A Life of Balance

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A Life of Balance

Living A Balanced Life

If you want to achieve true success in life, you must take steps to ensure you maintain a certain level of balance… spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, mentally and financially.

“No success in public life can compensate for failure in the home.” —BENJAMIN DISRAELI

How Balanced Is Your Life At Present?

You will know when  your life is out of balance:

  • If your business is flourishing and your income is soaring but you don’t have time to enjoy it
  • If your hobbies and activities are stopping you spending time with your spouse partner and children
  • If you are so busy with living that you’re ignoring your health and fitness
  • If you have the house, the car, the aeroplane and the holiday home but no one to enjoy it with.

Have you ever felt like your life was out-of-control? If you have, you probably have a problem with balancing life’s priorities. Balance is the type of thing that sounds good in theory but is hard to apply in “real” life. Don’t worry, you haven’t been alone. Living a balanced life seems to be one of the greatest problems people struggle with.

It may well be the case that up to now you find it difficult to imagine a life that allows for all the things you would like to do, with the constant demands from work and also from our families, making you feel pressurized. Often people put other’s needs ahead of their own, but this proves to be a mistake in the long run. Burnout, depression, and loss of health are often the price we pay for not making balance a priority in our lives.

It’s important to have balance in your life. Instead of living to work, work to live. When your work life and personal life are out of balance, your stress will be running high. Living to work will mean that you miss out on a rewarding personal life.

When we face challenges in our personal life such as caring for an aging or unwell parent or coping with marital or financial problems, concentrating on your job can be difficult. And thus your personal life dominates and holds you back in your career.

Whether the problem is too much focus on work or too little, when your work life and your personal life feel out of balance, stress — and its harmful effects — is the result. Many of you reading this, I’m sure, are nodding in agreement.

Modern society has changed dramatically. This can be illustrated by the fact that once upon a time people employed by companies worked from Monday to Friday, eight or nine hours a day. The boundaries between work and home were fairly clear then, I suppose. But the world has changed and, the boundaries have blurred for many people.  I have never had a job where I had a set start time and end time, and only had to be there 8 hours a day. I’m sure not many of you have experienced that either. Is there any getting away from work with mobile phones, lap tops, fax and emails?

It isn’t easy to juggle the demands of career and personal life. Tell us something we don’t know already, I hear you say. For most people, it’s an on going challenge to reduce stress and maintain harmony in key areas of their life. Unfortunately, many people up to now have been failing in this key area of life.

Implications Of Life Being Out Of Balance

More and more, you have too much to do and too little time. Your responsibilities and obligations seem to pile up. There are never enough hours in the day. You may be earning more money and doing better than you have ever done before, but you often feel overwhelmed with the demands of your job and your personal life. You may be working harder today than ever before, yet you are getting less and less satisfaction and enjoyment from what you do. This healthy lifestyle plan gives you the solution to these unavoidable challenges of modern life.

When our lives get too hectic, and all our energies seem to be focused on dealing with problems, it’s all too easy to find ourselves “off balance”, and not paying enough attention to important areas of our lives. At this time our life is out of balance, neglecting certain areas of our lives. Family and health  are often the first, and this can lead to frustration and intense stress.

We often fall into the trap of only having time to deal with urgent tasks, so your non urgent tasks keep getting neglected. You tell yourself there will be time to deal with them later. But later never comes.

Just because something in your life is not urgent, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not important. So often focusing only on urgent tasks means we neglect what’s truly important to us. By the time these things become urgent, it’s often too late to affect them. They needed time and focus well before they became urgent.

For example, take a relationship. If you only invest in your relationships when they become urgent (you are on the brink of divorce or your child has become self destructive) you can’t just “take care of it.” It becomes a dominant issue that could take forever to “fix,” if it can be fixed at all. Focus needs to be centred on issues such as these before they come urgent. This might mean turning off the computer and mobile phone when you get home and really investing time and attention on your loved ones. And that big box, which is constantly growing in size, with an ever increasing number of channels, should, no doubt, be on for a lot less hours than it is already.

