Finding Your Balance
Hi, I’m Michelle. I am a recovering work-a-holic.
Hearing the word balance as an entrepreneur always sounded like a curse word to me. I felt it was a word uttered from the mouth of the “unwilling,” the “excuse makers,” the “I prefer to be lazy and hide under the word balance for my desperately needed peer approval.”
I thought the “balanced” were lazy. They thought I was unbalanced. I thought I was right. I was wrong.
I thought finding balance was admitting defeat. I felt succumbing to this need for peace was an admission that I wasn’t mentally strong enough to handle what was on my plate. After experiencing one of the most unbalanced years of my life (100 + flights, 120 hour work-weeks, running 2 side hustles while working a full time job), I broke down and started seeking this thing called balance.
Here are three ways to find your balance and actually enjoy it.
1. Remove the Toxicity
What is draining your energy? “What is making you anxious or causes you overwhelming stress: a job, negative family member, or a horrible roommate? Is it the boyfriend you know you’re never going to marry, but you stay because it’s familiar? Are you volunteering too much of your time to things that don’t feed your soul?”
Whatever is swirling in your head right now as your toxic energy drain, you need to remove it. You can find another job, your family may one day shape up, your prince charming IS out there, and your energy is the most valuable gift you have and you need to protect it.
2. Create Space
If someone had told me to create more space for myself last year I would’ve added them to my toxic list and probably tried to remove them from my sacred nest of workaholism. However, after being laid off from my corporate job I started to discover my mind and body shifting too.
As I created space I started noticing important things.
I noticed my health had been impacted negatively. I had dropped almost 20 pounds due to stress. I hadn’t looked up long enough to notice my health was deteriorating right before my very eyes. I started creating enough space to prioritize eating healthy. I was the girl who didn’t like ordering salads; because they took too long to eat, and I couldn’t be productive.
I noticed my relationships with my friends had been placed on the back burner. I started making time for those relationships that fueled me, or that I could positively impact. Sometimes isolation is good for preparation, and other times it is self-destructive.
I noticed that there were certain things I really enjoyed doing that I had stopped altogether. I started experiencing stress more than I experienced joy, and this was a sure sign that I was out of balance.
I started creating time and space for enjoying life, and I watched my mind, body and soul start coming alive again.
You must literally take your calendar and block out time for you, your thoughts, things you enjoy, or maybe just to sleep and do absolutely nothing. Schedule it. If you need to wake up an hour before everyone else, it will be worth it.
3. Find your Inner Child Again
Where did she go? Where did you lose her? Do you even remember what her voice sounds like? Every day she is saying “let’s play.” And, every day you suit up in your armor to attack your daily to do list, and you ask her to be quiet. Until one day she stops asking if you can play, and you’ve lost her.
When was the last time you just laid in the grass and watched the clouds pass by? When was the last time you paused long enough to watch a 15 minute sunset or woken up early enough to watch the sunrise break at dawn? When was the last time you had lunch with a friend to accomplish nothing but just catch up, fellowship and experience life?
My journey to finding balance started with pausing long enough in my evening to start watching sunsets. That led to waking up early enough to enjoy sunrise. I started noticing smells I had not smelled since I was a kid, I started seeing the three leaf clovers and found myself scanning for that golden four leaf clover. I found myself waking up and enjoying coffee over my morning devotions and reading vs. the Starbucks drive-through while trying to conduct a conference call and race to an office. I found myself writing again. I found myself laughing harder than I had laughed in years.
She was coming back. My inner child was emerging from the hidden tree line on her unicorn with her pretend sword ready to play. I took a deep breath, looked at her and said yes!
Remember, balance isn’t an excuse for laziness but an opportunity to fill yourself to overflowing, so you can outpour your genius onto those around you. What a beautiful world this would be if every woman out there who traded imaginary swords for their corporate armor laid down their egos and admitted: I want to play again. I want to find my gift to this world again. I want to find what makes my heart beat and help set flame to the passions inside me. Maybe one by one we can create an army of powerful women with childlike faith, who are willing to trade their reality for the life of their dreams, the life they really want.