By Craig Hysell
I used to obsess over balance in my life. Until I realized that seeking “balance” actually held back my progress and, therefore, my happiness.
Balance is “a condition in which all elements are equal”.
All elements are NOT equal in nature.
There is more sea than land. There are not an equal number of mountains compared to valleys. There are seasons in a majority of the world, not one year-round temperature.
Nature does not seek balance, it seeks harmony: “an agreement or concord”.
It is not balance you seek, it is actually harmony.
When you are devoting a lot of your effort to “one thing”, those “other things” are naturally going to slip. The scales will ALWAYS tip when working hard at something and fighting this universal law is a waste of time, resources and passion.
Conversely, if you give each “thing” equal attention, you probably won’t get very far, ever, in anything because bigger “things” take bigger commitments of time and energy.
We only have so much energy and so much time each day.
Perhaps it’s time to change the question. Perhaps it’s time to stop asking “How do I balance everything?” And start asking, “What is my priority right now?”
Self-awareness is key. Lying to yourself is pointless and only serves to hold you back.
If work IS honestly more important than family in this MOMENT, right now, you need to be true to that. It might SOUND terrible, but it is even more frustrating (and maybe even terrible!) to be with family and only be thinking about work… or be at work and only be thinking about family.
Nobody you care about wins (not your family, not your staff, not your clients, not your friends, not you) when YOU aren’t winning. And real winners (not just scores on a scoreboard) are present, engaged, alive, adaptive, passionate, loving, gracious and giving.
To be a real winner in possession of those wonderful virtues, you must do something paradoxical; you must be selfish with the distribution of your two most finite resources: time and energy.
I prefer to call this seemingly selfish distribution of resources proactive organization. In this manner our environments are a product of us instead of us being a product of our environments. This sets us up for maximum impact on the greater good we work so diligently at producing.
Here are some things you can do to get proactively organized and reclaim the harmony you deserve:
- Block Your Time. Everyday, multi-millionaire, Bryan Ward of “Third Way Man” creates a two-part list. Part I is called “Core” and Part II is called “FTA”. Core is the game-changing work, what we PRODUCE, our “legacy-grade” actions. They come first. Before ANYTHING else. Before emails, phone calls, meetings, etc. FTA is “Feed The Animals”. Ward spent time on a farm. FTA is the maintenance work. These are the emails, meetings, the business of running the business etc. that keep our companies running. Core in the morning, FTA in the afternoon. Never more than 5-7 items on the list. Personally, I take that a step further… I only take meetings on certain days at certain times. I only answer emails at certain times. I only coach on certain days at certain times. I’m with my family when I say I am and nothing gets in the way of that. I work when I say I’m going to work and nothing gets in the way of that save a family emergency. My lists are short and, once my list is crossed off, I write tomorrow’s list and end the day.
- Master Your Emotions. Mastering your emotions is key to your success. By all means FEEL everything… but you do not have to respond to everything you FEEL! Do not be a slave to your emotions, instead let them roll through you and react on YOUR terms when YOU are ready. This is a discipline. It takes practice. And it is extremely empowering.
- Take A Step Back. You NEED to do something else besides just go home and just go to work. Where’s YOUR third place? Where do YOU go for a refresher? A different perspective? Some fresh air (literal or figurative)? You DO have time for this whether you believe you do or not, so make the time and spend some time there… wherever THERE is.
- Focus On Listening Not Speaking, Action Not Theory. There is an art to receiving feedback. There is an art to hearing what someone is saying. There is an art to The Process of Progress. To understand the art you must be quiet more than you speak and you must do more than you say every single day. This too is a discipline.
- Have A Bigger Mission. Life is a game. Are you in this life to own a gym or to change the world? To compete with the gym down the street or to reduce heart disease and obesity in your community by 80% in the next 5 years? Are you here to carve out an existence or to shake the pillars of heaven? Stop playing small and LOOK big. Because once you see past the wall blocking the bigger horizon, your opportunities are boundless, your mindset turns to abundance and your happiness is inevitable.
Harmony is the ability to look at the spheres in your life (work, family, friends, mission) and recognize where you are, where you want to go and breaking the steps down into bite-sized pieces.
It is just like we all tell our athletes in some form or another, “Do not be in a hurry to lift heavy weights, instead consistently work to lift weights correctly and heavier weights are inevitable.”
Harmony is technique over intensity. Be mindful, enjoy The Process, play The Game and reap the rewards. Hugs.