For so many in entrepreneurial and business ventures, balance is your holy grail. It's as if there is this magical place in between work, family, and life, and when you land "there," everything will be OK. Your family will be happy, your business will be stable or even thriving, and overall, life will be great.
Except — that usually only lasts for about 10 seconds. Most of the people I know who are entrepreneurs and in leadership positions are dynamic creators. They're passionate about what they do and are willing to go above and beyond to make it happen.
When you strive for balance, you are looking to separate and control all the different areas of your life. Family goes here — for x number of hours. Work goes here — and you must leave it at the office. Thirty minutes for exercise. Eight glasses of water per day, and on, and on.
When I started asking myself the questions that no business coach would ever ask me, I realized that what I was trying to accomplish through balance was actually a thriving, dynamic, wildly creative life. When I started to allow my life to be out of control — rather than utterly in control — my business flourished like never before, my health improved, my kids got happier, and I began to have a life that I actually love.
What if your family, your health, your relationships, and your business — could actually all contribute to one another?
When we look at it in this light, we can consider questions like, what fun and creative business conversations can you have at the dinner table with your kids? Perhaps you could take phone calls while walking in nature? What if a day at the spa would actually give you the creative juice to go forth and rock your business like never before? (One of my favorite places to go when I need new ideas in my business is a spa!)
I'm not sure where this whole idea came from that we should have 27 areas of life that are all "separate but equal," but I know for me that my creative spark doesn't actually ignite only from 9 to 5. I'm writing this article at midnight. Not because I am stressed out and overworked but because I often get inspired late at night. I took a nap at dinnertime, went to brunch with a gaggle of friends and kids, and had conference calls on my patio while my boys were sword fighting on the lawn in front of me.
Is this piquing your interest? Here are some of the questions I started asking myself to create the life and the business I now have:
- What would actually be fun for me?
- Why am I here?
- What is the life I would truly love to live?
Turns out, the life I would love to live is not actually the life everybody else has told me I should want. The life I would love to live — and the business I would love to have — has possibility at the helm, allows me to have fun with my body, honors my family, and is a daily acknowledgment that joy is actually the source of a successful business that also works for me.
What if we didn't have to put business and money above everything else but rather could allow our businesses to thrive — and our money flows to increase wildly — the more fun we have, the more we include our bodies, and the more we actually have a life that we adore?
If you are in a state of overwhelm in your life and business or you're just looking for something that you may have thought balance would give you, try these three tools:
1. Before you start your workday, do something that truly brings you joy.
Whether it's moving your body, sitting quietly with your morning coffee, reading, or even creating art, your whole day just may be different if the very first thing you do is something that honors you.
Tip: It may be something different every day!
2. Make the question, "What would be fun for me?" your mantra.
And be willing to do what is fun and what excites you even if it doesn't make sense.
Tip: If something you do in your business is not fun for you, hire somebody to do it and see what happens with your bottom line! Often these "illogical" choices create so much more than we think they will!
3. Include your body in your business.
What would a spa day (or hour) create for you and your business? What would a yoga class or a great walk do for your clarity of mind? What if taking the time to honor your body in some way every day could actually make you more efficient and successful?
Tip: Try new things! You never know what is going to light you up on any given day!
What I have found as a single mom and entrepreneur is that the more balance I have tried to attain, the more stressed — and bored — I became. The more I acknowledge that my business and my life are not at odds — but are actually all part of a dynamic thing called living, the more fun I have, the less I feel like I'm working at all, and the more successful my business becomes.