I love this picture, not only because of the view, but the memories it brings for me. It's from a meditation garden in Yushien, a beautiful place from our visit to Shimane last year. It was the first day I'd spent alone in Japan, with my daughter heading off to spend the day with friends. Luckily she'd given me enough guidance on how to get there and the important words to use to double check I as on the right bus. It was a boiling hot day, but I spent hours there, walking around and taking in the amazing sites (and lots of photos to go with it). Then I came across this area with a set of benches for you to sit and think and admire this view. It's not often in our lives that we really do take the time, or have the opportunity, to just sit and reflect. We are so busy trying to juggle all the various aspects of day to day life, we often forget the most important thing, ourselves.
Sitting on that bench, probably for only 30 minutes or so, it provided me that time to think about everything happening in my life. I was going through divorce, seeing the early signs that things were changing at my company and reflecting on what should really be important to me, not just thinking of the people around me, which is my go to place. But one of the biggest things it reminded me of is a trap that I think we all fall into and that's not having the right balance in life.
Typically, when we talk about balance, we refer to the work/life balance, but it's not that two dimensional. Whether you have a family or close friends around you, what we forget is that the 'life' element of balance actually has (at least) two components to it, friends/family and the more important aspect of personal/you. With the risk of sounding critical, there are some people who don't have this problem, as they often will put themselves first (takers not givers is a phrase I've heard), so ensure they are focusing on their own needs before anyone else. But in my experience, the larger majority of people don't and will often put their needs secondary in support of their family and friends. This certainly isn't a bad trait to have in my mind, but it is if the knock on effect of it is that you start to neglect yourself or build up resentment for those around you as they are receiving something, but you're not.
A few years back, I was coaching someone who had this challenge. He had progressed really well in his company, which had required a move of home. The job required him to work long hours during the week, with his wife and two young sons at home, so he dedicated his weekend to his family. Taking the boys to the swimming pool while his wife went to the gym and sauna, cooking meals and taking the boys out for football training on a Sunday. At first sight, that doesn't sound like a problem at all, he was hard working during the week and then committed to his family at the weekend and he also felt comfortable with it. Or so he thought.
He was no longer going to the gym himself, so was starting to feel sluggish and putting on weight. He wasn't play golf on a Sunday morning with friends or family, something he really enjoyed doing. He was staying in the office late during the week, when often he didn't really have to. Slowly, without realising it, it built up some resentment in him. The feeling that he was working his backside off during the week to provide for his family, then spending the weekend for them also, but where was his time in all this? Once he understood this issue, while staying focused on what he wanted to achieve and 'why' (still giving the family that focused time), he could rework the 'how', in agreement with his family, and bring back some personal balance to his life.
If you enjoy what you are doing, you can always find time for whatever you want to do – WGP
We can all get lost or caught up in our rhythms, but don't often stop and check in with ourselves that we're in balance. Take a moment and ask yourself, "When was the last time I stopped to think if I'm in balance?". A tool that you can use, if you need something to support you, is a wheel of life. Just google it and there are a bunch of examples out there, so won't spend much time on it here, but a simple tool for checking in with how the different aspects of your life are sitting right now. Just remember that life doesn't stand still, so if you decide to take on this sort of exercise, maybe plan to do it a couple of times a year or when things just aren't feeling right.
If you want to talk about how you can ensure you have the right balance, don't be afraid to reach out to me. Stay safe.