Our health must be considered as the most important area of our life. We have to eat well and exercise, because if we don’t we could find ourselves in a life risking situation later. ‘Right now, your health may not be deemed as an urgent area for consideration, but when a health issue becomes urgent, it stops everything else. But if you take the time daily to eat well and exercise NOW, you take care of your body so that you lessen your chances of ill health. Even today, after so many years in the fitness industry, it amazes me how many people join gyms only once they have been diagnosed with illness. It’s time many of you got your lifestyles right and prevent illness in the future, and do something good for yourself before it has become urgent that you do.

Determine Where You Are

At this point, you may be wondering how you could achieve more balance in your life and reap the benefits that come with it. The first step is to determine which areas of your life are out of balance. Now leave your negative thinking behind you at this point. If you believe that you can at last get your life in balance you will. But if you are telling yourself, ‘no way, it can’t be done’, there’s just too much to juggle in your life, you’ll find you won’t.

The wheel of life allows you to determine whether you are focusing too much on particular parts of your life and so neglecting others. It enables you to take a “helicopter view” of your life, so that you can bring things back into balance, considering each area of your life in turn so that you can assess what’s off balance. And so, it helps you identify areas that need more attention.

The Wheel of Life is powerful because it gives you a vivid visual representation of the way your life is currently, compared with the way you’d ideally like it to be. It is called the “Wheel of Life” because each area of your life is mapped on a circle, like the spoke of a wheel.

How It Will Help You

The Wheel of Life is a great tool to help you improve your life balance. It helps you quickly and graphically identify the areas in your life to which you want to devote more energy, and helps you understand where you might want to cut back.

How To Use The Wheel Of Life

Consider each category – how satisfied are you with all these areas of your life? Are you putting as much time, energy and attention into these areas as you would like?

Decide your degree of satisfaction from 0 to 10 and mark it on the Wheel of Life evaluation.

10 = totally happy – full satisfaction and achievement;

0 = totally unhappy – completely dissatisfied.

Take the centre of the wheel as 0 (totally dissatisfied) and the outer edge as 10 (totally satisfied).

Rank your satisfaction with each area of your life by putting a cross on the relevant spoke of you Life Wheel.

Draw a line to join the crosses together around the circle.

What do you notice? Does your life wheel look and feel balanced? How balanced is your life? Which areas make you happy, satisfied and fulfilled? Which areas need improvement? What changes in your life would make a difference?

Interpreting Your Wheel

You will find that most of your stress and unhappiness comes in the area where you give yourself the lowest grade. Once you identify that area, you can determine the specific steps you need to take to get that area under control.

The challenge now is to transform this knowledge and desire for a more balanced life into a positive programme of action.

“When you work, work and when you play, play. Don’t get the two mixed up.” Jim Rohn

Start getting your life in balance right now! Do the  Wheel of Life exercise by clicking the link and get started. (don’t worry it will only open a pdf file for you with the wheel of life exercise)

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About the author: Larry Lewis
My name is Larry Lewis, Health & Wellness Life Coach, Founder of Healthy Lifestyles Living, contributor to the Huffington Post, recently featured in the Sunday Mail Newspaper and somebody who went from being an owner of a chain of gyms and fitness fanatic, to a visually impaired overweight and incredibly sick person. Read about my illness to wellness story.
10 Comments
  1. Grady Pruitt September 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I agree that life takes a lot of balance. You may need to “unbalance” one area for a short time, but you need to make sure you get back to “normal” as soon as you can!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • LarryLewis September 13, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      Grady, great point. Sometimes needs must. so for a time we have to focus more of our attention on one area maybe at the cost of others. But yes we have to make sure that we re-establish our balance as soon as we can.

  2. Yomar Lopez September 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    This is such a crucial message to get out there, especially during these times when folks are scurrying to make ends meet and may be tempted to lose sight of what really matters. I find that the problem with work-life balance is part lack of core values and part time management issues, above all.

