Is it unbalance or imbalance? Apparently one is a verb and the other is a noun.
Anyway… about 5 weeks ago on a webinar with my sister, somebody asked us how we keep everything balanced. We ALL have so much going on. You’re probably a full-time employee, business owner, student, twitter activist, sister, Netflix addict, best friend, girlfriend, wife, mom, you name it. I talk a little bit about how imbalance almost crashed and burned all the important things in my life in a previous post, but I want to go deeper.
I’m very much so a people watcher, and because I don’t leave the house much (pro & con of working from home), I observe people by what they post online. Yes, I stalk Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages and I make little observations as I scroll. The running theme lately is that people are unhappy with their life and business. How do I know this? Because one day a post will be about how great their life is, and another day it’ll be a post ranting about whatever. That sounds a little unbalanced to me, no?
How exactly does imbalance/unbalance happen? What causes it? First, let’s get extremely literal.
The definition of imbalance (noun) is lack of proportion or relation between corresponding things.
The definition of unbalance (verb) is to make someone or something unsteady so that they tip or fall.
My life isn’t perfect, but after a few years of investing in personal and professional development, I’ve figured out how to create a balanced lifestyle that I’m proud of. Does this mean I’m always happy or things always go my way? Absolutely not. But it means I can recognize when I reach a point of imbalance, and then take the necessary steps to fix it.
Here are some reasons why my life was unbalanced before.
When we don’t properly prioritize, we put make the small things important. You know, the things we don’t really care about but we think we do? The things that are sitting in our comfort zone tugging for our attention. For me, the idea that I needed a college degree to be successful kept pulling at me. The idea that I had to do what my parents expected of me in order for them to be proud continuously crossed my mind. I let those ideas take ownership of thoughts, and I put them before my own needs. The need to follow my calling, run my own business and encourage others to do the same was stagnant. There was no movement towards following my dreams, and during that time I was extremely unhappy.
There was a lack of proportion between what I told myself I wanted and what I was actually doing. Every single action you take is either taking you closer to your goal or pulling you further away. There is no in between.
For you it might be prioritizing the approval of family members or even strangers just to feel… comfortable.
Lack of sacrifice.
Back then, I wasn’t ready to sacrifice other people’s happiness for my own. I was doing what I could to make sure that I was meeting other people’s expectations of me, and guess what? I was unhappy. When you’re ready to be happy and find the balance in your life, it’s going to freak people out a little bit lot. “What do you mean you’re starting your own business?” “What do you mean you’re dropping out of school?” “What do you mean you’re starting a non-profit?” People who don’t understand your purpose will not understand the things you make sacrifices for. And that’s okay. It’s not meant for them to understand. But just be aware that in order to find that balance, you’re going to have to sacrifice approval and meeting expectations.
There were a couple things I had to learn:
When you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to another.
The entire time I was saying “yes” to making someone else happy, I was saying “no” to my own happiness. There lies the imbalance. Too many “yeses” in one direction means a lot of “no’s” in another.
So how do you fix this?
Put people in check… including yourself.
Everybody must play their position. If people want to be a part of your journey, they have to accept what you sacrifice and prioritize or else they’ll get left behind. It’s funny because we tell people how to treat us, and then we treat ourselves the WORST! Why is this? Because we’ve been conditioned for so long to stay in our comfort zones. Not a lot of what we’re taught encourages us to stretch our imagination. What I’m learning is that people are addicted to the struggle. They’re addicted to sitting back and dreaming instead of actually doing, and then they’re the ones that get left behind. Even when they finally say “I’ve had enough” and they make a small attempt to follow their dream, they get set back. It’s like having a relapse and going back to your safe space. That’s what happens to addicts. Addiction makes you unsteady. It makes you unbalanced.
When you’re addicted to the struggle you’re likely to relapse when you try to follow your dreams.
Aren’t you ready to stop falling down and just stay up for once?
Balance comes when we get closer and closer to our purpose. We’ve already lived a very good portion of our lives in a sea of expectations. Purpose isn’t about doing what others expect of you. It’s about doing what you’re meant for and what you’re built for. The closer you are, the more balanced your life will be.
The scary part about that, because our minds are sometimes conditioned to be complacent, we don’t even realize when we pull further away from our purpose. How can we become the business owner we want to be when we invest in pretty things instead of education? How can we build a non-profit that will impact others if we never get consulting from a non-profit consultant? How can we work for ourselves full-time if we never prioritize setting a deadline for ourselves? Being addicted to the struggle means self-sabotaging. Too many of us do it to ourselves every day. We wait for the opportunity to arise, and when it’s there, we let it slip away because we’re not “ready”.
Last week I wrote about growth and how I’m in a transition with my life and business. I’m moving forward to do things I’ve never attempted, but I understand it’s necessary to stay balanced. I recognize that imbalance comes when we stay in one place too long. You learn, you grow and you have to get out of the comfortable space of complacency.
What are the things you sacrifice and prioritize in your life? Are you able to recognize the things that are pulling you further away from or closer to your goals? Would love to hear from you!