Forget balance, lead a sustainable existence

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that the word balance gets thrown around like confetti by employers, career coaches and self-improvement gurus.

Even so, is balance really what we’re looking for in our work-lives and beyond? If you answered ‘yes’, then perhaps you’ll be able to help me define balance.  I’m at a loss for words mostly because there are as many ways to define balance as there are people.  And, truthfully, what does it mean and feel like to be in balance?  Furthermore, has anyone achieved balance? (If you know someone who has, I’d LOVE to meet them…)

Not being able to come up with satisfactory answers, I decided to question if balance is really what we’re looking for.  In other words, are we blindly looking for balance simply because we have not taken time to stop to find out what it is that we’re really looking for?  As I set out to understand what all the hoohah is about I discovered some empowering truths that I’m about to share with you.

Taking from how selling 101 defines features and benefits, it’s clear that balance is a feature – albeit a very desirable one.  Even so, it’s not a benefit.  Then, what is the benefit of achieving balance?  To answer that, lets start by looking at what happens when we miss the mark – and lead an unbalanced existence.  In other words, what’s the outcome of an unbalanced existence? 

To begin with, whatever we’re engaged in, does not last long.  And more often than not, the end result is riddled with negativity.   If you’ve ever burnt-out from over-training a sport or over-practicing a musical instrument, you’ll know exactly what I mean.   By the same token, too little of something also has negative outcomes.  Think all-nighters while working towards deadlines…

Simply put,  when we’re extreme about something, burn-out is a likely outcome.  Aside from undesirable because it can be physically and emotionally painful, burn-out is counterproductive.

Following that same logic, the outcome of being balanced is sustainability.  And that’s the benefit.

That means that the conversation needs to evolve.  To really speak about what we’re trying to achieve, it no longer is enough to talk about balance.  We must begin to look for sustainability in every aspect of our lives.    That is what we’re really looking for.  N’est-ce pas?

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