, but consider that service isn’t always that obvious. You can offer service right where you are, right where you work.
For example, you may have an animated personality. Instead of trying to stifle it, greet people with enthusiasm and lighten their day. Or maybe your knack is plans and details. Use those gifts to help your team’s big project stay on track. When you live true to yourself, you’re able to serve others everywhere, without even trying.
Ask yourself: “What service do I naturally offer?”
Opportunities to serve will show up on the paths where you work and live.
Serve from your authentic self and you’ll feel energized. The journey will become less of a task list and more of an opportunity to be your best self.
Ah. That feels better — now what?
Remember: The balance you experience in your work and life starts inside.
Yes, set your boundaries and practice self-care. But first, before you take other work-life balance advice, point yourself in the right direction. Know why you’re here. Your inner balance is a stabilizing force that no time-management strategy can ever compete with.
Posted on Thrive Global
To explore how you can live a balanced life based on what your lessons, experiences and type of service are, please contact us for a free introductory session.