Sometimes Balance Is About Figuring Out What Doesn’t Work

by David Bohl

“If you are unhappy with anything… whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you are free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.” – Tina Turner

Have you ever sat down and tried to sort out your priorities? It’s tough, isn’t it? You try to figure out what is working in your life and career…but nothing comes to mind. If that’s the case with you, I’ve got good news.

You can’t always figure out what’s most important to you – what you’re passionate about or where you want to invest all of your private time and energy, so sometimes it helps to determine what’s NOT important to you– what you’re just putting up with or enduring.

And we all do that. Our daily life is about compromises. For instance, your ideal is to be able to walk to work…yet the immediate environment around your office (assuming you work outside your home) might not be in a good neighborhood.

So to get the good neighborhood you want for your kids, you move out to a suburbs. Now you’ve got the right neighborhood — and an hour-long commute that you didn’t want, but compromised for.

Or maybe you wanted to be a musician, but you realized the income was very unstable and it was more important to you to have a family…which pretty much necessitates a steady income.

If you want to balance your life, you have to be clear about what you really want in life…and that includes knowing what you DON’T want. Maybe you know some of the things you don’t want, but you’re drawing a blank on the rest of it. That’s OK.

Some people have known from Day 1 what they want out of life, but others have no clue. For the latter group, life balance is often a process of trial and error – changing things, keeping what works, and discarding what doesn’t.

So let’s take a look at what might not be working in your life. These questions should stimulate your thinking:

  • Do you look forward to going to work in the morning or do you dread it?
  • When you think about spending the next 10 years in the career or job you’re currently in, does that thrill you or make you slump and roll your eyes?
  • Do you look forward to coming home?
  • When you have an activity scheduled on the weekend, do you look forward to it or do you think, “I’ll get through it somehow?”
  • Do you smile and laugh when you talk about work…or do you try to avoid talking about it?
  • How’s your sleep? Do you sleep like a baby, or do you have trouble falling asleep…and then twist and turn?

If you’re in a career or job that has you dreading Monday mornings, that may indicate that that particular job or career really isn’t working for you anymore and it may be time to think about making a change to something you really enjoy.

And if you don’t look forward to coming home, might you be carrying negative spillover from work home with you?

When you’re in the right job and career, you’re happy and fulfilled. You look forward to starting work, you talk animatedly about it, and you sleep well.

Do you need to love your job? Not necessarily. Most people don’t love their work. Many like it, some tolerate it. For most, it simply supports their lifestyle.

What if you’re like most and don’t love your job? The first option is to approach it with integrity. Give the most to it instead of making the best of it. Take satisfaction in the way you do your job. Be passionate about the way you do your job.

If that just isn’t cutting it, you may have hit upon something that simply doesn’t work for you.

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