Finding the Balance of Life!
by Lynn Giuliani
Where is it? In our busy lives with demanding careers, children requiring us to go in a myriad of different directions, other family members, developing new business opportunities, and just plain living?
Finding the balance of life is a difficult quest. It reminds me of the book where’s Waldo, as we look from page to page searching for a guy in a striped shirt amongst a sea of activities, people, places and things. For over 15 years I’ve taught the class “Finding the Balance of Life”. In it we do an exercise where we look at our life from an aerial view, as if we were looking down on it from a helicopter. I’ve found this exercise to be enlightening for many people. We look at one’s level of satisfaction in six key areas of our life. The most important thing when completing this exercise is that you and only you determine your level of satisfaction in each of the six categories. If you are completely satisfied give yourself a full “piece of pie”. One person may feel quite content and happy with a certain level of activity or participation in their life and someone else may deem it to be not enough. Only you determine your level of satisfaction in each category and therefore the exercise becomes a personal measurement of your life.
Here goes. The first category we’ll talk about is financial. This represents all of the financial aspects of one’s life- the dollars we earn in our daily jobs, how we manage our investments or how disciplined we are in our spending or savings. The best example I can give is a woman that worked two days a week ordering supplies for a large corporation. She was completely content with the level of her income working part-time. As a young mother with children, she elected to work two days a week. Her husband provided a comfortable living. She gave herself a full piece of pie. In most goal setting people focus on this category alone and leave out the other five which are essential if we are going to create balance in our life.
The next one is physical. This represents how we care for our physical beings. The choices we make in our food intake, the exercise we participate in and essentially the way we take care of ourselves. One person may feel a need to exercise five days a week in order to reach a level of satisfaction, where someone else might be “proud as punch” to exercise 2-3 times a week at a whole different level. Once again only you determine your level of satisfaction.
The next category is social. This represents your social interaction. This is a very important part of one’s overall happiness and well being. Too many of us fall short in this category because we are putting too much of our energy into the financial and/or family category. When we spend time socially, which could include time with friends, a hobby, and many other things that we look forward to doing, it actually gives us more energy for the other aspects of our life. When we fail to take care of ourselves, it is difficult to have the energy and stamina to take care of others.
The next category is family. Family is all important. It’s a critical part of our overall lives, happiness and focus. Rate the level of satisfaction with your family interaction. One person in a class years ago had this area completely full and fell short in others. It was easy to see her large family demanded so much time that other areas suffered.
Mental. This category represents what we do to essentially feed our minds. How are you spending your time? Is it watching Raymond on television or reality shows? Or, are you devoting time to reading and continuing your education?
The last category is by far the most personal - spiritual. To many it means one’s religion, to others it could be the appreciation of nature and others still what we do to give back to our family and community. Once again, it is your level of satisfaction and happiness with each category that is measured.
So, take a moment and fill evaluate your level of satisfaction in each of these categories... If you had drawn a pie chart with six equal portions and colored in each “piece of pie” based on your level of satisfaction, how balanced is your pie? In most cases people are not balanced with too much emphasis in one or two categories (often financial/work) and not enough in others. Determine how you can add more emphasis in some areas and tweak others for more balance.
The next part of this exercise is very important. Select one measurable goal, (short term, one year or less), for each category. Keep this visual representing your life and your priorities near you so that you have a constant reminder of how you can personally reach a level of balance in your life. In my class, I often tell a story about a woman who left class crying when she completed her chart. The only category that was full was the financial and she virtually had no other areas of balance in her life. When I visited with her she shared openly some of the challenges she had since she her divorce. She was frustrated that she continued to smoke, had no exercise program, limited family interaction and no social life. The wonderful part of this story was that with just some small tweaking her whole life changed. She started walking on her lunch hour with a group of ladies which represented both the physical and social aspect. She quit smoking helping her physically. She joined a line dancing club, (one of the activities she always enjoyed with her former husband), met a new fellow and changed her life. Perhaps the most rewarding part of this story was, as a result of getting more balance in her life, her relationship with her son started to flourish and the family aspect once again became positive for her instead of a negative. I shared this class with her over 10 years ago and had the occasion to check with her not long ago. She still keeps her chart in her cubicle as a reminder of having balance in her life.
Here are just a couple of tips that I’ve picked up from other people on how to set important priorities and keep the balance of their life. Another speaker schedules family activities first and business second whenever possible. Each month she and her husband get out the calendar and mark down all the important school and life events with regards to their family and then she schedules her speaking business. Family time is the top priority. Many people I know have a routine of going to the gym and incorporate a healthy style of living that has brought wonderful benefits to their overall life.
I hope you find this helpful. Each time I teach this class to others I am reminded of the things I personally need to do for myself to continually stay in balance. A dear friend once told me that I needed to develop the same passion for things other then work that I have for my work. A wise recommendation!
Call Lynn at 360 319-6776 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
She will gladly help you with your sales success through individual sales coaching, classroom training or custom designed programs.
* Featured Books of the Month*
*Feature Book *
The Four Agreements
-by Don Miguel Ruiz
Book Description: Amazon.com
Sit at the foot of a native elder and listen as great wisdom of days long past is passed down. In The Four Agreements shamanic teacher and healer Don Miguel Ruiz exposes self-limiting beliefs and presents a simple yet effective code of personal conduct learned from his Toltec ancestors. Full of grace and simple truth, this handsomely designed book makes a lovely gift for anyone making an elementary change in life, and it reads in a voice that you would expect from an indigenous shaman. The four agreements are these: Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best. It's the how and why one should do these things that make The Four Agreements worth reading and remembering. --P. Randall Cohan
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TODAY'S ACTION PLAN
Take a good look at the balance you have in your life right now and make plans to change where you are out of balance.