Do you have balance in your life? Do you work too much or play too hard? Is it simply a matter of choosing between the different dimensions of your life? Making that "either / or" choice and calling it balanced? When you think about the dimensions of your life, do you think of the different roles that you must play in life? More often than not, we think of ways to separate our roles, employee at work, mommy and daddy at home, community activist or Little League coach in the community. The funny part about this is that all of these roles represent who we are. Our roles grow out of our values, principles and life missions and become the channels through which we live, love, learn and leave a nationality.
So what's the answer to achieving the balance we seek? According to many of my clients and most people "time" – or lack of it – is the main culprit: "If only I had more time, I could do everything and put my life into a perfect balance." While time management can be a serious issue, it does not have to be a barrier to happiness. Not putting the effort and commitment into establishing a clear path to your mission, vision and values are greater obstacles. The issue is not balance; it's establishing priorities. Priorities do not bring perfection into your life but they do help you to gain better control over life's issues.
George Bernard Shaw wrote, "If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you'll find you've done it."
What can you do differently to begin to establish your priorities around your personal values to feel satisfied at home and at work? Try these exercises to focus your career planning and life thinking – yes, you have to do the work to get to your goal!
1. Write down your ten favorite activities, the ones without which your life would feel robbed. Does your career choice allow you to do your favorite activities on a regular basis?
2. Write down the top five goals you want to accomplish in your career. (Think money, fame, impact, contribution and more.) Your selected career must enable you to reach these goals.
3. List everything you'd like to do in your lifetime. These lists can run several hundred items. Does your chosen career choice allow for the accomplishment of your dreams or are you just dreaming?
You are the steward over your time, talent and resources. Now is the time to begin to balance between your inner life and your outer desires. Synergy or balance comes when living, loving, learning and leaving a legacy grows together.