You are a multidimensional individual – boardroom superstar, queen of your castle, trusted advisor AND weekend warrior. But how are you able to do it all? How do you bring your “best-self” to each endeavor?
Quite often, the solution lauded to maintain a joy-filled life amid all the roles, duties and responsibilities before you is to establish balance. This attempt to preserve your sanity focuses on finding just the right ‘mix’ of work, family time, self-care, spiritual practice, etc. It is an exercise in stability, requiring you to create an equilibrium between all the things that make you, YOU.
Couple your 4x/week yoga with job requirements…proportionately schedule extracurricular activities for your school-aged kiddos with your household chores…carefully orchestrate your “free time” to ensure you are well enough to do all the things that are required of you!
That’s a lot of juggling, shifting and cramming, don’t you think? Sure, you could do it. You’ve done it before – that infamous balancing act. No matter how precarious it got, you somehow made it work.
But balance is difficult to establish — and even more tenuous to sustain. Travel back with me, for just a moment, to those days in the school yard. Recall when you and your pals used to play on the teeter-totters. Two people would get on, one at either end. Rarely was the pair able to achieve balance, even in that simple playground pastime. Either one side was too heavy, or a sudden jolt of energy propelled the other to the top. In the rare instance that you achieved balance, it was short-lived and likely took concerted efforts from both parties (and maybe help from some friends, as well) to maintain just the right stance. One false move and the scales could shift, sending you skyrocketing — while your friend plummeted to the ground, with a fanny-bruising thud!
So why is balance so fervently sought after in our modern lifestyles? There must be a better way.
There is. Forget “balance.” Instead, find your rhythm!
Our natural world is full of rhythm. There are examples of daily rhythms, monthly predictable patterns, and seasonal and annual recurring sequences. These rhythms seamlessly flow at given intervals.
So is the case with your life. Your days, weeks and seasons ebb and flow with times of vigorous activity followed by periods of rest and recharge. CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group William Vanderbloemen maintains that in work and life, surges will come, bringing with them times of “tremendous stress and hard work.” In healthy life rhythms, these surges are followed by periods of rest and renewal.
It’s time to embrace the natural cadence of your live and learn to live well. But how?
- Discover your life’s rhythm. There are daily, weekly and seasonal rhythms unique to your life and the various dimensions in which you operate. The daily rhythm of a working mother with preschoolers is different from a single entrepreneur. The CPA and the local retailer experience client demand in different seasons based upon when their products or services are needed. That’s perfectly okay! It’s most important to be aware of what your unique life rhythm is, at what points your dynamics shift, and when different facets of who you are should take priority.
- Own your rhythm. Once you have identified the tempo at which your life moves, put that valuable information to work for your benefit. During times when deadlines or commitments are intensified, ensure you have the space, energy and resources necessary to execute well and accomplish the tasks at hand. Be firm in setting boundaries to support operating at the rhythm that the current period requires. As the rhythm slows, continue to maintain appropriate parameters to ensure you’re embodying your “best self.” Remember, no two life rhythms are the same. Yours is particular to you. It is valid and beautiful and worthy of honoring and protecting. Own your personalized rhythm and live it out in a way that’s undeniably yours.
- Make decisions informed by your rhythm. Once you understand and live out your rhythm, let it inform your decision making. It can essentially act as a filter through which you determine how to focus your time and energy. As time management coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders suggests, “rhythm on a monthly, weekly and daily basis can create both the order and flexibility you need for your work and time to flow in harmony.” Choose wisely to ensure you’re operating as your best self in every aspect of your life.
When you embrace the rhythm of your life, flexibility, freedom and productivity are unleashed. Take the time to identify what your rhythm is in relation to daily, weekly and seasonal responsibilities and commitments. Knowing this will help you make key decisions on where and how to invest your energy and time, revealing the joy-filled existence you were made for!