When it comes to living a “balanced life,” I am just “making it work” the best I can. If you are reading this, and you feel that you have it all figured out; then please, pretty please email me and let me know the secret to a balanced life ASAP. Thanks!
The conclusion I am at, at least in this moment anyway, is that as my amazing mom always says, “You do the best you can, and that’s all you can do.” And like the sign my amazing coach made for me reads, “Just FU@%ING Do It! I’m not going to be perfect, but I am really good!” Trying to perfectly balance my life, like walking on a beam or a tightrope, is not always a Zen experience, but I’m willing to consider that it’s possible to observe the near falls, fear of falling and anxiety of doing it right in a relaxed way. Honestly, I am not unattached though. I think pretending to be unattached in a Zen way is the worst thing I can do. I like to get real about my attachments. Maybe someday I will be truly unattached, but it’s not something I have been able to fake or force thus far, so I am stopping the effort. I do work to the very best of my ability all of the time. The balance I can find is doing my absolute best in a way that honors myself and everyone else, and then letting go once I have done my best.
Two years ago when I started my business, I had a bee in my bonnet about finding balance with my work. Truthfully, (and this is TOP SECRET) I wanted to preach to my old bosses about how they needed better balance in their lives. I created the title “Balance Consultant” for myself, and set out to save the business world one crazy, stressed out business owner at a time. I am fascinated by the drive we have to work ourselves to the bone disregarding our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual needs in lieu of “the cause” or “the end result.” Whether it’s money, reputation or altruism, it makes no sense to me on any level, and yet, I easily fall prey to our retarded work mentality that the more hours we put in at the office, the better business person, employee or office kiss-ass we are. I love this quote by the Dalai Lama…
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:
Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Since college, I have been obsessed with creating exactly the life that I want to live; which is supported by fulfilling work I love that is directly involved in making my community a kinder, more beautiful and more nourishing place to live, grow and thrive. These kinds of careers do not usually grow on Craigslist. Companies capable of paying me a living wage do not usually advertise this kind of work on the Careers tab of their website. If I want my life the way I want it, then I have to go out and “make it work!” as Tim Gunn would say.
As an employee, I was on my high horse, mostly resenting my bosses; a laundry list of reasons why I would run the company much better than they were running it. And yet….I was not running the company. I had accepted a job and I got paid to do what they said, when they said to do it. This, of course, pissed me off to no end, as I am a rebel to the core. No one tells me what to do & gets away without an eye roll, nose flare or some other passive-aggressive sentiment.
As my own boss, hired by one boss after another to create & implement marketing strategies, there are still communication struggles, unrealistic demands to be met on insane timelines, endless opportunities to be more clear and have better boundaries around my time and emotional involvement, the list goes on. I have created a sustainable situation for myself that involves a balancing act everyday. The most valuable part of my journey working for myself (and ALL of my clients) is that I have the experience of making it work for myself. I have no one to blame if I do not “make it work” or feel balanced in my life. I am in control (at least the illusion of control 🙂 and I can create opportunities or piss them away everyday to my heart’s content.
I think about balance all the time and I always ask other business people what it means to them. “How do you find balance in your life?” Please feel free to answer this question in the comments. I love any and all responses. My favorite answer to this question ever is from Hunter Lovins, CEO of Natural Capitalism Solutions, she says, “Beef & Whiskey!” is how she stays balance. Gotta love a woman like that!