One of the most potent habits or choices I coach is keeping your life in balance—having a healthy body, mind, and spirit. This involves keeping work and play in balance—your personal life and your professional life.
Over the last couple of years, I've discovered that balance and harmony doesn't have to mean boring! In fact, much joy and excitement come from pushing oneself to—and sometimes beyond—the boundaries we create for ourselves to create a higher harmony.
I spend June through October living in Port Carling, Canada, living on an island. July and August are my scheduled personal freedom time. I spend this time hanging out with family and friends, doing lots of entertaining, golfing, boating, and just having lots and lots of fun!
The other day I scheduled a business meeting. I had to drive an hour-and-a-half each way. The meeting would take three more hours. I found myself agitated that I had committed to this—it was going to delay my tee time! I felt a little anxiousness about spending my finite personal freedom days this way.
I did manage to get a round of golf in with one of my pals, but I had a tough time staying focused. I was preoccupied. I felt that anxiousness. Where was all this anxiousness coming from? Maybe it was the putts I missed on 3, 6, 8, 12, 15, and 18 that finally made me take a long, hard look at the situation.
Pursuing harmony lead me to create this space in the year, to tip the balance of the hours and days devoted to playing versus working. And here I was, using the time to do something other than having fun! I felt anxiousness about this special time slipping away. This special time had to be scheduled; it had to be planned for. A boundary had been created around it. And this meeting, which I wanted to have, which was important to me, crossed this boundary. This anxiousness was a sign that I needed to look again at this boundary.
You will often hear me say that you can have a feeling without doing anything about it. You can just let it be. This was one of those moments. I let the anxiousness be. Soon I realized that this was another case of how, to meet my larger goals and live my highest values, I had to acknowledge that, while boundaries serve a purpose, and save time and effort, I must reevaluate them when they become a constriction.
We often bring more excitement, joy, and success into our lives by rethinking our boundaries, rules, and definitions. When we push beyond an outgrown boundary, redraw boundaries to encompass new discoveries, or recognize a limiting belief disguised as a boundary, we grow.
The power of this has inspired me to write a Comma Club workshop concept about allowing yourself the freedom to visit and sometimes exceed your boundaries.
Often clients will beat themselves up because they don't feel like they have a harmonious life. I spend a lot of time helping them establish the values/goals and habits to stay in harmony. But the truth is, so many of us struggle with living in the boundaries. Boundaries can serve us well, but they shouldn't keep us from reaching our potential!
From an entrepreneur's perspective, having processes to keep you on track is extremely important. See my article "Hating the Process, Loving the Results" for more on that. But, as crucial as these processes and boundaries are, they are not set-and-forget forever. We make boundaries based on past experiences. Then life happens. We can outgrow them. Sometimes, the most absolutely amazing experiences and breakthroughs you have come from being stretched beyond your boundaries, boldly busting through them, or opening them up to new possibilities.
I was just visiting with one of our Comma Clubbers. She was sharing her frustrations with balancing taking care of her family and achieving her desired business results. I asked her a couple of questions: "If your business results were better, would that make you happier?" She said, "Of course!" "If you're happier, would your family life would be better?" She said yes. She saw a greater harmony possible. She redrew her boundaries to entertain new possibilities, including getting outside help with some family chores. With new options on the table, we worked out a way to help her accomplish her goals with her family. Her results in business more than cover the cost of delegating the family chores that held her back. Now she can have quality personal time and get the results she desires in her business. Harmony restored!
I think finding harmony and balance is one of the big reasons people seek consulting, therapy, and personal and professional coaching. As a coach, I've always strived to create a balanced approach to living our lives. It's not all about just having freedom days, nor is it all about working. Balance is first about discovering what matters to you and why. Then it's about making wise decisions about the experiences and people you want in your life, and creating the love, joy, and meaning you desire and want to share.
So let's push the boundaries! Let's have even more fun, even more success, and let's be present to enjoy and embrace it!