There are 8 avenues to a fulfilling life. They resemble the spokes of the Wellness Wheel: Family, Social, Career, Financial, Physical, Intellectual, Spiritual and Environment. For most people, work and money take up a disproportionate amount of time and energy - more than has been afforded to us in our lifetime. That imbalance leads to a great deal of wasted energy, not to mention depression, illness and heartache.
It's time to drop the work-life balance myth. What you want is Life Balance: fulfillment by organizing the time and energy you place towards each of the 8 avenues of living.
The key to reaching Life Balance was taught to me by my coach. She boiled it down to this:
Intention - Attention - No Tension
If we are not placing attention on an aspect of our life, contrary to popular belief, it is not because we are spending too much time at work. It is most often because we have not set a strong enough intention for it. As part of your personal planning for the coming year, you must first balance your intentions.
Take a piece of paper and simply write down your deepest wish for each of the 8 avenues of fulfillment in 2012. The list can be simple; but it needs to be meaningful. As an example, here are three of the 8 intentions I set in 2012:
- Career: Create a healthy and sustainable business.
- Family: Nurture my relationship with my partner and step-daughters.
- Physical: Create a healthy environment for me, my family and our pets.
Once you complete one intention for each avenue of fulfillment, you have succeeded at balancing your intentions. That is step 1 to finding Life Balance. (You might also consider prioritizing the intentions... list them in order from 1-8, most important to least.)
I often set intentions with my clients who feel lost and unfulfilled. 90% of the time the client puts the list of intentions someplace where they forget it exists. And 90% of the time, when we check back on their intentions a few months later, my clients are surprised to see how much progress they have made in each avenue of fulfillment. They are happier and more fulfilled.
It is the simple act of writing the intention down in the first place that matters - not what you do with the piece of paper after.
Once you have your intentions set, it is time to give them some TLC. Taking action towards your intentions should be seamless. You will know intuitively what you need to DO to breathe life into your intentions. Under each intention, write down 1-3 things that you would want to do in the coming year that would help you fulfill that intention. For example, in creating a healthy and sustainable business, I have developed a product roadmap, and my 'to-do' is to complete the actions on the roadmap. For my family, I intend to make sure we eat dinner together and plan family outings regularly.
There are two pieces of wisdom I have picked up through experience when it comes to placing attention on your intentions.
Wisdom # 1: Time vs. Energy
Action on your intentions can come in two forms, and they don't necessarily need to be equal. Time spent on an intention can be long or short. Energy on an intention can be high or low. You can place long time and low energy on an intention, and receive the same output as placing short time and high energy. For example, you might spend a lot of time at work, where you apply a medium level of energy and you find yourself advancing in your career. In contrast, one very powerful outing with your family (1 day, with a great deal of your energy put towards it) could generate the equivalent level of results for your family intentions.
Energy Organizer™ is a tool that can be used to create a plan for manifesting your intentions in the shortest amount of time, and with the most efficient use of energy. By viewing the support and challenge in each avenue of fulfillment, and assessing the level of satisfaction you are receiving on your personal values, Energy Organizer™ helps you figure out your own personalized pathway to Life Balance. (Contact me if you would like to see the Energy Organizer™.)
Wisdom #2: Resistance
Inaction on what you want comes from what we in the coaching world call Resistance. It's most prolific forms are:
- Forcing yourself to do things
- Doing what you think you should be doing but not getting results
Overcoming resistance can be tricky. The Inner Freedom Method is a tool that is used to extinguish resistance in under 30 minutes. Resistance comes from deep Pavlovian conditioning that dates back to our early years of development. By tapping into the original core intention, we balance the energy and release the resistance. Clients who have experienced Inner Freedom find the transformation from procrastination to action almost magical.
Stress, tension and apprehension are the surest ways to suck the life out of an intention. Once you have set your intentions, and begun taking action on them, give your actions some space to bear fruit. Perform your actions without worry, angst or anticipation. Trust that your actions will move you forward. And most importantly, check in on your progress every few months. Checking in gives you an opportunity to make adjustments that can accelerate or recalibrate you towards a balanced life.