Failing at Balance

Failing at Balance

Has anyone told you that you should have balance in life? I think it is impossible to achieve balance on a daily basis. Instead, you should ask yourself, “What is my purpose?” The key is to understand what is important in your life and prioritize.

TECHNIQUES:

The three‐legged stool model (see picture in article below) is useful to illustrate the need for balance, but in reality we often spend most of our time on ‘career.’

CAREER – This is important and the mission may require that we spend long hours at work, but when there are opportunities to break away you should spend it with your family. One of the best wing commanders I worked for would always go home by 1630 so that his staff did not stay late. He understood that we would not accomplish everything, no matter how many hours we worked, so prioritizing and communicating the tasks that won’t be completed was more important.

FAMILY – To me this is the most important, but often sacrificed when duty calls. The key is to not sacrifice important family occasions and prioritize family when at home. My priority when I get home is to first communicate with my wife, then my son. If I have homework, I will wait till after my kid is in bed. Luckily, my wife usually understands when I do work at home, but this is the toughest aspect to balance. I have seen great officers more talented than I separate for family reasons. 

The trick to balance is to make not‐sacrificing important things the norm.– Simon Sinek

SPIRITUAL – This doesn’t have to be religion focused. If you are not religious, take time each day (even if it is only for 15 minutes) to reflect on your priorities and the important things in life. Spending time on reflection may seem minor, but is often overlooked and critical to staying focused. 

If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters.– Colin Powell
 
Often our internal perception of ourselves does not align with our actions, so regular reflection helps identify actions that need to be adjusted before there are serious consequences. For example, I like to think I prioritize family, but there are times I find myself distracted by my cellphone when I should be spending time with my family.

CLOSING THOUGHT: 

Have you ever seen anyone truly attain balance? I fail at balance every day, but I prioritize and focus on the things that are important – the struggle is real.

People talk about balance. Balance is an awful measure of things because it implies a scale that inevitably tips. I like to look through the filter of, ‘Is the life I’m leading consistent with my priorities?’ For me, my family is the ultimate litmus test.– Ivanka Trump 


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