Listened to a great interview today between Chris Guillebeau and Chase Jarvis. #CJLive is one of my go-to sites when I’m having to spend time driving or cooking up a storm in our kitchen unit. I get to listen to something stimulating, about often familiar subjects, yet from a completely alternate lense. The part that spiked my interest in this interview was all about balance. Don’t switch off – it’s not what you think.
For many years I think I’ve just kept it a secret that I actively aim for each day to be different. I’m really not drawn to strict timetables because there is something of the Pharisee in me, that as soon as I start adhering to a “Balanced Life” I start channelling someone really sanctimonious and find that actually my faith and my focus is in ticking off the actions (meditation, yoga, journaling) tick tick tick and that head prefect side seems to chase away my wilder, truer self, which needs some edges, some challenges and indeed a level of imbalance in order to live inspired and energised.
So what sparked me was when Chris said that he had never sought to live a balanced life; that he never did his best work when he was balanced. He then went on to say balanced people don’t change the world; balanced people don’t really follow their dream. Punchy – right?
Several times in my life I have wasted money on gym membership but not before attending a class or two. And even though each time I feel like I must shower away the “vanilla” of it all – I enjoyed trying out those balancing exercises where being on an unstable platform serves to strengthen your core. In the same way, having a level of imbalance in my life really helps me find and maintain my core compass.
Maintaining my core compass means allowing my flow and my energy to dictate the day. Some days it will be all about rest but then I’ll get a huge creative spark and then I’ll get into a completely different energy space and I could be creating a bespoke menu for a client until the early hours of the morning for instance. For too long I have then berated myself for not being more balanced and having an early night. We sometimes need to give ourselves permission just to be.
Despite all of the many and varied bumps in the uneven road, I have had moments of transcendence and inspiration that have helped me make quantum leaps in my personal and my work life. They’ve often come in very unconventional ways – but the common binding thread has been when I’ve just been in my flow. And this never comes when I’m being too careful and too conservative. It never comes when I’m being too balanced.
I made a commitment to myself to not do anything anymore out of guilt. Much of my own seeking a more balanced life was out of guilt of those I’ve disappointed or let down along the way of pursuing my dreams. And guilt is such a negative power.
So they went on to discuss rather than seeking a balanced life – it was better to seek a fulfilled life. And again – my heart sang Yes. Yes that’s exactly right – for me at least. While having balanced life pie chart might sooth my sanctimonious inner prefect self – there’s nothing I find fulfilling about that.