Balance is not something you find, it's something you create. (Jana Kingsford)
Living a balanced life is something we all naturally desire. There used to be, and still is, a lot of discussion about Work-Life balance, but more than ever the attention has shifted towards Whole-Life Balance as the key for happy living. Whole-Life balance is not related to time and task management, it is not about dividing life between work and life, but instead it is about looking about seeing your life as a whole, with its various parts integrating with one another and contributing to the whole. Whole-life balance is not only measured in time slots, but also in energy. One part of your life can fuel the other parts.
Balanced living is all about knowing yourself and taking care of yourself. It is about embracing your authentic self and being conscious and intentional about your choices in life. It is about knowing what you need for feeling happy and fulfilled, but also noticing when you are off balance. It is about respecting your mind, body, heart and soul. It is about prioritising self-care and living in a flow. And of course, it is about cultivating the aspects of life that bring you more joy and fulfilment.
Each one of us has a unique formula for happy living. Our core values differ and the value and meaning we give to different aspects of life is far from being the same. Once you take time to think about yourself, you will most definitely know the unique combination of values and areas of focus in life important to you. Creating "balance" has not much to do with calculating "hours". Instead it involves a much wider range of scales to measure (intensity, impact, joy etc). It is all about knowing what matters to you, and once clear about this, bringing more of it into your life. And of course, gaining clarity about the importance and interconnections of different areas of your life is one of the foundational pillars of personal leadership. Once you fully know how to lead yourself, you will naturally inspire and impact others around you too.
Brendon Burchard has beautifully said that "Most people aren't “out of balance,” they're in distraction." I agree. I believe that most people have not taken enough time for self-reflection, for listening to their heart and inner wisdom, thus not living fully consciously and intentionally. This way it is easy to fill your life with all kinds of noise (TV, social media, achieving golden stars out of alignment, expectations of others etc.), while feeling overwhelmed and struggling for making sense of it all.
"Sometimes it's not about balancing your life;
it's about balancing your mind despite the chaos."
When people feel stuck, dissatisfied, out of balance it is easy to start blaming all kinds of external circumstances (long working hours, logistics, your boss, your mom, the government etc). In the midst of a stressful cycle or season of overwhelm it is easy to start reacting towards situations and people, it is easy to take impulse decisions and possibly create more tension and confusion in unnecessary places. However this is exactly that moment when you should step back, take a deep breath and start seeking for clarity, wisdom and guidance from within. When you should listen to your intuition and your body. It is in that space of deeper connection and alignment with yourself, where the balance and key to your happiness lies.
Creating Your Own Formula of Balanced Life
The first step to take is to gain some clarity about yourself and what matters to you. Get curious about your values and the true desires of your heart. Start by thinking what are your core values (e.g. honesty, curiosity, freedom etc.), the guiding principles and driving forces of your life . After exploring your values, move on to ask from yourself what balance means for you and what is it that you really want from your life. Let your imagination flow - having a vision is an important starting point for every change. Finding answers to the questions below is a great starting point:
How would living a balanced life look like for you?
How would you want to feel and what experiences would you like to have?
Who would you need to become to live that balanced life?
Who else would benefit when you were living a balanced life?
Our lives are made of many different aspects, which all play an important role in our wellbeing and happiness. Each area of our life needs our time and attention and each element is an important part of our WHOLE. Some parts provide us with safety and stability, while others fill us up with joy, energy and meaning. There is no “one-size-fits-all” for living the life. We all are unique.
However it is easy to get lost in the middle of the busy of life. It is easy to fill the days with "urgent" matters while leaving the "important" ones waiting. The secret for balanced life and for moving towards your dreams is all about making space for things that truly matter and feed your soul.
It is also good to remember that "life has seasons" and things change. And this is okay. It is okay if you have to rebuild your balance or if you temporarily have to focus on some parts of your life more than on the others. I am myself currently in the midst of one of these crazy seasons that fully shook up my life, moving in spring 2020 from 2 kids to 4 (with arrival of twins), exactly when the pandemic hit the world and our hospitality business entered crises. It has not been easy at all to rebuild the balance, but I am on my way. If there is anything that has helped me, it has been about self-awareness, getting clear about the basics and taking care of myself. It has been about seeking for wisdom and strength from within.
While sharing a little bit of my personal experience, I have no doubt that the pandemic has shaken up (similarly or much worse) the lives of so many other people. Sending out some love to all.. Just remember, it is totally fine that sometimes you need to nurture some areas of your life more than others in order to maintain your balance. And sometimes you are work in progress, on your way to achieve the balance.
Creating Your Wheel of Life
There is nobody else in this world knowing better than yourself the most important aspects of being you and your life. Nobody else really knows what is it that you need for feeling happy and fulfilled, for living your life with meaning and purpose. A wonderful way to look at your life as a "WHOLE" is to use the "Wheel of Life" (also known as "Life Balance Wheel") exercise. It is such a simple tool, yet with such profound impact. Mapping out the different aspects of your life on a wheel provides you with a visual tool to look at your life and the balance between its different elements.
If I was to draw my Wheel of Life, it would certainly have on it my family, my friends, my health and self-care, along with my business (the hospitality one) and my coaching journey. It would also have personal development, with some reading, writing and researching. Definitely also travelling, cultivating connection with my birth-country and possibly some "magic" (in form of connection with nature and spirituality). The last one is yet to explore and cultivate further. I quite believe it is exactly how Tony Robbins puts it "If we´ll believe in magic, we will live a magical life." Oh yes!
I invite you also to try out this exercise! I promise, it will take only few minutes of your day, but might give great insights in return and change your life forever!
1) Draw your Wheel of Life, start by dividing the wheel into segments (about 8, or less or more if needed) and label each segment with an important area or element of your life. While you can use some general categories, I strongly believe that each one of us is unique, thus encouraging you to take some time to think about it. What elements already do, or you would like to, make part of your "WHOLE"? And of course, keep in mind that energy flows where your attention goes. What do you want to see growing? What could give you more joy and meaning in life?
2) On a scale 1 to 10 (1 being the lowest in the centre, 10 being the highest, the outer edge) score each segment of your life regarding "how satisfied you are" (draw an inner circle according your scores). You can colour the areas if you wish.
3) Sit with your Wheel and notice what do you see and feel:
What do you notice? Are there any patterns? How are the different areas balanced?
Is there any one area which, if it were to shift towards more satisfaction, would impact positively also other areas?
4) Ask yourself what needs to be done to increase your satisfaction with each area?
I am quite sure that completing this exercise will make you think deeper about your life. It will bring an extra dose of self-awareness and hopefully few important insights for moving towards living a balanced life. And of course if you are somebody that needs proper plans and goals and action steps, the Wheel of Life is a great starting point for that too. Once understanding what your WHOLE is made of, and in what areas you want to improve, you simply have to brainstorm some action steps about how it would be possible to increase your satisfaction and what needs to be done. You can revisit your wheel any time for inspiration and motivation.
Now that you have read this post, you should definitely have a better idea about how to create more balanced life for yourself. It starts by increasing your self-awareness and becoming clear on your values and desires. Once knowing this, it is easier to focus on self-care and nurturing the aspects of life that matter you the most. It has little to do with time management, but quite a bit with managing your priorities and focus, bringing more joy and meaning into your days. The Wheel of Life exercise is a quick and easy way to have a holistic look at your life at any given time! Make sure to download your free worksheet!
And.. why not to book a free coaching call with me!?
Let´s do the wheel together and prepare you for having a fabulous year 2022!
It´s just one decision away to fully start showing up for your life & yourself!