I have tried my entire life to live a more balanced life. But it never seems to happen.
In my book, The Extraordinary UnOrdinary You, I wrote about a happily unbalanced life and striving to find balance in that happily unbalanced life.
But the more time goes on and the demands on my time increase, I feel like balance is no longer achievable.
A balanced life is an impossible goal to achieve.
We try to balance work life with home life and social life—and every time, something has to give. We can’t be good at everything all the time. And sometimes, trying to balance these things makes the situation even worse.
For me, it’s accepting the fact that there is no such thing as a balanced life.
There will be days that I’ll have to explain to my kids why I can’t be there—it’s completely impossible.
And even though they get it, it’s still hard for them when I have to leave.
For example, I’m leaving this weekend to do a board training in New Jersey. I was also gone last weekend for a different speaking engagement.
When I told my daughter I would be gone again this weekend, she said, “Really? Again?” And I could sense the disappointment in her eyes.
The truth is that when I am focusing on my kids, I’m not going to be a great speaker. And when I’m focusing on my speaking career, some things are going to have to give in the motherhood department.
That’s just the facts of life because I can’t do all things at once, and neither can you.
In order to do things well, you have to prioritize your focus.
To illustrate this, think of yourself as a juggler. You will always have more balls in the air than you have hands to catch them. Because of this, as long as you’re juggling, there will always be balls in the air.
Balance is learning which ball to focus on. After all, a juggler only catches one ball at a time. Because of this, there will always be balls in the air that we won’t be able to catch.
Those extra balls will either have to remain in the air or fall to the ground for a time until we can pick them back up again.
To do things well in any area of your life, you must focus on that one ball you’re ready to catch. This means you will have to take your focus away from those other balls for a time.
It’s about taking the time to do things well while realizing that those other balls will have their turn to land in your hand in the future.
Life isn’t about creating balance, it’s about compromise.
I can’t ever imagine myself saying yes to something and not giving it my very best. I never want to do a mediocre job—that’s just not who I am.
This requires compromise, which means it is impossible to balance everything all at once in every other aspect of our life.
When we recognize that life isn’t about balance, it’s about priorities and compromise, we will feel less guilt over the things we can’t possibly do.
I may not be there for my daughter this weekend, and that does cause some sadness for me as a mom. But I can make sure that next week I take my daughter to lunch, and we spend some time with just the two of us.
Compromise allows us to create what seems like a more balanced life, but in reality, it’s learning together how to give and take. Because, again, it’s impossible to do all of the things all of the time.
Seek for a positive mindset instead of a balanced life.
The most important key to creating a happy life—no matter how unbalanced it is—is keeping a positive mindset.
We need to stop putting pressure on ourselves when things fall apart or when some of our balls fall to the floor.
These things are all a part of everyday life. And if we get overwhelmed by what we aren’t doing, we’ll have less ability to focus on the things that need our attention in the moment.
A positive mindset will be our greatest motivator. With a positive mindset, we are more able to encourage ourselves when that guilt creeps in, and we can better encourage those around us.
We can also see things more clearly and remain focused on those important things we need to do in the moment.
We also need to give ourselves grace.
I try to be very intentional in how I schedule my day. And when I get the most frustrated is when I add something in at the very last minute.
For example, if I had a doctor’s appointment at 11:00, instead of just getting there ten minutes early, I try to stuff something else into that space to just get it done.
But every time, I end up being late for that appointment.
I often have to remind myself to give myself grace and to recognize that I don’t have to check everything off my To-Do list.
Instead, I pause and try not to put so much pressure on myself to get everything done in a day. There will never be enough hours in the day to get everything on my list accomplished.
Many people will say they have a balanced life.
I appreciate people who honestly believe that they have a balanced life. This means that they are taking time for the things that matter most to them.
This isn’t to say that I’m not taking time for those things in my life. However, as a mother with six kids, four dogs, a job as a writer, and traveling for speaking engagements, that time is much more limited.
I really struggle with this, and I’m sure other people struggle with it as well. When you’re not home enough, you feel guilty for not spending enough time with your kids. When you’re with your kids and not getting your work done, you feel guilty because you’re not getting your work done on time.
I often feel that something has got to give.
It’s during those times that we really have to remind ourselves that if we’re doing our best, that’s the best we can do.
Stop being so hard on yourself when life seems unbalanced.
Remember to focus on the ball in your hand instead of the people around you.
It may seem as if others have a perfectly balanced life, but we have no idea what is going on in their life.
Perfection doesn’t exist. Life is about doing our best.
So the next time you crave a balanced life, remind yourself that it doesn’t actually exist, and it’s perfectly okay to be exactly who you are.
Chaos is a natural part of life. And for me, it’s a natural part of every single day.
And do you know what? I don’t know what I would do without it.
I kind of like it that way.