Knowing what you need to do to find balance does not mean you will feel balanced all the time. The circumstances of your life might change. Or maybe when you have felt balanced for quite some time, you give your balance less attention. Or the push and pull of all the demands in your life just took over. And your work-life balance took a back seat.
I also fall into this trap now and then. That I don’t make balance enough of a priority. But when I notice this I know have to get back on track, how to course correct. So it doesn’t wear me out completely or goes on far too long.
And do you know what helps me to get back on track? Not only the tools and strategies I have learned over the years to consciously nurture myself and restore balance again.
Just as important is this:
Mildness. Kindness. Looking with mild eyes upon myself. Honouring the steps I already took.
As a reminder to look with mild eyes upon myself I have a poem by Tara Mohr hanging above my desk. It helps me to see the small or bigger steps I already took. It reminds me that I am not the only one, that we are all imperfect human beings. And it is a powerful reminder that every single small step matters! That with one small step you can change the whole trajectory.
And for me this is what growth and change is about. Taking small steps, making different choices, experimenting with new behaviour. And we’ll keep missing the mark, but we will also take smaller and bigger steps that really help us grow and change. In time you can see the miracle of the big impact those small steps have made. And if you look with mild eyes upon yourself it is easier to course correct, so you’ll never wander off track for too long.
So I thought I’d share this poem with you. I hope it also inspires you to look with mild eyes upon yourself.
Sometimes Growth is Just Seeing It Sooner (poem by Tara Mohr)
“Sometimes growth is just seeing it sooner.
You see sooner that you are silencing your voice.
You see sooner that you are acting out of fear.
You see sooner that you are projecting the past on to the present.
You see sooner that you are the one acting crazy, not them.
Because you did the work, you see it sooner.
Until our last breaths, we’ll keep missing the mark.
We will dim our light and betray ourselves.
We will cause harm to those we love.
But if we stay awake, we can learn to course correct sooner.
Stay awake and you might see it this year — and not let it extend for a decade
Stay awake and you might see it this week — and not let it extend for a year.
Stay awake and you might see it this hour — and not let it extend for a week.
Stay awake and you’ll receive those moments of grace, those crystal ones,
when in the instant — before the first choice, the first word, the first act
you will catch it
right the moment of its beginning
and choose differently.
The turnaround is the most important part of the flight path.
When you make it, you move the whole world forward.
You plant a seed of love in the ground,
and all those who come after you thank you.”
So please don’t berate yourself when you feel imbalanced. Don’t say “ I am smart, I should know how to do this. Why am I so stupid that I got myself in this situation again? Other people can do this, so why am I failing at this? ” This critical self talk will not bring you more balance. Look with mild eyes upon yourself. Speak kindly to yourself. Compliment yourself for noticing! “ Good that I notice that I am really out of balance . What can I do now to give my balance more priority? What small action can I take to nuture myself?” And then go and take that small action!
Remember: sometimes growth is just seeing it sooner!
P.S. Could you use help in finding balance? Check out the Work-Life Balance in Academia training and coaching programme. Not only will I help you to be mild to yourself but you get very practical strategies and tools that help you to feel balanced while making an impact both at work and at home.
We start Friday March 22 2019. You can join until Thursday March 21 2019 24.00 CET.