So many people talk about the importance of achieving a “work-life balance”. And I get it—you want to achieve balance. You want to make enough money while not working too much.
But instead of trying to find a perfect balance between work and life, focus on spending time on the things most important to you, both in your career and your personal experiences.
I use the acronym L.I.F.E. to help me remember the four pillars vital to creating a true foundation for a well-rounded, balanced life.These four pillars are Love, Intellect, Fitness, and Enthusiasm. If any of the four gets off kilter, then your life starts to crumble, like a house built on an unsteady foundation. Evaluating how to create balance in each area of your life is crucial to working towards success.
L – Love (The Heart)
This pillar encompasses all of your relationships, both personal and professional. And while it’s easy to talk about the importance of finding time in your life for your partner, kids, or parents, a lot of people don’t like talking about the idea of love as it relates to work. But when you truly spend time on the things you love, it doesn’t feel like you’re working!
Additionally, how many of you have met your spouse at work? Love happens in life; even I met my husband, Shane, at work.
I – Intellect (The Mind)
This is where you’ll find all the things you need to invest in yourself to make sure that you’re “sharpening the saw,” as Stephen Covey would say. I live by the mantra of “Always Be Learning.” I read 70 books in 2016 because I switched my morning running playlist from music to audio books. I was able to triple the number of books I “read” by doing this, and all of them were non-fiction, self-help, self-improvement, or biographies—books that grew and challenged my mind.
In this regard, stop and think—does your career challenge you? If not, what are you doing to take steps to improve that? Are you taking classes? Looking for a new career? Are you reading? Growing? Investing in your mind is critical to your success—no matter how you define success!
F – Fitness (The Body)
I follow the philosophy of Tom Rath, who wrote Eat Move Sleep. It’s a simple equation: eat the right amount of food, keep your body moving, and get the right amount of sleep. When you do those three things—voilà!—you have a perfect fitness plan!
Our fitness gets off track so easily because we don’t invest in our physical being, and we come up with really lame excuses about why we can’t or don’t take care of ourselves. If your health is not at the top of your priority list, then you’re essentially saying, “Living a long life is not important to me.”
E – Enthusiasm (The Spirit)
I truly believe that attitude is everything. And your attitude comes from the spiritual side of you. Is that because of your faith? Because of your habits? Because you’re contributing to the well-being of others? What you put into your spirit is what you’re going to get out. If you’re only putting negative things in, you’re only going to get negative things out. If you’re putting in good, fruitful things, then you’re going to get good, fruitful things out.
The Balanced Life Secret
While it’s important to find a good balance, that picture looks different for every person and every life situation. Instead of obsessing over the exact balance, think of it more as a healthy blend that changes from time to time. There may be times when one pillar gets more attention than another, but you want to avoid neglecting any one area for too long. If you do find yourself lacking in any of these areas, here are some actions you can take to fix it:
- Love: Get counseling, dedicate calendar time for date night/family time/socializing, network, learn about different personality types and how to best work with them
- Intellect: Read more, listen to podcasts, take a class, start a new hobby
- Fitness: Change your diet, hire a personal trainer, incorporate exercise into your morning routine, create a sleep routine
- Enthusiasm: Start a gratitude journal, meditate or pray daily, incorporate daily affirmations, volunteer, be generous
So how’s your life balance? Are you spending enough time and effort on each of the 4 pillars? If you know that you’re neglecting one of these areas, then start small and take just one action today. You’ll be on your way to a more balanced life in no time.
Until next time—go sell some stuff (and have a daiquiri)!