Many clients come to me for coaching seeking inner peace and serenity, maybe bringing their lives back into balance after a disrupting event (like changing jobs, moving house, having babies or finding love). Others want to start new ventures or step up to leadership, but are afraid that this will disrupt their current state of balance and security.
Our desires are for inner peace, yet we lack confidence to maintain that in our busy lives.
We are stuck in a double bind – a conflict between wanting something new, exciting and fulfilling in our life and fear that we will lose something that keeps us safe and well in the process.
I have always been a bit of a change junky: I love travel, have lived in different cities throughout my life, and have a CV full of different jobs and career paths. I love and am good at starting new things, but sometimes have lacked the life skills to see a project through. (Note I say skills not commitment.)
Typically this is what would happen: I would start a new project (say a new role or appointment) and put all my focus there. I would spend more time at the office and more energy out of the office thinking about the work and worrying if I was doing a good enough job. I would neglect the other domains of my life: health, friends, fun. I would get out of balance, lose energy and commitment, and start looking for something to change. I would also probably beat myself up a bit about not being good enough for equal measure.
After a time I would become fed up with my unhappy life and seek to send it back into “balance”. This might be because of a health issue or illness, upset in relationships, or just a point where I cannot face feeling this way anymore. Being an all-or-nothing girl I would throw myself into a new project in a neglected domain, for example dieting and exercising to rebalance health, cleaning the house from top to bottom to rebalance my physical environment, or planning fantastic parties to bring more fun into life.
In the immediate term, this kind of focused activity is a great antidote to the relentless focus on work and career. However, in time, any external focus on one or more domains as a “fix” to my dissatisfaction would just send my “wheel of life” into even more turbulence. Just as persisting in focusing on just one area can deaden your experience of life, tipping the wheel too far to one side can create disharmony somewhere else.
Bringing your life into balance is often not about adding more activities into your life or stopping any one thing. It is more about learning the life skills to be present with whatever is going on in your life at any moment, and then looking within to see what needs to shift to increase your satisfaction.
Sometimes this will lead to a new job, business venture, passion project or partner. But none of that will satisfy you and create balance without your own sense of equilibrium. That is the ability to find solid inner ground within yourself, from which you can then create or change what you need. This might be through mindfulness practices, meditation, creative practice or being in nature.
You will note that I said I lacked skills not commitment to complete projects. That is because I believe that we can all manage and flourish through change and challenges, if we learn the skills of inner balance.