Is it Better to Have Balance or to Be Aligned?
I have some news...
You may not like it.
And it may not sit well with you…but I am committed to sharing what I learn, so here goes…
For years, I have read books and articles, listened to podcasts and watched YouTube videos on the subject. And I have concluded that life balance is all hype and conjecture, and is not rooted in truth.
Please. Let me explain...
Balance defined is…stability, in the physical...impartiality, morally and politically…with money, an outstanding amount…and in mathematics, it is the state of equilibrium where mass or weight on either side of a scale is equal.
While stability is attainable. When people talk of pursuing balance, that is generally not their focus. We attempt to pursue every area equally with equal levels of intensity expecting equal success. The key word is equal.
When I had my first child, he was the center of our world. He was the only grandchild for his paternal grandparents. And my family had long awaited my plunge into motherhood. There was not a thing that he needed or wanted that was not promptly provided.
Then I had my second child.
And no matter how much I tried to strike a balance in my care of each child, the reality was (is) that an infant requires more time and attention than a toddler. There was no way they could each get equal care from mommy.
When I returned to work outside the home a few years later, I attempted to preserve some of our routines. And I beat myself up for losing touch with the minutest details of my children’s lives. I thought, I must be doing something wrong because I cannot seem to balance it all.
Not so, my friends.
The problem is in the insipid lie that we can balance, equally distribute the weight, of it all. We just do not have the capacity for it. In fact, research reveals that the pursuit of this form of “balance” translates into less success in all life areas.
The answer: ALIGNMENT.
This past week, I had a flat tire. It spurred me to look through our auto repair records because it felt like we were dealing with tires on this car annually. I was right. We have purchased five tires in five years. This time was number six. I began to consider why.
I have been consistent with oil changes and other maintenance requirements. However, I realized that I have not had the vehicle tires aligned with any regularity. Wheel alignment adjusts the positioning of the tires in relation to the road. Without alignment, the steering wheel vibrates, the car has uneven tire wear and drifts when you think you’re driving straight.
Light Bulb Moment: It is the same for my life.
How many times in my life have I drifted thinking that I was “driving” straight? Years wasted trying to balance everything, multitasking to a fault, chasing perfection yet harboring the recurring feelings of defeat…when I should’ve scheduled an alignment.
What does that look like?
It begins with clarity around my purpose and passions. For example, I am passionate about people fulfilling their dreams. I believe my purpose is tied to that passion. I want to see women (and men) live out their potential to its fullest. I believe that I am a way-shower, an equipper, a cheerleader for people ready to live out their genius.
Life is multifaceted. I could be hitting a ball out of the park in my home management, only to look closely at my business and see missteps and missed opportunities. I need to know where I am in every sphere of my life as a precursor to aligning it.
Assessment tools support the process. These types of tools give critical information to develop one’s self-awareness and direct the personal growth process. Listed below are a couple of popular ones.
Wheel of Life is used by many personal coaches including those trained by John Maxwell and Tony Robbins. This tool guides you to examine seven or eight (depending on the version) areas of your life to determine your success and satisfaction rating, on a scale of 1 to 10. Each score is plotted on a wheel segmented into categories of life, such as relationships, finances, physical, career, etc. It provides a visual representation that you can use to structure your personal development action plan.
LifeScore™ Assessment is an exclusive tool from Michael Hyatt. It branches into ten categories, like the Wheel of Life. This online quiz provides a score after a quick ten-minute series of questions. The assessment score is provided with suggested action items.
Level 10 Life is an action based tool popularized by Hal Elrod in his book, The Miracle Morning. Once you’ve identified where you are, this tool encourages you to make bold decisions that will move your above scores to level 10. It encourages you to identify 1 to 10 practices in each area that will contribute to this progress.
Alignment is individual, like personal development. It is idiosyncratic because it is based upon the path especially set by your purpose and passions that is unique to you. I encourage you to try the tools above but if they do not work for you. It’s the tool, not you! Develop your own way of assessing and monitoring your alignment in the key areas of your life. And give yourself time to grow. Bulbs planted in Autumn reveal their splendor in the Spring. So be patient with your growth process.
All of this requires courage…but I believe, if you're reading this, you have what it takes. And even when I don’t feel like it, I remind myself that I do too! 😉
Until next time…