I’ve a confession to make: I don’t spend much time thinking about ‘balance’. To start with, I don’t like the implied superiority of assuming we have a ‘balanced’ opinion, or the implication that ‘we need to keep a balance here’. Even when I’m riding my motorbike, I only have to consider balance when the bike is going oh-so-slowly or is stopped. The moment the wheels turn and we’re moving forward, balance happens by itself, quite naturally. In fact the only times the bike has become unbalanced and fallen over has been when it was stopped.
Now there’s a thought.
Let’s go one step further. The most powerful moments in the histories of both the world in general and my life in particular have been those times when something has happened (good or bad) to profoundly upset the balance, to over-write the status-quo, to destabilise daily life.
Those are the times when our lives take on new learning, we develop at a faster rate, find out about our strengths and weaknesses and grow as individuals. We learn that stability is not a human right or even a human need.
Progress is the process of moving beyond where I am now to a better place, and a better one after that. Of course I’ll only do that when I know where I want to go and am not afraid to go there.
This is regularly reflected in the lives of many of my clients who want me to coach them. It isn’t that they’re troubled by a lack of balance; it is that they feel stuck, trapped by fears. Their lives have become stable, so they deliberately invite in someone beyond themselves to invade their life and thinking, upset the balance and overcome the fears, so that progress is restored again.
So what of the ‘work-life balance’ debate? Is ‘balance’ an enemy or a friend? Personally I think it is much more a distraction. It is also an indicator of a lack of personal vision, an absence of a sense of purpose, a presence of fear.
Focused, passionate people are not distracted by concerns about balance. They know that balance mitigates against progress.
If you are concerned about ‘work-life balance’ at the moment, step back and ask questions like these instead: What is my purpose on this earth? What progress am I making in the fulfilment that purpose? What needs to happen to take my progress in the fulfilment of that purpose into another league, two, three, (eight?) levels higher. (Big steps are often much more satisfying than little ones.)
Of course you could always email me and we’ll find out together. It’s funny, isn’t it, how September is the natural month to think again about your sense of purpose. I’m enjoying it.