One morning I woke up on the carpet. My back ironed straight. By then, I was used to starting the day feeling like that. I went to the kitchen and had a hasty breakfast before leaving.
As I was walking to the train station, I felt overwhelmed.
I hadn’t slept in a proper bed in weeks, and I was just hours away from having my own room again.
My life balance was gone.
I had given all my attention to one project, and shed most of whatever else I had: I lost weight, spent most of my money, ignored a lot of people, took others for granted, and postponed looking after myself.
As the Virgin Pendolino moved through the midlands, I looked out of the window at the grazing cows, and wondered what I had to show for it.
The importance of life balance
I spoke about having a single focus: one objective for each project, to which you can dedicate all your energy.
This is a powerful tool, but it can be very dangerous if you forget about the “multiple projects” bit.
I like to imagine life as standing on a tripod.
To keep any sort of life balance, you need to take care of all three legs: Health, Wealth, and Love.
Health is simple. Basically, look after yourself. You don’t need to become a track and field athlete. Just go for a walk every day, go to bed earlier, and cut down on sugary food (tip: most ready-made meals contain a pyramid of sugar).
Wealth gets a bit more complicated. You want to say yes to your lifestyle and goals without spending more than you can afford to (a big threat to your balance…literally). Ask for a raise, change jobs, start a side business, find more clients, freelance once a month – it’s all game.
Love is the most complicated: this includes all the things that make you feel amazing. Friends, hobbies, travelling, reading, sketching, family time, exercising, good conversations, relationships,…all those things that make YOU feel loved.
Like a tripod, if any of the three legs shortens, the whole thing moves closer to the floor.
If one leg is weak, the whole tripod is weak.
And if any of the legs gets too short, the whole thing collapses.
But here’s the good bit: when one leg grows taller, it carries the other two upwards in a positive cycle.
Enough talking about legs. I sound like James Bond after a few Martinis.
Whenever I ignored part of the tripod, I felt tired, unhappy, and unfulfilled. But when I balance the three, I am full of energy, and I feel positive and focused.
So every time I hear “I don’t have time for friends” or “exercising is not a priority right now”, I die a little.
Check this out.
And yet, we all get the same amount of time.
The problem is, we all like excuses, we use an “all or nothing approach”.
If I set the bar too high (so that it’s too much for me right now), it’s not my fault if I don’t do it.
It’s the easy way out.
Instead of “reading a book a month or nothing”, “running every day of the week”, or “sleep eight hours starting tomorrow” take smaller steps. Read 5 minutes a day, run once a week, go to sleep 15 minutes earlier.
You can always increase once you get comfortable with the change. The trick is to start somewhere.
Living a balanced life takes conscious effort, but it pays back tenfold in energy and positivity, and gives you momentum to go after your goals.
What is that one thing you can never make time for? Maybe it’s a positive habit you’ve postponed, or maybe it’s a goal that feels too big to start.
Send me an email and let me know, I’ll keep it between the two of us.