Throw Out Balance and Replace it With This

On the internet running through blog, Facebook, and IG posts or videos, there is always a wave of the same concepts of discussion each week. One person/business throws out an idea to talk about that week, and then many others (to figure out what they can discuss, post, or video that week) grab onto someone else's topic and put another spin on it. That's it. If you pay close attention to the posts, you will see what I am talking about. Take a look at the weekly discussions and see the uniformity in the topics of discussion, including the quotes that are posted. Perhaps it is coincidental. Perhaps it is collective energetic thought that brings this about. But, in most cases, I'm thinking it may be more about "What do I talk about this week?" and then grab an idea from someone else.

It is difficult to find weekly, let alone daily, topics to discuss and, at the same time, give good value to your audience. I get that. I've done the same thing. I'm guilty, but I'm not saying it's wrong. However, why is it that so many have to righteously compare or even put down the other persons version or perspective of that topic or term for that matter? Why must we compete by discrediting the other? We need to create awareness that there are different perspectives, but depending on where you are in life, each to our own. If I see the number 9 and you see the number 6 facing the opposite direction, are you wrong? Or am I wrong? Neither are.

Anyway, the topic I'm talking about is "balance." I posted a bit of a discussion on balance on Desiree Leigh You Tube Channel last week. So as a coach, what do I decide to do about the matter. I chose to unravel the word balance by defining it, understand where and why it originated, and then discuss with others what I mean by Throwing Out Balance and how we all have different perspectives.

Most of us should know that we all interpret words differently. How you define a concept, term, or statement for that matter, will be different than how I define it. Yes, for sure, we all pretty much know the definition from the dictionary, but that is not our complete interpretation of the word. How we interpret words goes far beyond the definition alone to include how we were raised, our belief systems, and our experiences, etc.

The definition of the concept balance as a noun is an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady; a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. The definition as a verb is to keep or put in a steady position so that it does not fall; offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another. I understand the concept balance from a balance scale perspective: being equal, even distribution, and; a steady position.

Let's look at the work-life balance concept. The term work-life balance originated first in the UK and then in the USA in the late 1970's and early 1980's. It's a term used to describe the balance between work and time allocated for other aspects of life. However, being balanced and "striving" for balance are two different things! It's good to strive for balance between work and life. You don't want to spend each and everyday of your life working without having fun with family and friends, having a hobby, or exercising. What would life be like without venturing out into the water for a swim or up the mountain for a hike? And how about those amazing BBQ's with friends or vacations with family? Work takes focus and concentration which takes up a lot of energy. Having free time to do what you want allows you to relax, but it also replenishes and inspires you. When I began my business in 2008, I preached balance, but, even at that time, I didn't fully agree with that concept. It didn't sit right with me. There was something that was misleading about this perspective.

When I started my business, I spend hours in preparation with legal issues, blog posts, networking, educating myself, training, marketing, coaching, and being coached, for example. During this time, I had to sacrifice some of my time spent with friends and even family. When I went back to university at the age of 50, I spend countless hours in school and completing homework assignments. I did my best to preserve the concept of balance, but during exam season especially, I had to sacrifice time at the gym, out in nature, and with friends and family to get studies done so that I could achieve a high GPA. In my fourth year of university, I was able to finish writing my manuscript and be at the gym and get trained 4 to 6 days per week to drop about 50 pounds of weight and strengthen my muscles in less than six months. I sacrificed my personal life to get this done. I wasn't resentful about it because this is what I wanted. These past couple and a half week, I had a date to complete the last edit to my manuscript. I sacrificed going to the gym and training for two hours a day and I ate some quick high fat foods so I could submit the book to the publisher. I was sitting for nearly 10 hours per day just to get it done!

Balance is fictitious. We strive for balance, but balance will never be achieved. When we have deadlines to meet, a sick child or mother in the hospital, four exams in one week, or a fitness and body building competition, we are sacrificing something and true balance is not there. To achieve something great, you must go at it all the way, and if there are schedules to meet, it's your choice whether you want to tell yourself that you need balance to survive or burn through the fatigue and pain and meet your commitment full out. The term balance is about equality, even distribution, and a steady position. How is this even possible to achieve unless you are an accountant balancing your books. What's worse is we then criticize ourselves when we can't achieve balance by feeling guilty which leads to a lowered self concept or a lack of confidence and feeling badly about oneself.  Trying to achieve a sense of balance becomes detrimental to your health.

I believe what is MORE important to consider is harmony. When you are in a state of imbalance with work and life, strive for harmony, some tranquility and presence. Be mindful about your state and what you need in the moments and fill your mind, body, and spirit accordingly. This is the most robust way of staying in alignment with self and knowing what you need in those moments. Exam season is usually about 2 1/2 to 3 weeks and you may have  4 or 5 exams or even 7 and 8 if you are in the RN nursing program. Don't tell me that you should have balance during these times! I observed even the young students completely stressed, eating ravenously or not at all with sleepless nights and a lack of exercise to achieve their GPA. What about athletes in training? We sacrifice to achieve great things. We cannot sustain these sorts of stressors for long periods of time, but we are definitely not in a state of balance during them or the majority of time during our adult life. So throw out the term balance and instead replace it with harmony. 

Today, more than ever we need a sense of harmony, flow, and congruence, but the pressures of life, business, work, and family goals, for example, will never be balanced. One of these areas of life will always be tilted to one side. Good nutrition, regular exercise, and a calm present mind is good for health and we need to be as consistent as possible in our healthy habits, but to say that we need to be balanced is a fallacy.

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