14 REFLECTIONS FROM 2016 TO HELP US ACHIEVE AMAZING THINGS IN 2017. Part 9 - Life balance is not about having it all. It's about making what you do have count. Ever feel like finding balance in your life is impossible? I hear people shun the concept of balance all the time. Some of the worlds greatest leaders have put the message out there – Life balance isn’t possible, so don’t bother trying. Just go easy on yourself and accept there is ‘no such thing’. Well I beg to differ. Seriously. If balance is what you really want, then why would you accept any other way. It also is possible. I know because I help people find their own balance in life every single day. Balance is not something that once you’ve found it, you’re done and never have to worry again. It’s an ongoing commitment to yourself to keep shifting and changing things to better meet your own needs. It’s not about ‘having it all’. Which is one thing people often mistakenly think. How could anyone possibly ‘have it all’ when some activities would be contradictory. You can’t have a sleep in every morning and still get up early. Some things just logically won’t work. Balance is more about deciding consciously what life will look like for you. For some people, this is a flexible work arrangement, for others it is working long hours in a role they are passionate about and still finding time to go to the gym. For others it’s being able to take a mini break away every three months to recharge their batteries or having opportunities to work on amazing inspiring projects and be present every single night when they are home with their family. There is no right or wrong way to find the mix of life activities that’s right for you. You 100% get to decide this. We all have the same number of hours in the day. There is no escaping it. This is reality. But we are also blessed to have the time we do, to use exactly as we choose. I know not everyone feels this way. Not everyone sees or agrees that they have the flexibility to decide how they spend their time. But I would like to challenge them by arguing actually they do. No question about it. That situation you now find yourself in. That role that is so full on it’s starting to exhaust and overwhelm you. You chose it. That’s not to blame you for where you are at but help you to see you can choose again. And you don’t necessarily need to quit your job (or the situation you now find yourself in) to achieve the change. It may be just reworking things a little to get your life back, to feel in control and to take a load off. Perhaps it’s having a conversation with your boss about how you are travelling and what you’d really like to happen in your role. Perhaps it’s about sharing more of the workload with others in your team. Being there as a support but not the take on everything with no questions leader. Perhaps it’s about prioritising and taking the time to decide what you can achieve, what you want to and what’s no longer yours to carry. Perhaps you would rather go out for the day with your family and invite in a cleaner to help you around the house. Perhaps you’d rather work on an exciting project and get someone to help you more with the administrative activities which currently take up so much of your time. Or perhaps you could just look at implementing streamlined systems to enable you (and your team) to get more done in less time. These questions often reflect the way you value yourself. Think long and hard about what you enjoy and what is most meaningful to you. You only have so much time in the day and in life generally. How are you going to make sure every moment counts? Some things will definitely stay. No question about it. But some things you may need to drop, ask for help or bite the bullet and just delegate to someone else. You will need to be very clear about this. It’s too easy to say yes to every thing and pick up the bits which you feel need to get done without ever asking yourself the question; is there a better way? You can guarantee that a little bit of time spent working this out is time well spent. When you stop and slow down you can really cement what you need to do to move forward again in a more considered and thoughtful way. Your time is precious. You can’t do everything, and nor do you need to. If you were going to prioritise your time today, what would you put FIRST, SECOND and THIRD? And what activities wouldn’t even get a look in? You can be sure that at the moment some of what you are spending a lot of time on is not feeding your soul, inspiring you or helping you move closer to the goals in life which are most important to you. If you don’t stop for a moment, you’ll just keep charging ahead. All it takes is a few moments each day to ask yourself, what is most important to me today. What will leave me feeling satisfied and complete and joyous at the end of today. If something is weighing on you, ask yourself what are my other options here? When you free yourself of the unnecessary burdens weighing you down in life, you will often have so much more energy to be more efficient, creative and innovative. You will come up with solutions to your problems which will seem so obvious afterwards. You will realize what really matters to you and you will let go of things which no longer matter. You will know you are on the right path and you will trust that things will work out okay. Because you WILL have the right BALANCE. You won’t be accepting your lot in life and wondering if you will ever come to a better day, like maybe one day when I retire I’ll get to enjoy life, or when I retire, or when the kids grow up and go to uni, or when I have enough money. Find ways of balancing your life now. Don’t just accept it. Draw on the leadership you have within you to shift and drive the new life you’ve chosen for yourself consciously. You can do it. For your own wellbeing, you must. It’s not about having everything. It’s about channeling all you do have in a way that is meaningful and rewarding to you. If you don’t do it, at the end of your life the only person you would have cheated is you. There is a way. You just have to look for it and choose it consciously. Then enjoy your happy, rewarding and inspiring days.