Balance is interesting. Most of us want to live a balanced life. Meaning we want to have it together in all the areas of life.
We have all seen the examples of the movie star with the great career, but the rest of their life is a total mess. It could be the athlete, the business person or the mom. The point is all of us have multiple areas of life that we want to excel in, but that isn’t always easy.
I think it helps to start with how we view balance. When you think of balance, what do you think of? For many, the idea of balance is perfectly in the middle. The idea that all areas are equally thriving at the same time. This is perfection. This would be balance.
If that is our view of balance, we will continuously fall short of it and live in frustration. I don’t believe that definition of balance is possible.
I prefer to view balance like riding a bike. While it may appear to be perfect especially as we pick up speed and momentum, the reality is we are constantly making adjustments from one side to the other. We are shifting back and forth to keep from falling off to one side. When we are moving slow these shifts are very obvious but they become more subtle the faster we go. There are endless examples, but this is a principle of balance. It is back and forth making constant adjustments and corrections to maintain what we call balance.
There are times in life that a certain area may require more attention to shift the momentum in that direction. A person gets a wake up call that it is time to make their health a bigger priority. Another realizes he better start paying more attention to his marriage. Another wakes up to discover he is out of a job and finding another becomes most important.
This is how life works. This is what balance really looks like. So what does being out of balance look like? It is when we are so focused on one area maybe because it is going so well that we don’t shift our focus back. This is very easy to see in others. It is not always so easy to see in ourselves. I think this why balance can be difficult.
How do you view balance? When was the last time you shifted your focus?
I have worked with and run sales organizations for my entire adult life. There is a question that always comes up. You can’t escape it. It doesn’t matter the industry. The question will always be asked…
“What does the average person do?” or “What does the average person make?”
I’ve heard it so often that it is difficult to patiently give a reply. Why are we so obsessed with average?
The average person is out of shape.
The average person is broke and in debt up to their eye balls.
The average marriage ends in divorce.
The average sales person struggles and eventually quits.
The average new business won’t even exist in 5 years.
Average is a terrible thing to aim for. If average is our plan, we shouldn’t even do it. I would say I’m an average chess player, but chess isn’t that important to me. It is something I do very rarely for fun. It is better than watching TV even if I’m just average. That’s OK. It doesn’t mean much to me.
For anything important, we should avoid average. The better questions are, “Who is succeeding? What are they doing?” Then let’s aim at that. Sure, we may fail. We may not be at their level YET. But we can aim at it. We can measure and improve a little each day. If we do that, we will rise above the average.
It seems almost all health experts have different opinions. There are certainly a lot of common themes that all the experts agree on like eat more organic green vegetables. No one really denies that is a good idea.
Some will boast of the health benefits of being a vegan while others will sound just as convincing on why we should live on a high protein meat diet.
Many promote the health benefits of vitamins and nutrition while others say it is wasted money and does nothing for your overall health.
This can cause us to just think, “What is the point? I could die tomorrow.” And therefore, we don’t worry about our health because we aren’t sure if it makes a difference anyway.
There really isn’t anything we can do to guarantee that we live longer. We can try, but we all know our time is limited and we don’t know how long we have.
So what if energy was our goal?
I don’t mean the fake and temporary energy that we get from a Starbucks or Monster energy drink. I mean real, consistent energy throughout the day. What if that was our goal?
Maybe we don’t know if the vitamin regime that we take will add any extra years to our life, but do we have better energy throughout the day when we take it?
Maybe exercising in the morning doesn’t extend my lifespan, but do I feel more alive the rest of the day if I do it?
What if we made energy the goal? I think it helps us cut through the confusion on what we should do. At least it does for me.
What gives you more energy?
Why is it that we push back against the simple plans but gravitate towards the complicated?
If we have something we want to achieve we tend to push back against the simple strategy. Surely, it needs to be more complex. We need to use a strategy that almost no one has ever thought of or maybe only the most successful have and that is their secret.
Could it be the most successful just execute? I was speaking to someone I really respect several years ago and I noticed he had lost a lot of weight and was looking really good. I asked him what he had been doing. His response was so simple. “Yea, I’ve just been eating less.” I kept waiting for the complicated, long answer on why his plan was better than all the others. Turns out it was a pretty simple strategy. He didn’t even have to sign up for a course to do it.
Don’t most of know this? We can all get healthier if we just EAT LESS and MOVE MORE.
Deep down most of us know that works, but why do we insist on the complicated? Maybe it is because if we find a complicated plan and it doesn’t work, we can blame the plan? We can always say that we didn’t fully understand it or that it wasn’t the right plan for us. So then we can turn our focus on finding the next plan.
The good news is capitalism is alive and well. There are endless entrepreneurs out there to sell us a complicated strategy whether it is fitness, business or anything else.
Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to ignore the simple strategies. The only challenge is then we may not have anything to blame but ourselves if we don’t do it.
Maybe it is a sign that I’m getting older. I don’t think proper sleep was something I thought much about in my 20’s.
Now, I consider a good night sleep one of the foundations to a great day. In fact, I think of sleep as the starting point of my day. If some one asked, “How do you like to start your day?” My answer would be “With a good night’s sleep.” Yes, that is followed by my normal morning routine, but a great day starts with good sleep.
Think about the days when you get hardly any sleep. You may have great plans and intentions for that day, but isn’t it hard to be your best on those days? Don’t you find your patience with other people just isn’t what it should be?
We can’t get great rest every night. Life happens. Some times we have to push through with little to no sleep. But at least we should try.
I’m not a health expert. I just try to pay attention.
Do I have better days when I start them well rested?
How much is too little (for me) and how much is too much (for me)?
What are the little things that I do at night (things I can control) that tend to keep me up?
What foods that I eat tend to mess with my sleep?
Do I get more consistent sleep if I always wake up at the exact same time in the morning (and try to go to bed at the same time)?
These are some of the questions I like to ask. We are all unique, but I do believe we all have better days when we start them well rested.