We all strive for that “balanced life”, don’t we?
We all want that peace between our work life and our own “real” life. We want to spend equal amounts of time on each with neither infringing on the other.
After reading this chapter in Gary Keller’s book – “The ONE Thing”, I am thrilled to tell you that we no longer need to worry about staying in balance. We can now QUIT TRYING to have balance in our lives!
Because it is not attainable.
Laws of Physics won’t let it happen.
Actually – balance is an act of balancing. Continually adjusting. The closer we want to keep our lives in the median area the more minor adjustments need to be made more and more often. In reality, our lives NEED to be out of balance from time to time in order to be successful.
Gary Keller states: “The act of living a full life by giving time to what matters is a balancing act. Extraordinary results require focused attention and time. Time on one thing means time away from another. This makes balance impossible.
The common complaint is “I need more balance in my life” is actually a plea for what is missing in our lives.
Our work life is not linear – and our real life is not linear, and neither the twain shall be linear together. They both oscillate back and forth and both require different load demands from us at different times.
So – what does this look like?
Imagine we have a dashed vertical line down the middle of the page with two solid vertical lines on each side of this middle line – one line representing our work life and the other representing our real life. When we devote a lot of time to the work side it will jut out to the work side of the center line causing an imbalance since less time will be spent on the other real life line. This can also occur when we spend more time on our real life and less on work life. This oscillates back and forth, left and right of the dashed middle median line.
Living too close to the middle means that you cannot give any significant length of time to any one thing. Everything gets shorted.
Keller goes on to state: “Knowing when to pursue the middle and when to pursue the extremes is in essence the true beginning of wisdom. Extraordinary results are achieved by this negotiation with your time. The reason we shouldn’t pursue balance is that the magic never happens in the middle, magic happens at the extremes.”
THE KEY is to allow this oscillation and manage by counterbalancing. Since we know that success lies at the extremes, we need to learn how to manage our lives when we are living in those times of our lives.
Counterbalance extreme time spent on our work life with subsequent equal time after on our real life (like a vacation). When we feel like we are out of balance, we are saying that we are neglecting some aspect of our life that we value. The inevitability of it all is that there is always going to be some aspect of your life that is underserved no matter how hard you try.
The idea of counterbalancing is that you never go so far off center that you can’t find your way back – OR – that you stay so long out on an extreme that there is nothing waiting for you when you get back to the middle.
ONE way to counterbalance each area is to do FOCUSED work over just work. Do quality vs quantity. To achieve extraordinary results you MUST do what matters most each and every time.
Most people realize that success in any area of our life does not happen without extreme focus from time to time. Counterbalancing is the key to managing our balance in our life.
So – balance will never happen…unless we are a hermit…then one does not have a work life anyway, so the real life line is as smooth as a laser line!
Keller reminds us that life is a balancing act where we are juggling multiple balls. The main thing that we need to keep in mind is that the WORK BALL is rubber – and if we drop it – it will bounce back. NOT SO with our personal life!
THE BOTTOM LINE:
The main thing that we need to develop wisdom with is knowing how to prioritize properly and FOCUS only on the ONE Thing at at time that is going to allow us to produce the maximum for the time that we are going to devote to it. WHEN WE GET OUR PRIORITIES MESSED UP, that is when things start falling apart.
Your work life should be viewed as mastering knowledge or a skill. Becoming a master means that you will have to give a large amount of focused time on that area. Do the ONE Thing and don’t worry about the rest.
Your personal life – or “real life” as I like to call it, means that you can spend smaller increments of time across the several different areas of your real life to allow you to feel like you do “have a life”.
To attain extraordinary results in both your work life and your real life is a counterbalancing act.
Hopefully – this will give you a new perspective on living your life in an extraordinary way so that you can live to your God-Given Potential!