I recently read a book, Breaking the Trust Barrier, by JV Venable — an excellent book; I highly recommend it! One of the topics it touched on was creating balance in our lives. The author, a former commander and demonstration leader of the USAF’s elite demonstration team, the Thunderbirds, suggested a way to monitor our life balance through the “Pillars of Life”.
His Pillars of Life are:
If one of the five is out of balance, it will affect the others in some way, and the pillars eventually start crumbling!
How to Know if Balance is Missing in Your Life
Most of us are “busy being busy” and rarely take the time to reflect on these five key areas to monitor our life balance. I have been training and coaching people in organizations for over 30 years, and I continue to consistently hear:
- I am so tired
- I feel like I am burned out
- I don’t have time to breathe
- I never have enough time for “me”
- I wish I could take a vacation by myself and disconnect
- I am not sleeping well
- My tank is so empty
- I have nothing to give my family by the time I get home
- I am too tired to exercise
- I don’t have time to eat a healthy diet
- It feels like I am always rushing
- There are not enough hours in the day
- I go from work, to home, to kids, to family, there isn’t any time for me (not gender specific!)
- I just want to sit down and cry
If you have ever thought or said any of the above or anything similar, it might be time to schedule some time to reflect on those five pillars, really focus on evaluating where you are out of balance, and make some adjustments now!
WE ARE IN CONTROL OF OUR TIME AND HOW WE SPEND IT – IT IS A CHOICE. We may tell ourselves we are not in control, however we truly are in control. We always make the choices to “do this and not that.” Each of those decisions has consequences, both positive and negative. Start to become more present and cognizant of the choices you make daily, moment to moment. Ask yourself: “If I say ‘yes’ to this, what or who will I be saying ‘no’ to later?” Choosing to live in constant motion and reactiveness is a choice and can be addictive.
An Ancient Practice for the Modern World
I have recently discovered YOGA — after many, many years of saying to myself, “I want to try yoga”, I finally did it! I have found many benefits to yoga in a really short time, and it is amazing how fast you can build strength and balance – I strongly recommend it. It is an amazing workout (I had no idea!). We do a short meditation in each class which has slowed me down in so many ways and helped me to be more present and less reactive. By the way, I do yoga twice a week, either in a local class at our gym or by myself in my home or hotel (when I travel). There are so many free yoga workouts right on YouTube. Here is one of my favorite YouTube yoga instructors, Yoga with Adriene. She has routines for many different ability levels, so don’t be afraid to give it a try!
In summary, take time NOW to:
- Reflect on the five pillars – where are you out of balance?
- Share this with your spouse/significant other. Have a discussion. Get in balance together.
- Be conscious of your choices about your time
- Learn to say “NO”, so you can say “YES” to what is really important.
- Be protective of your internal flame, your chi, your energy – you are responsible for your own well-being!
- Practice some kind of mindfulness routine to slow down and become more present and less reactive