Learning to Balance

One of the biggest coaching issues that I run into with many of my clients is one of “balance.” They’re tired, feeling burned out, or unable to focus, simply bouncing from one project to another….and a big reason for this is that their professional or personal lives—and often, both!—are out of balance.

Balance is a very basic concept, but one that can be surprisingly difficult to attain—and maintain. But it’s critical to our success and well-being in any of our long-term pursuits.

Remember when you were first learning to ride a bike? And how you originally looked at those narrow wheels and that funny-looking seat, wondering how anyone could even stay upright on such a contraption?

Then you started riding—with training wheels. And that extra support kept you from toppling upright…until it was time to take on that task yourself. If you recall, those first few rides without them were pretty darned wobbly….and if you’re like me, you took more than a few tumbles.

That’s because you were learning balance, at its most fundamental—and physical—level. Finding out which way to turn when you were falling one direction took some time, and most of us learned by doing. But gradually, we finally got it.

Riding a bike successfully, like most things in life, is a series of small adjustments. And staying upright depends on your ability to sense when you’re leaning too far in one direction, and making the necessary shift to avoid falling over.

So it goes at work. Restoring your balance is frequently a matter of taking a moment to assess your position: too many hours in the office, and feeling distanced from home or family? Or spending TOO much time on personal pursuits, leaving you stressed and frazzled trying to get your most crucial projects done? Make an adjustment.

Often, the imbalance is all within the workplace. Are you spending adequate time and focus on the most important tasks that deserve the highest priority? Or are you in the habit of spending the day picking the lowest hanging fruit, the quick and easy tasks that need to get done, at the expense of bigger, more important jobs?

If you’re a supervisor, look at your current level of delegation—if you’re assigning too much or too little, once again, once again, you may well be out of balance—make that adjustment.

One of the biggies in sales is finding the right balance between prospecting and servicing current clients. It’s easy to get consumed with attending to the needs of your existing client base, and increasing business through them, a key part of growth.

But don’t forget that without new clients, you won’t have sufficient activity to replace the ones who fade away—there’s an attrition rate no matter HOW good a client relations whiz you are. Build a percentage of how you need to divide your time into your sales plan, and stick to it as best you can.

And guess what? Finding balance in your work and home lives is like riding a bike in another way—once you get a handle on it, you’ll never forget how to do it.

So start working to improve your sense of balance—the sooner, the better!

Grow Big or Go Home!