If you’ve ever complained about a lack of balance or harmony in your life, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the final installment of our 4-part series on How to Negotiate Balance in Your Life. We’ve been offering up simple, game-changing strategies you can invoke to introduce more balance.
In Part I, we rekindle your desire to find purpose; addressed the importance of saying ‘no’; explored what you may be tolerating that’s sabotaging your chance at balance; considered who you need to negotiate with; and debunked the myth that there’s no such thing as work-life balance.
In Part II, we uncovered enhanced goal setting strategies, discussed being present, knowing your boundaries, and setting your priorities.
In Part III, we continued on our journey to discover balance by introducing simple time management strategies to up level your productivity and priorities focus. We covered how to engage time audits, energy audits, and time blocks to bring more harmony.
Today, we conclude our exploration to leave you with enhanced skills to find your personal balancing regime.
XI Recognize Your Blocks
Last week, in Part III, we introduced the idea of time blocks and how you could use them to improve your productivity and efficiency. Continuing with the theme of blocks, let’s turn our attention inward. What internal blocks may be holding you back from having the balance you deserve?
At some level, do you believe you don't deserve downtime? Or are you resistant to receiving from other people? We often end up self-sabotaging by convincing ourselves we need to take care of everything. Do the inner work necessary to challenge these limiting beliefs or balance will continue to elude you.
Or maybe you’re living in a ‘one day’ mindset, setting self-imposed conditions before you allow yourself to live into your dream (i.e. once the kids are in school, or once the kids are out of school, or once the kids are out of the house, or once I hit this particular target, or once I get this one more degree, or hit that marker). I call that living in a ‘one day’ mindset, because there will always be some other marker. Some other thing that allows you to put your dreams and your vision and your entitlement to balance on pause. I invite you to challenge that. Start living into your best life now.
What are your internal blocks? Identifying them is the first step to eradicating them. Flip the stories you’ve been telling yourself that hold you back from stepping into your most empowered self and life.
XII Control Your Environment
Are you intentional about managing your environment? First, look to your physical environment. A cluttered space can cause a cluttered mind which makes it challenging to find that gorgeous, elusive balance. Be mindful of your space. Create a space you enjoy being in. Spoil yourself. Treat yourself. Have an environment that inspires you to show up as the best version of yourself. Have somewhere in your house you love to unwind and relax. Be very mindful about your physical environment.
Also, as part of your environment, be mindful about who you have in your life. Ensure you surround yourself with people who are both inspired and inspiring, who inspire you to reach higher, to be better. I invite you to take a look at your inner circle. It is said that our success reflects the five closest people in our inner circle. Are the people currently in your inner circle people who may be holding you back?
Sometimes these are people who do it out of love, with the best of intentions, but they make us question ourselves, doubt ourselves, stop us from taking risks. They stop us from growing, keeping us in a comfortable space thinking they're keeping us safe when in fact they’re holding us back from achieving our full potential.
Be mindful of your environment. Surround yourself with people who challenge you, who stretch you, who encourage you to grow, because it's only when you do that, that you're going to be able to find balance.
XIII Push Outside Your Comfort Zones
Some of us convince ourselves that we've achieved a state of balance when we're really just sitting in our comfort zones. We don't feel challenged and so it feels safe. In fact, though, those comfort zones are self-imposed prisons. They keep us small. They constrict us. They shrink us. This is not balance – this is withering on the vine of life.
Instead, I invite you to be brave. Take your foot off your psychological emergency brake. As you take risks to learn new things, you gain competence. With that competence comes confidence. With that increased confidence, comes increased willingness to try more new things, which breeds ever-increasing competencies, in a gorgeous upward spiral. These increased competencies and confidence will allow you more choice, which in turn will allow you to better maintain a state of balance and harmony in your life.
Remember that you get what you tolerate in life. You get to determine your boundaries and your non-negotiables. And as you practice being able to give positive no’s in your life, you can open up more space, have more flexibility and start to practice the act of balancing of your life. This involves a negotiation with yourself, with those in your workplace, and with those closest to you in terms of family and friends.
I’d be remiss though if I didn’t point out that we are not machines. You’re human. Allow for that. This series is designed to give you some tips to step into a life with more balance. Take what works for you. This isn’t an all or nothing approach. Acknowledge that life happens. There will be necessary unanticipated interruptions. For example, my mom was diagnosed with dementia this year. There are times when I have to drop everything and tend to her needs. Or our one-year-old German Shepherd pup gets into mischief and I may have to deal with it in the moment (or my important documents may become his snack). I get it.
Life is for living, not sticking rigidly to a mandated compliance regime. Be sure to allow down time to just ‘be’. Schedule time for pleasure activities and also allow time for unscheduled moments. You don’t want to be scheduled 100% of the time. Give yourself the grace to be human and to enjoy this human experience.
I invite you to go forth and start negotiating the flexibility and balance you deserve. Maybe you haven't thought of it as a negotiation before. And if so, I have done my job at the very least in reframing the issue and increasing your awareness to better equip you to step into your new state of symmetry, stability, and steadiness.