Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tight Ropin'

I've recently run across a multitude of posts speaking of "balance," and it really inspired me to analyze my current situation. Am I balanced? Am I effectively balancing everything in my life, or has my focus on one or two areas taken away from what's really important to me? April Groves has a great post on balance, which struck up a frenzy of comments. She explains how we need to make sure that "the success of thing 1 doesn't result in the unintended failure of thing 2."

So, are you balanced? Or, have you done what many of us do and put all your focus on one aspect of your life? Maybe it's your work, or your health, or your hobbies. All of these are admirable things to focus on, as long as they don't take away from what's most important to you. Or, maybe you are like me and have run yourself so thin by taking on so many tasks, that you can't possibly be balanced. Stephen Covey really attacks this question of balance with great insight in his post "How to strike work and life balance." The following quote from Covey really puts some perspective on "balance:"

"There are no quick-fixes to achieving work/life balance. Your priorities may change as your circumstances change. Thus, I invite you to consider the things that you value most and allow those to serve as the foundation."

You've got to consider the things that you value most, in order to determine whether or not you are balanced! It's really up to you and how you define balance. So, here's to hoping each of you find equilibrium in your lives!

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April Groves said...

You are spot on in pointing out the relation between values and balance. Values really live at the root of it all, I think.

I have found that balance is an awfully fluid thing. The saying "to everything there is a season" keeps ringing in my head.

Eric Peterson said...

April - I love your view on balance being fluid! Balance really will be ever changing as we progress through life.

Your words remind me of The Byrds song, Turn! Turn! Turn!:

"To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven"

Thank you for shring your thoughts with me again. I appreciate it!

April Groves said...

HA! "as we progress through life"

I am talking about day to day...sometimes in this whirlwind it can be hour to hour :)

BTW - I LOVE that song :)

Amy@RunnersLounge said...

I also really like Covey's work because of its emphasis on important and urgent. One of the best lessons I learned was to pay attention to what I was saying "no" to. It is usually enlightening to see where are priorities and balance are over a period of time.

My favorite book on leadership is still Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner.

Eric Peterson said...

April - I suppose you are right. We do need to find day to day balance as well. Hour to Hour though may be too "focused" for my Adult ADHD ;)

Amy - Thank you for visiting my blog, and I appreciate your comments. Being able to say "no" is definitely an important trait to possess.

I just got that book for Christmas. I can't wait to read it!

P.S. - I just started working out again after a very long period of couch potato syndrome! My goal is to run Dam to Dam and follow it up with Chicago Marathon. I wrote these goals down in 2005. However, I'm nervous because I can barely run a mile right now. Are these feasible goals? Or, do I need to reevaluate?

Thank you in advance for your advice!

April Groves said...

Eric - good for you!! I think everybody should have at least one WOW goal. It is the way we push ourselves to greatness.

You can do it...and if by choice or chance you don't, the journey will be filled with wonderful life lessons and gains along the way.

Anonymous said...

Hi all - I feel I have to jump in here with a question. Do you ever think your values in a way guilt you off balance?

A case in point; I highly value my family and occasionally feel guilty if I spend an hour or so exercising while they are "playing." Usually I try to exercise while they are napping/sleeping so I don't lose that time with them.

Maybe it too, is a scenario where I need to evaluate my personal values more.

Just some food for thought.


J. Erik Potter said...

I'm with Bob. I feel guilty spending time online if my boys are still up and running around, like I'm ignoring them.

Guilt definitely keeps my scale in constant flux.

Eric Peterson said...

April - Thank you for the encouragement. I apreciate it! And yes, I'm sure I will learn a lot on the journey

Bob and Erik - I can see where guilt may cause us to fall out of balance. But, then again, if we are truly "in balance," would we even feel the guilt? I'm wondering if the "guilt" is a byproduct of being "out of balance" already, and will subside as we become more balanced. I'm not sure...Hmmmm....This may be getting too philosophical for me to solve :)

But, like you both, I also feel guilt when I'm doing other things while my kids are up. Classes, Sports, Blogging, Errands, Work! I like to try and do alot during "naptime" and at night after bedtime. But, if we relate that to values....I suppose family time is HIGHLY VALUED in our three cases. Therefore, Hours upon Hours of family time with just a couple hours of "other" time may look "out of balance" for some people, but is totally "in balance" for us!!

Finally, I like April's view of fluidity. As the kids get older, more independent, and start to crave their "alone time," then our previous guilt (I can only assume) will subside more because we know they need their time. However, with the young kids we all have, it sure is a lot of fun playing with them and teaching them, isn't it? :)

Thanks for adding such great value to the conversation. I really hope more people will stop by and comment on this!!

Marc West said...

Hello April,

I have enjoyed reading your blog and the comments.

I wanted to find out what your throughts and others are on Authentic Leadership?

I believe that with living in great complexity and change in the world, old world leadership behavious are creating great dysfunctionalty than a move to open, transparent, authentic leadership.

Partly the dilemma is the existing value system is based upon the classic and boomer meme generation.

With a tipping point of those in the X's and Y's moving into high official and industry roles these values reflect Openness, congruents etc and thus there is a clash in values, between the new awareness within the system and the classic means of communicating in the prior system.

An analogy would be like a society that is pluristic that condones democratic rights.