Lately, I’ve been thinking balance is bullshit. This idea that we’re supposed to feel equally invested and fulfilled in all aspects of our life, just feels like a lie we tell ourselves. This especially feels like a lie when we’re speaking about high performing athletes and professionals. You cannot be the best at something, or at the very top of you game, without the grip being loosened somewhere else. You have to find YOUR OWN BALANCE. Your own secret sauce. That perfect blend, just made for you, that puts you in the flow.
Balance is different for everyone. It’s impossible to be thriving in every aspect of your life, all the time. When I was in Grad School I received my Life Coaching Certification so that I could do coaching on the side as I was finishing school to become a psychotherapist. Part of this fundamental training model was that our clients must achieve "balance" in order to be happy or fulfilled. At the time I bought into this belief as well. Balance under this model included 12 different pillars; nutrition, physical health, professional satisfaction, spirituality, family, relationships, just to name a few.
I do think as part of being dedicated to continuous growth and self development, we can work on improving all aspects of our life. With that being said, if you’re the CEO of a company and working diligently to lead your team, execute deliverables, and strategically build your business, you may not be completely balanced in all aspects of your life. Its about maintaining a healthy balance FOR YOU. Again, balance for the CEO probably includes more attention to their work than someone who is in an entry level position or a “clock-in, clock-out” role.
As a personal example, I am completely obsessed with my “work”. I put work in quotes, because I’m not sure that I can call it work because it never feels like it to me. With this being said, I put a disproportionate amount of time towards building my business, educating myself, seeking mentors in the space, and networking to cultivate collaborative relationships and brainstorming opportunities. This means that my husband and I have to schedule time to be together (it doesn't just magically happen), I sneak out to write and read (we hire a babysitter), my work outs are short and intense, I don’t spend too much time with friends, etc.. I am very aware of when I’m in my flow and when I’m out of it; for me, spending a lot of time doing “work” actually puts me in flow. When I’m in flow, I feel balanced.
I encourage everyone to evaluate their own lives and assess what feels good and what doesn’t. Are you spending time doing things that serve you and are aligned with the goals you have for the future? Do you feel you’re stretched too thin? Being pulled in too many directions? Or do you feel aligned to your higher purpose and your most authentic self? This is where mindful reflection comes into play. Our ability to remain present is a key component to noticing our balance and flow.
When I think about balance these days, I think about bringing awareness to Mind, Body, and Soul in everything we do. This takes moment to moment, mindful attunement, intention, and a consciousness to show up on purpose.
When it comes to high performance, the head space we exist in plays a huge role in our ability to be present, respond appropriately, and fly at a higher level. Nurturing our mental health and ensuring that we bring awareness to the thoughts and emotions that are impacting our performance is key. In order to fully utilize our mind in all aspects of our life, we must be AWAKE. This means that we have to constantly find ways to train our brain to be conscious and alert because we know how easy it is to slip into auto-pilot.
When it comes to our body, the same conscious awareness is needed. It is our job to notice what feels good and what does not. What do you put in your body when you’re performing your best? How often do you go out for drinks? What is your personal balanced approach that makes you feel like the bad ass that you are? Again, this differs for everyone. Notice how much caffeine and sugar you intake, how often you like to work out, what kind of work outs you like doing etc.
Another personal story: There was a time when I was spending so much time reading, attending conferences, researching, writing, and diving into my own mindfulness and meditation practice and I completely neglected my body. I neglected my body in the sense that I wasn’t moving it enough, wasn’t sweating enough, and wasn’t eating a well balanced diet. I got by for a while, because I was so stimulated intellectually, but at some point I fell out of my flow. The way I feel physically deeply impacts my confidence, clarity, and my sense of connectedness to the power within. As I have continued to research, I see that our bodies physiologically and energetically are directly impacted by our brain and vice versa. This relationship between mind and body is something that I will always keep a close eye on, and I encourage all the individuals I work with to do the same.
Lastly, it is important that we bring our SOUL into our relationships and work in order to achieve peak performance. What is the soul anyway? There are so many different definitions of the Soul; my personal favorite comes from Gary Zukav, author of Seat of the Soul. “Your soul is the essence of who you are. It is the powerful, expansive, evolving center of all that you are.” He goes on to say that, “Awareness of our souls lies at the heart of creating authentic power.” If we attempt to achieve at the highest levels without being aware of our soul, we are limiting our ability to expand. As a leader, you have a choice to make. Will you choose to inspire through your personality/fear or through your soul/love? We must choose to align ourselves with our soul again and again in order to evolve.
When we realize that our physical body, our personality, our character, is just a temporary home for our soul we realize that our only job is to connect to our own authentic power. How can I detach from my appearance, my ego, my personality and focus on allowing my soul to come to the forefront. Meditation has been such an important tool in allowing me to connect with the deepest parts of the Self, so that I can bring my soul into every encounter I have in my personal and professional life.
When we lean in to the balance of our Mind, Body, and Soul to perform at our highest level, we can’t help but to attract all that we want and desire. We show up in a way that allows our full, embodied self to serve others in a meaningful and authentic way. We are able to discern what thoughts, behaviors, and ideas are actually ours and what society has simply conditioned us to believe that we want. I encourage you to focus on the balance of Mind, Body, and Soul as you explore ways in which you can achieve peak performance.
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