Balance Integration. That’s the phrase that symbolizes my personal journey to contentment and serenity. It’s what my health coaching clients can expect when we work together to navigate the competing priorities that constantly tug at them. Between the good work we want to do via our careers, the attention we want to give to our families, the contributions we want to make to our communities, and the investments we ought to be making in ourselves, there never seems to be enough time to do everything. And this inability to do it all is crippling us. In some cases it is literally killing us.
However, somewhere deep inside, we hold the secret to having it all. Does it mean we don’t have to choose or compromise? No. Does it mean we never fail or lose? No. We will have setbacks. We will have friction with our loved ones. We will get frustrated.
Then that isn’t having it all then, is it? Well, I know for me, when I accept that life is a mash-up of things that are out of my control and things that are the direct result of my own choices, I feel free of regret for the past and anxiety of the future.
If things are truly out of my control then there is nothing I can do to change them. They just are.
If things are the result of my own choices then I need to take responsibility for them, learn from them, and then forget about them. Once those choices are made, they turn into things I can’t control. They just are.
Balance Integration is best described by that quote from François-René Chateaubriand:
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”
While his choice of pronouns is sexist (it was the 18th century, what do you expect?), the concept belongs to everyone. It’s how I’ve tried to live.
Last week I was embedded at Duke and completely focused on the second on-site module of the IHCPT program.
The luxury of single focus is now over. The final sprint of the v2.0 plan will roll out over the next six weeks. It may very well be the most intense challenge to Work-Life
Balance Integration that I’ve ever had. I have 4 major initiatives for my V1.0 job that I need to roll out. I also need to be there for my family, not just as a provider (it’s tax time! there’s bills to pay! and it’s time to dewinterize the yard!), but as a provider of strength and emotional support at a time when we’re all undergoing significant change. Meanwhile, the work required to prepare for the last on-site for Duke IHCPT is not insignificant. And on top of all this I will make progress on being a coach; not just learning to be one.
When I break all this stuff down into individual tasks for the v2.0 project plan, it’s intimidating. I think about deferring large aspects of it. But then I look at the bigger picture.
Individually, each task is nothing more than a line on a to-do list. Together, they are the things that define me. They’re my work and my play; my labor and my leisure. They develop my mind and my body. They’ll help me learn and allow me to teach.
And if things don’t work out, it’ll either be because of things out of my control or because of choices I’ve made. Suddenly these tasks don’t seem so intimidating anymore. Bring em on!