That’s the easy part. The hard part is to do something about it, to make some life changes – lasting changes. To re-establish your energy balance, not work-life-balance, you instinctively want to remove things from the “heavy side” of the imbalance. I found this to be ineffective and a new sucker. I shifted my focus to the other side – to add things to my “lighter” side, my fuelers. Being in hard lockdown with your partner, or family, for 24-hours a day makes this an interesting experiment which presents many challenges, but mostly wonderful opportunities for change. “Small steps, consistently,” became something we tackled both jointly and individually. It started with something very simple – boardgames. Immersing yourself in something completely unknown, with new rules and structures became a wonderful outlet for our competitive natures. We acquired new skills, lost track of time, engaged in a physical challenge, improved our strategic thinking to outsmart each other and ended up having a lot of fun! This became the start of our weekend routine and soon we collected and mastered at least ten of the top global board games. My “lighter” side started filling up, with ease. The key is not simply adding new things but maintaining consistency in what you add. I kept adding new, deliberate activities, which became new habits, which became new life choices. For me, the real achievement of balance is about the energy being in balance, not the separation of work and “life”.
The interesting thing about feeding your fuelers is that you don’t have to remove all the suckers. I still have days filled with nine back-to-back meetings, hard conversations, difficult people and situations to deal with. With a consistent library of fuelers to use, I have more perspective to approach these challenges with a calm clarity, leaving me with a feeling of control and inner peace, and less guilt about not living up to others’ expectations and demands.
Embracing chaos might be the journey you have to take to finding peace.
The dictionary tells us that balance is “an even distribution of weight… in which different elements are equal or in correct proportions”. Don’t make the wrong assumptions of what these elements should be.