Why Balance Is BS And Will Get You Nowhere

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You know how people are always saying that you that you have to find balance in your life? That living in perfect harmony will be the answer to lifelong fulfillment and happiness?

Oh come on. What a load of crap.

Let me tell you – if I had spent the last year plugging away at my business and still living a life of balance,  I’d have built an extremely inauthentic, generic, run-of-the-mill nutritionist website where I was trying to be just like ever other nutritionist on the block. I didn’t know what set me apart, so I tried to be like everyone else.  I’d actually started creating that business, but only half-assed it and eventually stopped altogether (thank goodness). Amen to all the wonderful nutritionists out there who are rocking their businesses, but that is not me, and it would not have served you, the reader,  if I had taken the nice balanced road.

Instead, what I did was went to extremes. I took an entire year off from working, (save for some really part time side projects), and conducted a bit of an experiment whereby I lived for the sake of living. I travelled to Dominican and camped on the beach and went rock climbing (twice in 4 months), I spent time playing up in Northern Ontario, I drove across Canada, I spent a month in BC camping and climbing, I played in parks in Toronto with friends and napped and read books and ate foods. I did zero nutrition related work. I did zero for my website. I did zero, nothing, zilch to further my career in any specific direction.

And I had a WICKED year. And it gave me the space to get out of my head and understand what it was I really wanted to do.

What I REALLY wanted.

And then, when I was ready, I dove headfirst into it and started my coaching business.  I have been working my ass off since, putting other life stuff on the back-burner in favor of getting my site out there, creating content, and coaching new clients.

Trying to stay in balance means always keeping an equal focus on every area of your life – your work, your family, your social life, your health. Sounds like a good idea in theory. But when trying to balance all things, nothing gets done.

Everything stays at a nice comfy homeostasis, but nothing. gets. done.

When you’re in this nice comfy balanced zone, there’s no immediate need to put overtime into any one project or area of your life (this fact is built right into the model – keep all areas equal). When you’re dividing your energy equally between all these things, the output is at about 20% each.

It’s impossible to give 100% of what you have, all the time, to every area of your life.

Hello, burnout.

We all know that it’s not til you really hit rock bottom, or shit hits the fan, or the discomfort of being too comfortable sets in, that change really happens. It’s not til you feel so MOVED to put your energy into a certain area that you actually get any forward momentum.

Start thinking of life in cycles, and know that once the work cycle winds down, you will have more time to devote to the family cycle, and when your health starts to need more of your attention, you will send your time focused on that cycle. Etc etc etc.

Think of your energy as finite rather than infinite, and consciously choose where you are going to focus it at any given time.

Stop half-assing your attempts. If you want some time to relax, relax FULLY. And if you say you’re determined to build your biz – then by golly, pour your heart into that baby.

Because every area in your life  deserves 100% of your love at some point of another, and you simply can’t give it all, all the time.

Stop short-changing yourself, and you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the person who stays in balance.

xx becca

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Is your life balanced? Have you tried to devote 100% energy to every area of your life, all at once? How do you see this idea of cycles presenting themselves in your own life?

Read 13 Comments & Leave Yours

  1. Mike

    I’ve often thought of life as a stovetop – where one burner is family, one as health, one as your job, and one as a relationship. I got frustrated since I knew that to do any two of them well, you’d have to turn two burners off, if that makes sense.

    Becca, it’s refreshing to know that these changes are rolling – I never thought of it that way. Depending on what’s going on in my life, things change.

    To know that it’s okay to turn some burners off, only to be turned back on other times, and that’s okay. We all only have a finite amount of energy at one time. Nice, refreshing post! :)

  2. Ainslie

    I’ve been thinking of what you’re talking about here as just another FORM of balance in life lately. It all balances out in the end, maybe, when I focus ALL my attention on really specific things, sequentially, instead of trying to do everything all at once. When I’m obsessed with blogging, I blog. When I’m obsessed with travel, I travel. When I’m obsessed with cooking, I cook. If I know this is what will keep me sane, then I kind of feel like it’s honouring my own special kind of balance, you know?

  3. Rebecca

    You got it Ainslie, great observation.

    It all kind of balances out in the end… Work your butt off to save money to travel, then stop working and travel to your heart’s content… Stress yourself out til you get sick, and then have no choice but to lay on the couch and recuperate. Life sort of manages to do all the balancing out for you… it just looks and feels different than the traditional idea of balance

  4. Aaron

    Very excellent Rebecca!

    No wonder I hired you and am sending you an e-Transfer.

    I just un-fastened my seat-belt, cus getting as real as I need to be feels like a high speed
    kamikaze trip off a cliff.

    Looking forward to seeing how it all turns out,

    Your fan,
    Aaron

  5. Lauren

    I have often seen my hyper-focus in specific areas of my life as a detriment, as I can be self-conscious of my intensity about any given subject at any given moment. This post reminded me that often being authentic IS being intense (and sometimes it’s sitting in your pjs watching sisterhood of the traveling pants two times in a row with a bag of chocolate chip cookies… yes – this was my Monday) and that’s positively, awesomely, 100% OK! Thanks for the reminder you unbalanced amazing woman you :-)

  6. Rebecca

    Thanks Aaron, I look forward to it!

  7. Rebecca

    Lauren, you’ve mastered this over the past year and it’s been amazing to see you just be YOU, rather than trying to be all these things at once.

    Also, I am jealous of your chocolate chip cookies, but may require a different movie choice should I ever come join you in the PJ party.

  8. Ian [EagerExistence]

    Don’t know if I agree about the Balance being B.S. thing… but definitely that energy is finite. I’ve been burnt out. Too many of us spread ourselves too thin. I blame short attention spans. It’s tough to focus on one thing and get it finished. Even now, as I right this, I should be studying Spanish *Chuckle*

  9. Rebecca

    Burn out = getting sick. Life’s own way of balancing us out :) (Now go take some vitamin C before you get sick!!!)

  10. Ana

    Unapologetic, I like it! I like it a lot :)

  11. Rebecca

    You know it! xo

  12. Leanne Chesser

    I love your post. I disagree that balance has to mean equal attention to all life areas all the time. I think this is an unfortunate misunderstanding of the term “balance.” My site is all about helping entrepreneurs create more balance in their lives according to their own style, needs and personality. I see balance as more cyclical like you do, or as a juggling act with different focus on different areas at different times, but a balance over time. Thanks for sharing your perspective. I’ll be posting this on my Facebook page :).

  13. thaitony

    You are absolutely right. To do something right you have to go all in. But the caveat is that it becomes you if you let it. If you can go all in like a machine and review the situation (as a human? lol) after the goal is accomplished, that is ideal.