I was “tweeting” today (insert visual of a funny facial expression). Really, who came up with the technical term “tweet” anyway….ok, back to my article. I am working to attract additional readers and build a bit of a personal brand, so a friend told me that I should be leveraging Twitter and I listened. It’s been an interesting Twitter week (thank you to my dear, sweet followers-all 36 of you- I won’t forget you when I hit the big time blog circuit). Tweeting and “following” has shown me all of the random thoughts, interesting perspectives and creativity that people want to talk about and honestly, I love reading all of it.
As I have blogged about recently, one of the reasons I switched companies in March was to have more focus on family and to seek personal balance. Tonight was one of those less than balanced evenings as I had soccer practice with my oldest and my wife took my other two offspring to the 6-year old’s hockey game, only to meet back at the house, get everyone showered and prepped for the 2nd hockey game of the weekend (taking place at 730am on Saturday morning- so much for the weekend sleep in). Truth be told, I was getting a little bored at soccer-at least I’m honest while I search for balance and increased family time. So in an attempt to combat my boredom I grabbed the I-phone and looked for people to follow on Twitter. I started surfing through the lists of people who might be writing, speaking and coaching on the subject of “life balance” and the results were a bit overwhelming. Life coaches, authors, speakers, spiritual advisors and a few hundred thousand others popped up. I began to feel a bit diluted in the whole scheme of becoming a work life balance pioneer, but I kept clicking FOLLOW on the various people who appeared to have unique perspectives on a common topic.
Twitter aside for a minute, type WORK LIFE BALANCE into Google and you’ll get these results: About 4,960,000 results (0.08 seconds), so it is clear that a host of us are seeking some kind of balance. Isn’t it funny that so many people could be looking for something and none of us seems to find it, ever? I can find thousands of authors, coaches and speakers who preach about ways to achieve balance and yet, according to a recent article I read in a workforce planning magazine more than 70% of professionals are struggling with balance, engagement with their careers and are down right unhappy. That’s when it hit me… if so many of us are looking for something and we never find it, maybe we really didn’t want to find it in the first place. Is it possible that we have grown to like the misery, the drama and the unnatural balance that we live in? I’ll admit it; I like the misery and drama a little bit. Hell, it gives us something to talk about at work, during family dinners and it enables us to hide from growing, exploring, divergence of thought and balancing our lives. In short, fear based and drama based actions and thought are ironically easier to deal with and more widely accepted than the balance we claim to want.
Here are some examples. For some reason, I, like others, have been terrified to live life the way it was intended. I’ve worked hard for the last 4 years to try and break my ego maniacal ways, become more financially responsible and to pay more attention to the people in my life that deserve my attention. Old habits die hard because my ego is still pretty strong. It doesn’t take much for me to want to revert back to my “old habits” of living a life built around monetary incentives and materialism which creates an unbalanced lifestyle. Second example; I am driving a used car for the first time in my professional life and although it gets me from A to B and it doesn’t burn $4.00 per gallon at the rate of 15 miles per gallon like the SUV I might want, I still refuse to take people to lunch in that car (for fear they might wonder if I’m doing ok) and I’m thinking about buying a nice new car, so people will think highly of me (coughing sound…shallow…coughing sound). Again, it is much easier to pay a car payment and live more chaotically than to embrace the comfort of no car payment. How counter-intuitive is that? Finally, I make a recent career move that some might call a -step back- and although I did it strategically, I still feel the need to justify that move to everyone I see, so others won’t think that I am a “job hopper” or incapable of keeping a position (even though the job gives me everything I would need to support the “balance” I talk so positively about).
See- I am simply prone to making decisions that support chaos, not balance. I am realizing that this elusive balance isn’t something that is found, it is already around us and only takes a set of simple choices to engage. Balance is the way life was intended to be lived, but we’ve grown so comfortable with chaos, that we’ve made the natural appear unattainable.
The positive is I’m recognizing all of this at a point in time where I hope to have years to correct some of these decision patterns and teach my children the more balanced choices in life.