All The World’s a Balance Beam

Written by Molly Mahar

Balance. Work-life balance. Work-marriage balance. Account balances. Jeebus. No wonder we’re so bloody exhausted all the time.

Between trying to be everything at once and trying to find our inner Zen master, we’re consistently inundated with, “Slow down, baby. But hey, not too slow now. Don’t forget about your career. And a family. And… and…”

Balance is safe, comforting, and predictable.

“Of course I’ll eat a bowl of cottage cheese instead of that decadent creme-filled crepe. Why? Oh, because I ate a piece of chocolate cake last week.”

Balance is conformity.

“I hate parties but I’ll go anyway just so I can seem social.”

Balance is anti-passion.

Feel into… the passion in your cells – to eat life whole, to innovate, to score, to, as Emerson put it, “leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition.”Danielle LaPorte

Balance is bullshit.

If you’re burnt out from being over-passioned, over-worked, and under-played (like I’ve been), don’t seek balance. Balance isn’t going to solve your problems. They sure as hell didn’t solve mine.

When I feel like I’m about to collapse, I collapse. I’ll spend all day in bed to recharge my batteries with a retrospective on Vivienne Westwood. I’ll take on as many clients as I possibly can and spend days immersed in code and creativity. I “work” on non-work days, just because I want to. I have problems working on Thursdays because we never learned how to get along.

I dive in wholeheartedly and without reserve.

It’s scary to plunge, let alone stay there for an extended period of time. It’s scarier to back off and not immerse yourself in what moves you.

Balance is for wimps.

Or rather, balance is for people that already have what they need: their souls are nourished and full. Maybe they’ve got babies. Maybe they don’t. Either way, they’re looking for something else to move them. Balance — finding that thing or set of things — to keep their lives in this heady state of nourishment is something you look for well-after you’ve found full.

Being a twentysomething (or thirtysomething, for that matter) is about balance in imbalance. It’s a time for head-strong go-getter career-building. It’s a time for whirlwind romances that leave you battered, bruised, and utterly smashed. For some (for me), it’s a time for babies and careers and marriage and life-building and “holy shit, did I just blink and miss the last six months?”.

Balance is for later.

Find strength in the things that move you to work for days on end. Find comfort in the uncomfortable nature of burnt-out. Rise from the ashes, you fiery phoenix, and seek to conquer a second time. Fail on, you crazy diamond. Shine bright. Don’t apologize for being slightly manic, slightly depressed, and entirely possessed.

Leave balance to the nourished.

Let’s embrace our unbalanced selves/lives for what they are: unpolished, unpretentious, and untapped.

[Note from Coach Molly: I’m interested to see what ya’ll have to say about this one!  I would have to say that almost every single one of the women I’ve worked with yearns for balance. But what does that really mean? I’m into balance as well, but just not in the traditional sense of a certain amount of hours for work, a certain amount for chores, and then the little bit of time left for play…

I like to think about it as a balance between actions that produce desired feelings.  So if I want to feel abundant, committed, influential, and sexy (which I SO do!)- I make sure I’m giving energy to actions that make me feel those ways!  And then I also have to pay attention to cutting down the shit that makes me feel the opposite (as in fearful about money, overwhelmed, swallowed up, and blah).  Yes, sometimes this means I’m burning out and then recovering, like Amanda, but it’s my own version of balance…

So what do you think?   Is balance a goal worth striving towards now?  Or would you rather save it for later? ]

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