4th article of the Series
Myths usually are trouble makers. They seem true to us and we naturally follow our truth. However, when things don’t go as planned, we fail to identify these as the cause and keep repeating our mistakes. There are some major myths about balancing of life as well. When people begin thinking about balancing life and start working on it, these myths create havoc and confusion.
Balance means equal and hence, balancing life means distributing time equally between all areas of life. This is a myth.
Reality: There are times in your life when it’s vitally important to pay attention to your career. At other times, family concerns may be more important. Sometimes the important thing is education. Sometimes it’s putting back money for retirement.
I like to think of those choices as an act of juggling. Every now and then one of the balls you’re juggling will drop to the floor because you’re paying too much attention to the other balls. That’s OK for the time being.
But some of the balls you’re juggling are glass/crystal balls. If you drop, they break, and often can’t be put back together again. Relationships are often glass/crystal balls. There will always be a time when one area of our life requires more attention than other. Balancing life means to listen to and be aware of each area and its requirements. Balancing life means accessing the wisdom within us and allocating time and attention as required to each area.
o Balancing Formula Is Universal
Everyone seeks to balance life. If one person has cracked the code and found how to balance life, it is ok to apply the same formula in our lives. Since we all are human beings, the formula to balance life must be universally applicable. This is a myth.
Reality: Even though all of us are humans, we are unique individuals with unique life, priorities and needs. We can get inspired and pick and choose ideas to apply to our lives, we can learn from others success and failures; but we cannot do a copy and paste. A blind copy-paste will not work. You can say, to each, his own formula.
o Balance Is All About My Life
We think that when we learn to manage our time, balance our life, live life based on our priorities, we have succeeded. We need to focus on balancing only our life. This is a myth.
Reality: While predominantly balancing is about your life, an important aspect to balancing life is balancing others lives as well. Since we live in an inter-dependant world, lives tend to be inter-dependant and so does balancing. For instance, if life of our spouse or sibling is not balanced, sooner or later it will impact our life balance. Moreover, if their life imbalance is because of us, then it becomes our responsibility to make sensible changes in our life so that both lives can be balanced.
o Life is a collection of individual areas
It is possible to keep life in little boxes and keep each one under control. Life is a collection of individual areas. This is a myth.
Reality: Life is a giant system made up of interconnected parts that affect each other. Life is about trade-offs.
When you are devoting too much time (and only you know what is too much) to your career, every other aspect of your life is impacted. Every aspect of your life is intricately entwined with every other area. If you choose to devote no time to your personal growth, you will lack skill, understanding or wisdom that could contribute positively to some other aspect of your life.
If you take time to go to the gym, you can’t use that time to shop for groceries. The money you spend on self-development courses will probably affect what you spend on vacation or what you put back for the college fund for your kids. When you’re on a business trip, you can’t be at the dance recital.
Every time you make a decision to spend time in a certain way, like passing time reading this article, you have eliminated all other choices of time use now. Once you decide to go to a movie, you have eliminated the options of dinner, dancing, golf and so on. Once you decide to work late you have chosen to sacrifice something else. I don’t mean to be funny, but you can’t be in two places at once. You can’t be on vacation and at work too, although many people try. Once you choose one restaurant for dinner you have eliminated all others for that meal.
The trick is to make the choices yourself instead of letting them happen to you. Set your priorities. Make your choices in line with them. Many successful people, for example, believe that family time is important. They act on that belief by scheduling that time first, every year or month or week.
Next week, we will take a look at the Wheel of Life and initiate a discussion on the different dimensions that influence our lives. That overview will be the preface for the detailed review of balancing each one of the dimensions of the Life Wheel to follow in later articles of this series.
In the meantime, I welcome you to share your story on balancing your Wheel of Life in the comments section of this blog below and I promise to read your story.
Dr Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the Founder & President of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. Dr Surya has over 28 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. For more information visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.