Why Looking For Balance Is Wrong For You
How are you balancing work and family? What does balance really mean to you? More importantly, what should it mean to you?
“So find your rhythm, understand what makes you resentful, and protect it. You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you. And thinking that way empowers you to work really hard for a really long period of time.” ―Marissa Mayer, president and CEO of Yahoo
To me, the word “balance” is a four-letter word. It’s a word that brings up negative thoughts, it’s a “bad” word and if my girls were old enough to understand, I’d likely tell them it’s a word that’s not allowed in my home.
I cringe every time I hear someone say they are “seeking balance”, “need balance” or when I read about how to “achieve balance”.
Goodness that one is the worst for me!
Yes, I get it. Of course but really what we are saying is we need more or different in our lives. I understand that we are looking for or needing something else and I am certainly not judging.
I think it’s this linguistic nerd in me that knows they are seeking something real but it’s the word “balance”, I don’t understand or like. To me trying to achieve balance is like trying to achieve the unachievable. And here’s why…
When I think of “balance” I think of a seesaw. In a seesaw, when you have equal weight on both sides the seesaw will then float evenly in the air.
If you have the exact same weight on both sides and you lift them ever so carefully then you will have a perfect balanced seesaw.
Because who long will that last??
How long will it stay afloat?
A mere second. A minute, if you’re lucky?
Or how about until someone sneezes or until the wind shifts.
What if you put two kids who weigh the exact same amount on that seesaw. What would happen? Would it float?
The kids would go back and forth back and forth back and forth. Then one kid gets bored, jumps off and runs away.
So let me ask you this.
In the first example where the seesaw floated in the air, how was that perfect moment of balance?
It was short.
It was quick.
It was dependent on perfect stillness.
And it was dependent on which way the wind blew!
So to my point, if it is short, quick, dependent on all sorts of things why on earth would we want to achieve this crazy boring thing called balance?!?
Why not have fun, go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth for as long as the other kid will play??
What if we put “family” on one side of that seesaw and “work” on the other side? When you focus on the family side, all your weight and energy is there and this side of the seesaw, the family side, falls to the ground while the other side, the work side, goes flying up into the air! Balancing work and family, is not a matter of perfection.
Isn’t that more accurate? Isn’t that how life really happens?
What happens when you are “all-in” and firmly focused on your family?
What happens when you are “all-in” and firmly focused on your work?
Or what if you are just sort of present with both? Is that when the seesaw would sit evenly and then would you be perfectly balanced??
Do you want to live only half-in?
No, of course not!
So, I ask again, why on earth would we want to achieve “balance” for ourselves??
Isn’t the goal here, rhythm? Don’t we want to smoothly go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth in the reality of our day??