I’m a Libra – so perhaps it’s natural that "balance" is something I yearn for. I hear a lot about it from clients as well.  We are searching for a way to fit in all the roles and responsibilities we have and still maintain balance in our lives.  Yet what does "balance" look like and how do you know when you’ve achieved it?

Often, in our search to answer that question, we rely on the concept of things being "equal" to determine if we’ve achieved it.  Like the scales, we identify what needs to be on each side and then try to make the weight match.  Perhaps we pit family life against career.  We then feel guilty when one side gets more focus or attention than the other.  We are constantly striving to level things out.  We are "doing a good job" if the two sides match.  The problem is – – that’s not life.  At least it’s not mine. Or maybe we rely on strategy.  It becomes a matter of carefully placing the pieces of our lives in a perfect circle – – then waiting to see if it spins beautifully or starts clunking around like an unbalanced load of laundry in the washing machine.  

Maybe it’s the early morning walk I took today but it made me reflect on nature.  Rarely is it perfectly symmetrical.  As a matter of fact, some of the most unique and beautiful trees are those that have gnarled limbs and interesting patterns. From a distance they appear your standard tree "shape" – but up close you see that it has hundreds of facets – limbs and branches – and none of them are identical.  So, how does it look so balanced from a distance?  It’s all of those components that come together to form the whole.  The whole is what matters.

If we rethink the idea of "balance" in our lives, let’s take a cue from Mother Nature.  The whole is what matters. All the aspects of your life are part of only ONE you.   Different roles WILL get more of your time and attention at different times.  Don’t focus all your energy trying to make all the limbs match.  That energy is better used to recognize the roles that are most important to you and when one area needs you more.  We need to think on our feet so we can readjust as life hands us changes,opportunities, and possibly even emergencies. Loosen the grip on trying to make it all "Even Steven". 

Next, recognize that the various part of our days, weeks, and lives aren’t enemies.  They coexist.  Making them seem like adversaries means the approach has to be competitive.  But why should it be either A or B?  So, let’s try this – let’s put them all on one side of the scale.  How we can determine if we’ve found balance is to see if all those and parts of your life equal one thing – – the life you want!  If they don’t, take a look at what’s on the other side.  Is there a role you want to enhance or where you want to spend more time?  Are you not taking opportunities? Are you spread too thin?  Is something not working?  Work towards balance not by weighing each component but by comparing the total of them all to what makes you truly happy.

Here’s to a life that is in the shape of JOY from a distance and from up close reveals the ins and outs, the straight and crooked, and even the gnarly and wonderful aspects of a life composed of what’s important to YOU.

Cindy B Sullivan provides productivity, time management and organizational services to residential and corporate clients.  Contact [email protected] for more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation.