Danielle LaPorte wrote a powerful post about why she doesn’t want life balance. She makes excellent points and I agree with many of them, yet my conclusion is different. I still love the term life balance and prioritize balance as a value in my own life. I still want to help my time management coaching clients come to greater balance as well if that is their desire.
The post got me thinking, though, about some of the pitfalls I’ve seen in how people approach the concept, and I decided I want to share my thoughts on what life balance means to me. Here’s what I think it is… and isn’t.
A balanced life is a life where you live your own values and priorities… not someone else’s.
A balanced life is a life where you are aware of how you use your time and energy and how you want to be using them… so that you can make changes.
A balanced life is a life of fully conscious choices… not easy, safe choices.
A balanced life gives time and energy to the full diversity of what matters to you… but doesn’t necessarily allow you to give equal attention to every thing each day, week or month.
A balanced life is supported by taking good basic care of yourself… but doesn’t mean you won’t challenge or push yourself to the edges of your endurance at times.
A balanced life is full of many emotional states… it’s not always peaceful and serene, nor always free of stress, struggle or overwhelm.
A balanced life is still messy and imperfect at times… just like everything else in this world.
A balanced life looks different for everyone because we all have such different needs and desires… there’s no simple one-size-fits-all solution.
A balanced life is dynamic and ever-evolving, growing and changing as you grow and change, constantly being re-created… not a static thing that you achieve just once and then have only to maintain.
Balance in life is about finding flow and joy in the many things you do, and feeling as if the pieces form an amazing and highly varied collage that you love, even though they don’t fit neatly together like the ones in a puzzle.
It’s not the balance of two objects of equal weight sitting on a scale. It’s the balance in movement that a trapeze artist or a tightrope walker finds, a balance of sweeping motion and constant shifting adjustments and adventure. It’s not about never falling down. It’s about having the roots and foundation laid down so firmly that you can confidently trust in your ability to regain your footing.
If you don’t pay deliberate attention to balance, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the full wide range of things that matter to you. You can become mono-focused and gradually yet dramatically skew your use of time and energy towards just a few aspects of your life. If you weren’t looking, by the time you realize something’s not working, you’re already close to or beyond a breaking point. You may even have lost something or someone important through neglect… and it might be too late to fix it.
I think I feel some more posts coming on this topic in the future, about how to assess your life balance and how to bring yourself back to balance if you’ve gotten badly out of whack.
How do you define life balance? Do you seek balance in your life or do you feel it’s a concept that isn’t helpful to you?