Who Cares About Life Balance Anyway?
Posted on August 14, 2013
What does it mean to be balanced in life? Imagine that every single baby is given the same amount of eggs when they’re born. These eggs represent what makes them feel good about themselves, so we’ll call them self-esteem eggs. Each person gets to decide for themselves which balance baskets they want to put their self-esteem eggs in: social/emotional, financial, physical, or spiritual/mental.
Do you know someone who seems to only care about ‘keeping up with the Jones’? If their neighbor buys a Corvette, they buy a Mustang the next day? Conversations with people like this is more painful than getting teeth pulled. Can you guess which self-esteem basket is probably a little heavier for this person?
Or do you know one of those moms whose entire life revolves around her kids? Do you wonder if she’s going to be admitted into a mental hospital when she becomes an empty nester? Or how about the spiritual zealot that crams their beliefs down your throat all the time? They simply cannot comprehend how an answer to your problem didn’t just jump out at you when you read the bible. We all know someone who seems to have all of their self-esteem eggs in one basket. Conversations with them can only last so long because they’re always about the same thing.
Being balanced means to have the same amount of self-esteem eggs in each identity basket. Just like Ramit Sethi stresses the importance of having multiple revenue streams, you should have multiple ‘self-esteem streams’ too. This way, if one area of your life isn’t going very well, you still have other places to get more self-esteem from. Yes, losing your job is still painful even if you are balanced, but I guarantee you it’s a lot more painful for the people whose entire identity revolved around their job and money. Being balanced makes it easier to relate to and understand more people too, which is necessary to be a leader.
It’s not uncommon to shift your priorities in life and move your self-esteem eggs to different baskets at various points in your life. Like a lot of people, your social basket was probably a little heavier than the other baskets when you were in college. Perhaps you’re like me and shifted quite a bit of those self-esteem eggs from the social to financial basket to help me focus on paying off all my college debt. Shifting your self-esteem eggs to different baskets throughout your life isn’t a bad thing, it’s what we have to do to get stuff done sometimes.
Most of us only get fleeting glimpses of what true balance feels like. My most recent balance moment was holding my friend’s 1.5 year old son, while we both became entranced by the ocean waves. Life just slowed down at that moment, and every single detail of what was around me contributed to the most overwhelming feeling of content in my body, mind, and heart. Have you ever had a moment like that? A balance high is my favorite kind of buzz. The goal to ‘being balanced’ is just to recognize when one basket is getting a little heavier than the others and consciously work on diversifying and balancing your self-esteem streams.
What does ‘being balanced’ mean to you?