So are you? Out of balance, I mean. Is work ruling your life? Do you want more time for fun, family and friends? Do you wonder what ever happened to that dream of yours? Maybe you’re doing pretty good at the balance routine, but aren’t quite satisfied with your life. Or, perhaps life is pretty dang good, but if you could have just a little more of this, or a little less of that, it would be ideal. If you’re interested in learning some pretty simple ways of how to create a balanced life today and bring yourself greater satisfaction and fulfillment, read on.
1. Be Self-ish
No – I’m not talking about your mother’s definition of self-ish. I’m talking about becoming the center of your Universe, not the center of the Universe. Still get an icky feeling in your stomach? Think about it this way. If you don’t take extraordinary care of yourself, you do not have as much to offer others. As I always say, you can’t water a garden with an empty bucket. Being Self-ish means different things to different people, but it always means taking extraordinary care of yourself. Think about how you fill your Self Bucket. Time alone, exercise, pedicures, girlfriend time, sex, creative outlets, splashing in puddles or all of the above. How full is your Self Bucket? What do you need to do to fill it up a little more?
2. Plug the energy leaks
It doesn’t do any good to fill up your bucket if it has a hole, or a zillion holes. There are several categories of energy leaks: things we tolerate in our lives – the energy vampires; bad habits – the energy wasters; and worry – energy quicksand. It’s amazing how much of our mental and emotional (and sometimes physical) energy we give to these energy drainers. Likely you are not fully aware of your energy vampires, wasters and quicksand. Take a good look at your life: home, work, relationships, physical self, beliefs, financial, etc. and make a list of all your leaks. Then take each one and eliminate it as an energy drain.
3. Create & Maintain Great Boundaries
Boundaries are essentially a filter that allows or doesn’t allow certain people, behaviors or situations to enter your ‘space’. Some people think about them as invisible lines around us that define our space. Others think of them as the rules and laws we have as to how others can impact us. When your boundaries are intact and maintained you do not have to spend time and energy managing the behavior of others and how it impacts you. Is it OK for people to speak rudely to you or yell at you? Probably not. This is an example of a boundary. So when someone crosses this boundary and yells, what is your response? Are you holding your boundary or allowing it to be trampled. Remember, we teach others how to respond to us.
4. Put People before Results/Tasks
Are people or results more important in your life? Some might argue that results are more important. Consider however, that at the end of the day you generally can’t snuggle up with your results. When you put people first you make a commitment to strong relationships and become an attractive person. Think about who you want to be around at the end of the day – those who put people first, or results first?
5. Become Need-less
What happens when you have a need? Most often our needs influence what we do and how we feel in a big way. Needs have different levels, like a hierarchy. Survival needs are at the base and enlightenment needs are at the top. If you have a need in the survival category, then all the other aspects of living in balance go out the window until you get that need met. What needs are driving your life right now? Wealth, things, love, fame… Believe it or not, you really can take care of these needs for good. When you are not living from your needs, you become more able to live from your values and your wants.
6. Live Your Values
Speaking of values – what are yours? Mine are freedom, abundance, be joyful, and spirit. These are core elements around which I orient my life. Defining my values is what led me to begin to uncover how to balance my own life. Once I defined my values I realized that my life did not reflect them at all. How enlightening! I became very clear about what in my life needed to change, and it wasn’t going to be my values. Are you living your values?
7. Be in Integrity
Integrity is one of those words that we all seem to know what it means, yet have a very difficult time putting it into words. Here’s my best attempt – integrity is an overarching relationship that you have with what guides you in life to be moral, good and aligned with your path. Integrity means wholeness, so it encompasses a sense of you feeling whole. It unfortunately is easy to be out of integrity and perhaps not even know it. Sometimes we do things to meet a need that take us out of integrity. When you are out of integrity in an area of your life, that area or task feels hard. You may feel that you want to avoid it or run away from it. Check your integrity. Where are you out?
8. Create Reserves
Let’s take toilet paper for example. Horror upon horror, the time is now for toilet paper and you are out! None of us want to be in this situation. So do you buy one roll of toilet paper at a time? Perhaps. But maybe you buy enough toilet paper for 6 months. That’s a reserve (a super reserve in fact). When you have reserves of everything you need (toilet paper, money, time, energy, coffee, love, and on and on) then you do not have to spend your time or energy replenishing your supply. Think about having a reserve of time or energy. What richness could you add to your life if you had the time and energy to grab an unexpected opportunity when it came your way?
9. Develop an Outstanding Community
Human beings are not meant to be alone. Especially women. Relationships and community are how we thrive and shown scientifically to reduce our stress. Take a look at your communities – work, friends, family, hobbies, spiritual, service, etc. Do these communities add to your life or drain your energy? What you want are communities that strengthen you and build you up. If you don’t see the kinds of communities that you want in your life now, determine what (or who) you need to add or subtract to enrich this part of your life.
10. Live Your Dream
What is yours? Is it long forgotten or constantly on your mind? Your dream is there for a reason. Acknowledge it, speak it, and begin to find ways to make it so. Let go of the outcome (kinda hard to do, I know). Your dream may show up in a different package than you expected.
How’d you do? All set in these areas? If so, great, and I’d love to hear your story about how you achieved and maintain your balance. If not, I’d be happy to be your partner in balancing your life and shooting your life satisfaction and fulfillment through the roof!
Copyright 2004 Catherine A. Bruns. This article may be reprinted in full with the following attached: Life Coach Catherine Bruns coaches women to achieve great success in their personal and professional lives. For more information visit http://www.coachbalance.com