Monday, May 3, 2010

Is Life Balance Possible?

This past Thursday I delivered a keynote at a conference to a great group of mid to senior level professionals in the cable television industry.

The topic was Reclaim Your Life: Strategies and Insights for Balanced Living.

I love watching people’s faces when I present.

You can tell before I begin that--assuming they've never heard of me--they’re ready to settle back into their chairs for a boring ho-hum presentation on how to manage your time or get organized. Or that they think I look too young to possibly have anything of great value to impart.

Then, as the program unfolds, they start perking up, shifting in their chairs, taking notes, leaning forward in their seats and finally, the room gets really quiet as I challenge and guide them on a journey to slowing down and being more present; getting clear on what feeds/drains them; focusing on the power of self-renewal and building a support network (read more).

And, when I talk about how these insights will impact their sense of well-being and equilibrium more than any PDA or time management software program ever will—you can see a huge shift in their faces as they begin to feel empowered and open up to new possibilities.

I define balance as having enough time, energy and resources for those things that are most important to you in life. And what’s most important will constantly change.

Although I get hired to speak a lot on work-life balance, I am passionate about teaching men, women and families how to enhance balance in all aspects of their lives: doing vs. being, thinking vs. feeling, giving vs. receiving, working vs. playing, etc.

It’s interesting to ask yourself, “What is my mindset around the topic of life balance?” (Many professionals we work with share honestly that they think it’s unattainable, impossible, too hard, will require them to change too much or is elusive. In fact, recently one of the national groups I spoke to said they just completed an employee satisfaction survey and the majority of their employees would not even check or comment on work-life balance as they felt it was futile).

I know for me, I’m at a very different place around this topic now, than I was in my twenties and thirties (when I used to swing the pendulum from working to the bone/over-exhaustion to monthly visits to massage therapists/retreats centers or weekends away for fleeting moments of calm and peace).

I never considered that there might be a middle ground. That it is possible to experience more peace and well-being in my everyday life—day in, day out.

In my former type A, perfectionist, controlling, over-achiever way, I based my sense of “balance” on what was going on around me. If I had a boss that was difficult, a monster project to manage or a family crisis to navigate, I was convinced my sense of balance—and my health—were destined for the dumpster.

Later, I came to realize that it is possible to live in the middle of the extremes and access well-being on a daily basis—I don’t have to take a retreat or go meditate on a mountaintop for five hours to find peace. When I began to make choices that supported my emotional well-being as my #1 priority and started to look at how I can create balance from the inside-out, everything shifted.

Although it will be a lifelong journey for me (I still to this day, tend to over-commit to things I love to do), I think I’d sum up my current mantra for balance as “A day-to-day choice.” And, the constant reminder to be gentle with myself is ever-present.

What’s your mantra or mindset towards life balance? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

JOIN US FOR AN UPCOMING EVENT: Would you like support for creating life balance from the inside-out? Join us in the cool Berkshire mountains in MA this coming August at the beautiful Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health for our Self-Renewal Retreat Aug. 13-15. One of my favorite spots on the planet and the retreat center that I visit when I'm ready to make a huge life shift! More upcoming events here.

Visit our calendar to learn more about upcoming events including our FREE May 18th Live Inside Out teleclass on Reclaiming Adventure in Your Life and our June 11th The Empowered Entrepreneur workshop.
Also, check out our Live Inside Out community and share how you slow down and unplug.

The Journey, a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey to life balance and living life from the inside out, comes out weekly.

Photo: St. Francis of Assisi church at Rancho de Taos. Taken on a family trip to New Mexico last summer.

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