What are you willing to let go in order to create more work-life balance? Instead of work-life balance some of you may want to consider, what are you willing to let go to create a more rewarding or fulfilling life? Another possibility may be what are you willing to let go to achieve balance in a particular situation or setting? Balance is somewhat of a misleading term as many people define balance as equal parts. Yet a sense of balance is often obtained from satisfaction even with quantitatively disproportioned amounts. Striving for some sort of equilibrium is very similar to the journey to success; it’s a process of letting go. Letting go is a form of self-care which is important in being effective, especially this time of year.
This time of year tends to add a number of obligations to an already seemingly taxed list of duties. The word seemingly is used intentionally as often a strained schedule is the result of ineffective skill sets or poor self-care that simply become more intensified under pressure. Ironically, even then, most people are unable to draw the correlation between what they’re doing and what they’re experiencing.
We know proper self-care is important. We even claim to want to take better care of ourselves. One issue with knowing and wanting, they will never produce results. Of course they are necessary components; however, ACTION is the element that will lead to progress.
At our organizations, rarely are people paid for what they know, rather for how they perform. As strange as this may sound, it’s the same in our personal life. Whether professional or personal, payment can show up as chaos, blaming, poor communication/relationships, stress (including health and weight issues), procrastination and tardiness, apathy, self-doubt, “not my job syndrome”, morale issues or overwhelm.
“What?”, you say, those are hardly desirable outcomes. Agreed. Yet those are the exact “rewards” we get when we attempt to ignore what we know in our gut, make poor choices and neglect to take care of ourselves. An inability to value self is typically the root cause of these outcomes. Ironically, we want others to value us so we can feel valued and then treat ourselves valuable. Even though for some twisted reason many of us believe that reasoning to be completely logical, that approach is entirely backwards! We must first value ourselves.
It has been said what we least feel like doing is what we most need to do. For example, maybe we least feel like exercising because we’re fatigued, yet exercise is known to elevate energy. Maybe we least feel like doing a particular task, yet procrastinating causes stress and overwhelm. Maybe we least feel like taking responsibility, yet avoiding it causes self-doubt and apathy.
Another way to look at this concept is to consider the opposite, what we most feel like doing is what we least need to do. For example, maybe we feel like being a couch potato which causes lethargy. Maybe we feel like hitting or physically harming someone (the person you could do without) which has a variety of consequences. Maybe we berate ourselves which lowers our confidence and ability to perform. You may notice the word “feel” is omitted from the last sentence. Consciously you’d probably think no one feels like berating themselves. On some level however there is a degree of satisfaction. It’s interesting too, how we question “who feels like berating themselves,” yet many of us become very versed at this detrimental technique.
Letting go is essential to drawing more of what we want in our life and though an avid proponent of letting go of tangible items, the greater challenge can be letting go of the intangible, such as ineffective habits and excuses.
Life-long learning as you’ve heard me emphasize before, is the way to transform any undesirable behaviors. Learning for some indicates we have to be taught something new. However, true learning or a learned skill is when we can apply a concept. So rather than adding to a repertoire of “been exposed to” what about taking an idea you know and strengthening your ability in the application. Practice is the necessary path to successful implementation. For many, a struggle along the way is the willingness to be less than perfect until becoming proficient. Even though you may be far from ideal, what progress can you make with a little effort?
Consider striving to improve on any of the following simple reminders; that are beneficial this, and any time of the year . . .
- Pause, breathe, then respond
- Take a break . . . even a few minutes can have a significant impact
- Build into your schedule interactions with people or activities that are uplifting to you
- Disperse tasks you dislike to do amongst what you enjoy doing
- Note how you feel and what you need during times that have you on edge. Whenever possible make a change in that moment, or take a step in that direction as soon as possible.
Practice one or two of the items listed above as opposed to attempting to elevate your game in all areas all at once. A little at a time is the best way to make any improvement as that approach helps to solidify the changes along the way. Have fun; make it a game by seeing how many times you can apply an idea in a day. Then see if you can improve by one additional application the next day. Which one or two have you chosen to put your focus? Share them here.
Happy Holidays . . . and blessings for progress a little at a time!