Life Balance Coach
Nirvana and Work/Life Balance
My interest in becoming a life balance coach first started when I had two kids under the age of two, a time I now affectionately refer to as My Personal Hell. I love my kids, they are great. But the sleep deprivation, the new schedule that involved waking up at 5:00 am so I could work out at the gym at 6:00a.m., then getting home at 7:00 pm to cook dinner – it was a bit trying. Not to mention the bickering involving household chores with my husband.
I became insanely curious, how do other mothers do it? What could I be doinglife balance coach differently? Was there a book that I could read? Much to my chagrin, the only books were written by women complaining about their lot in life. While reassuring, it was not helpful. Where was the 10-step plan I could follow? I looked senselessly on the internet hoping something would pop up. Oh great, a market research report on how 65% of the women out there were suffering like me. HELP!!!
I undertook my own odyssey on the topic of how to get work/life balance. So, here are my top 3 pearls of wisdom based on my personal journey.
Misconception 1: We can perpetually achieve perfect balance
First of all, we have an incorrect image in our head of a balanced life. Somehow, we have this image of someone like the Dalai Lama, a calm guy in a state of peace, contentment and utter bliss. Yes, it is possible to be that way much of the time…. if you shave your head, live on a mountain top, and are a monk. But for the rest of us mortals, the relevant picture is of the clown in the circus walking the tight rope ready to topple over at any moment. Yes, there will be moments of balance, but they are fleeting. As my spiritual teacher always says, “the only thing permanent is impermanence”.
The error is in thinking that perfect balance is a state that lasts forever. Linguistically we treat the phrase “perfect balance” as if it is a noun. Really, a more helpful way of thinking about the whole topic is to imagine ourselves perfecting a constant process of balancing. Think of all the above as verbs and as processes. It’s not about perfect, it’s about perfecting. It’s not about “balance”, it’s about balancing
Misconception 2: Work/Life balance is all about making the right choice.
Yes, there are many simple dilemmas that we solve in our lives. For example, should I get Thai or Mexican tonight for dinner? This is an easy dilemma. You make a choice and the presenting problem disappears. Our misconception is that we believe that can choose one (say life) and the other (work) goes away. No matter what you choose you have to make compromises. Here’s a modern-day example.
Your spouse calls and wants you to come home tonight since you’ve been traveling a lot. You are up for a promotion and your boss asks you to stay late and join the rest of the team. In this case, no matter what you choose you have to make trade-offs. It’s because work-life balance is an irresolvable dilemma, which means even when you make a choice, the issue still exists. At least for me, understanding the nature of the dilemma helped provide relief to me.
Misconception 3: No one has it better than you.
I used to jealously look at folks and think… “Why is it that she has her act together and I don’t?” Well, it didn’t take many conversations to realize that no one has it better than you. Everyone suffers in their own way and everyone has problems balancing. Spending energy wondering what you are doing wrong or why someone has it better than you is just draining your limited energy. Manufacturing all sorts of stories around why you have it so bad, and how all else is to blame is yet another drain of energy. All of us suffer, whether you are rich, poor, powerful, week, beautiful, or ugly.
Each suffers in her own way, and each way is equally valid. Humans were designed to suffer, which is why the Buddha spent his whole life trying to develop a practice to reduce human suffering. So if you are going to spend energy, spend less energy running away from the reality that suffering exists and a natural part of life , and more into “relaxing into what is” .
So, how do you walk the tight rope of life so that you can with ease and grace negotiate between work and life? The first is realizing that work-life balance is a skill, similar to walking a tightrope. It’s hard. You’ll fall off and you’ll feel discouraged at times. And each time you will get better. The first step is having a better and more realistic expectation and mind set, which is what the above points hit on. The last is to be easy on yourself when you fall because you are human and everyone is suffering just like you. So cheers to you on embarking on the process of perfecting your ability to balance!!!
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