    Folks always say “I’m just too busy” but they are really saying, “I just don’t see the value in that.. or I don’t have enough time after all my other stuff.” If we focus on the simple things that truly enrich our lives and the lives of others, we find that we spend less time with “busy work” and needless diversions. On the flip side, sometimes you have to unplug, unwind, and “just be”.

    As for core values, I like to live a principle-driven life. Never stop learning and never develop an arrogance that would lead you to believe you know it all (you don’t). A little personal development every day goes a long way, I say (hey, that rhymes)!

    Someone mentioned this on Twitter today and it is worth repeating as it fills my soul with great joy every time I hear it…

    “If you don’t focus on your WHY, the HOW does not matter.”

    WHY are you living the life the way you are? Does your WHY, your purpose, mission, cause, or vision, truly drive you? Does it make you cry to think you may not “get there”?

    There’s something to be said for living out our passions and really taking a stand for what we believe in. Really, “unbalance” may very well start with the inclination towards conformity and complacency that seems to be engrained into our fickle human nature…

    What do you think?

    • LarryLewis September 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      Lopez – Times are tough for many. There struggles do indeed lead them to losing sight of what really matters. I do understand what you say about values, but I do see so many people struggling to survive, working to the extreme, leaving nothing left inside of them. They totally work themselves into the ground, and they are completely stressed. You are so right they have to be able to step back, stop, rest, and sometimes just do the little things in life that can indeed bring so much happiness.
      We need to learn something new everyday, that’s my principle. That’s why I love the world of blogging, where I get to read so many great articles, many of which are on subjects I’d never have considered prior to blogging. I will never be the finished article, and I know I can
      The WHY question is the part that truly empowers me. We first must find what our goal is. But hen to fuel this we have to explore the question why do we want this, why is it important to us, why will it make a difference.
      WHY are you living the life the way you are? Does your WHY, your purpose, mission, cause, or vision, truly drive you? Does it make you cry to think you may not “get there”?
      My passions are what keep me going every day. They are my energy. They are everything to me.
      Comments like this are one of the reasons that blogging is so unique, and why I love it. Thank you for taking the time.

  3. John Jarvis September 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Great article Larry. It takes time to learn how to balance one’s life. Everything is either too slow, or all “hustle and bustle” like at Christmas time.

    Everyone needs to learn how to take the time to stop every once in a while simply to “smell the roses” of life and achieve true balance.

    • LarryLewis September 15, 2011 at 6:57 pm

      John, so true, even guys like us need every now and again to remember the importance of a healthy life balance. Being so passionate about the things we do, it is so easy to let it take us over and forget about other important areas of our lives. Sometimes we have to just leave it all alone and concentrate on these other things. Our work will still be there when we go back to it, and the rest will have done our business no harm, but will provide us with great benefit.

  4. Susan Beesley September 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Very interesting perspective and have downloaded the wheel of life exercise pdf (it’s great to get a gift) Will let you know how we get on. Feeling good right now as just back from my yoga class which I’ve missed for a few weeks as we’ve been travelling.

    • LarryLewis September 15, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      Susan, i hope you get some benefit out of the Wheel of Life. Its a great tool to help you reflect on your life and ensure everything is in balance. Just as Yoga ensures your mind and body are in balance, I hope you enjoyed your class

  5. loddy micucci January 7, 2012 at 12:49 am

    Hi Larry, thank you for giving us such a visual tool to keep our life inn balance.
    I have had that wheel spinning around in my head for the last 24 hours. I can see all the bumps and wonky spokes. Your post really gives me a base to commence to iron out the kinks.

    Thank you very helpful.

    • Larry Lewis January 10, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Loddy this is one of my favourite, and most powerful tools. I redo this exercise on a monthly basis, because i am completely aware how easy it is for us to allow our focus to be sucked into one thing at the cost of others. It is so important to retain a balance, and this one exercise helps us to do that better than any other in my mind.

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