Anyone who has a busy schedule, responsibilities and a steady flow of stress that spans different areas of his or her life has likely struggled to find balance. This is even more true for small business owners who generally take on a little bit of everything in order to get the job done. The simple truth is that there are are only so many hours in a day, and so many places you can be at one time.
It doesn’t matter if you are a “go with the flow” kind of person, or a “super-detailed, need for control” kind of person. You can fly by the seat of your pants, or you can live by your plans, lists and deadlines. It doesn’t matter which side of the scale you fall on, the struggle is the same: finding balance — the place where you feel like you are giving the perfect amount of yourself to your work, and the perfect amount of yourself to our personal life, while avoiding an inordinate amount of stress — is challenging.
As a recovering perfectionist, I have spent much of my life trying to achieve a perfect balance between work and my personal life. Like many other Type-A entrepreneurs, I wanted everything in my life to be lined up straight, organized and making complete sense. You know when my view of achievable perfection came crashing down? When I had kids. My oldest is going on six, and I have yet to regain any sustainable sense of control.
I have learned that, for me, the only way to achieve balance — not a perfect balance, just a balance that prevents me from toppling off the top of the mountain — is by accepting imperfection and imbalance.
Yes…I reach balance by striving toward an acceptable level of imbalance. In fact, I have certain levels of imbalance that are okay for me. I’m not scared of failure or of making mistakes. Oh, I hate to fail, don’t get me wrong. But I’m well past the point of becoming complacent because I don’t want to risk an unfavorable outcome. That is the way life goes for busy people, ambitious people, entrepreneurs and parents. You take the route that may leave you a little frazzled at the end of the day, but gives you the most opportunity for creating the life you want.
Eventually, the imbalance becomes consistent. It’s expected and accepted. You will not reach perfection. If you can accept that and look to the next desirable outcome, you are ahead of the game. And once you shift your level of expectations, the imbalance becomes balance.
So if you have 4,862 balls in the air, do you expect to keep every single one from touching the ground, or do you have room for error? What’s your version of balance, and how realistic is it? What does balance mean for you?