“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already… J.K.Rowling
In my last missive I indicated that I would offer up some tips and strategies that could very well help you begin to achieve the elusive state of work life balance I believe we all seek. If you are like me I admonish you to take it one step at a time. Test and try out several of these ideas and see what works best for you.
A mentor of mine once told me to “look in before looking out.” Unsure at first what this meant I eventually learned that she meant that it is essential to ground oneself before you can achieve any momentum toward achieve the goals we set for ourselves. I have found that it is particularly true when seeking work life balance.
So the first tip I offer is for you to look inside yourself. Ask yourself, “What formed me? Why am I the way I am?” Coming to grips with “the horse you rode to town” and remembering, honestly, where you came from and the key lessons learned on your journey to today and the state of balance you are in is critical if you want to truly change things.
I challenge you to write down what you stand for and what you don’t. Be specific with examples of how you stand for truth, compassion, freedom as well as how you address issues such as bigotry, unethical practice, meanness, unfair treatment of employees. Ask yourself how on a daily, weekly or monthly basis you clarify and practice your principles. If you can’t answer these two simple questions of principle, I can tell you your work life balance is greatly impacted. In order to move forward it is important to be as comfortable in “your own skin” as you possibly can be. Living in silence and/or avoidance throws you into a state of unbalance that is at the root of the work life harmony you seek.
Second, remember that you were a kid once. You were full of hope, curiosity and more than likely creative rebellion. If you were like most kids, your imagination worked overtime without bounds. You broke rules here and there, and maybe you even colored outside the lines every now and then. Perhaps you enjoyed a sense of wonder about life and what lay out there. You loved to have fun and took life and fun seriously rather than yourself. I’ll bet you took a dare now and then, wandered around “the edge” periodically questioning why things were done the way they were. What happened? Do you still know “the child within”? Take time to visit that kid again. Oh sure he has grown up but I’ll bet that given the chance she would love to come and play more often. That kid inside still has yearns to learn to seek new quests and adventures. Why don’t you experience, express and enjoy life the way you once did? It’s not too late and childlike fun and playfulness are a critical pathway to work life balance.
Think about breaking away from routine every now and then. As Jennifer Louden said, “You cannot create from an empty, stressed, out of balanced world…. Your inner artist must be fed. (and we all have one). She must go spelunking crystal caves, gorge himself on gory fairytales, sip vintage port and curse like a sailor, sleep in a 300 year old pine tree, exult like 103 year old Beatrix Wood and …. Breakaway from routines.” Think of it this way, “what’s the difference between a rut and a grave? Answer: it’s a matter of depth.” Or is it the boring, numbing routine that you are in day after day? Carpe Diem! Seize the Day! Break out of one routine that is impeding your balance TODAY!
Last tip – BE FEARLESS! Never turn your back on your own ideas. No one knows you better than you, so trust yourself. Think about it, Marconi, inventor of the radio, was called a foolish dreamer. Edison a daydreamer, Einstein’s parents were told he shouldn’t bother with school. Instead of listening to the static of expert noise they found their balance and each in their own way changed the world. Steve Jobs had a conversation with his colleague John Lasseter that went something like this: No one really likes their cell phone. What if I make a phone that people love? What if you could have a 1000 songs and photos in your pocket? And what if you could watch movies or make your own on the phone?
Why am I telling you about Steve Jobs? Well, it’s not so much about Jobs as it is the question “What If?” Make yourself a promise now, take out a pen or pencil and jot down 10 of your most courageous, hopeful or even outrageous “what if’s” for achieving work life balance in your life right now. Go ahead, do it and when you are done, ask yourself “Why not? Why not now? Why not me?”
“With our thoughts we make our world, with our action we can change our world!” – Kusch