I recently heard a famous self-help guru insist that balance is impossible, so we must give up the idea that we can have it. With all due respect to my esteemed colleague, I couldn't disagree more.
He defines balance as a state where nothing is happening. He's referring to the motionlessness that happens after you pour an equal weight of beads into the bowls on both sides of a scale.
While this is one form of balance, it's not the only one. And more importantly, I don't think it applies in this case.
The form of balance you and I can strive for—and attain every day—is the balance exhibited by a downhill skier or a ballet dancer. This is an elegant, exquisite form of balance in motion.
It's how we humans express balance. We have mastered the physical balance required to stand, walk, skip to my lou, and run. We also have the ability to create a similar sense of balance in our daily activities.
I'm talking about more than the balance between your work and personal lives. Balance is about the sense of fulfillment that comes from building your whole life around your deepest values. You're consciously choosing to invest your energy in the activities that make your life worthwhile.
Balance is a fluid movement. There's a flow to it that's palpable. You know when you're in that flow. Regardless of how you get into the flow or the specific task you're engaged in, the feelings associated with flow are freedom, excitement, eagerness, competence, fulfillment, happiness, joy and even bliss.
Ultimately, your feeling of balance stems from how you perceive the bigger picture of your life over an extended time. It's a process. It's your experience of how you choose to flow your time over weeks and months.
This is in stark contrast to the myth that you can only have balance when you carve out identical blocks of time for each priority every day.
The path to creating balance begins with becoming aware of how free—or not free—you are to devote time to the activities that matter most to you. If you don't have control over how your time is spent, you'll feel stuck and frustrated.
So identify some big ways and subtle ways you're giving control of your time to someone else. Question their power to dictate your actions. Look for opportunities to invest your time and energy in fulfilling your passions.
The next step in achieving balance is to be very clear about your values (which will include your passions). It's common to devote a lot of time to activities that aren't strongly valued.
Balance is unique to each of us, based on our individual set of values. Only when your values are clear will you be ready to begin the process of achieving true balance.
Today's Coaching Question: When you achieve balance, what will it look like and what will it feel like?
Judy Widener is a Certified Life Coach and author of Power For A Lifetime: Tools You Customize to Build Your Personal Power Every Day Of Your Life. You can sign up for Discovering Your Values, a 5-day e-course at no cost at http://www.myinnerfrontiers.com. Her passion is assisting her clients to discover what is most important to them, then to create more balance and satisfaction in their lives. Empowerment Life Coaching is a comprehensive program that teaches clients simple ways to build their personal power and overcome obstacles to achieving their dreams. Judy has coached more than 600 people over the past 13 years. Her website is http://www.myinnerfrontiers.com.