Calm

Stop finding balance - start making it

This month we are exploring the big elusive B: Balance.

How do you know if you’re balanced?

Balance is talked about as something you find. Often between work and life. As if there was this magical spot between your ‘work’ you and your ‘home’ you. 

Just like time, balance cannot be found, only made.

Balance is elusive. Partly so because it’s personal. There isn’t one right thing or action that brings it. What works for one person doesn’t work for another.  Often we try to find balance by mirroring what’s working for others or letting people tell us what we should be doing. 

What I have tried

I spent years trying to find balance. Not only was I looking for something that couldn’t be found, I was looking in all the wrong places. Here are some things I’ve done to find balance that didn’t work:

  • Going out for drinks after work with colleagues (I’m an introvert and don’t like drinking)
  • Training for and running a 10K race (I don’t like running, or racing, or being with thousands of people - see above: introvert)
  • Joining a weekly running club (see 1 and 2)
  • Taking an online daily meditation challenge (they are great AND didn’t work for me)
  • Getting up at 5 am to “fit” in my self-care (try as I might, I am not a morning person)

While it may seem easier to want a coach like me to give you a playbook for balance, like all things in life, they have to come from you.

Finding Balance - Moment Coaching - Urszula Lipsztajn.png

Making balance

Except for one thing, I’ve never believed in the “one size fits all” model for whole life fulfillment. In order to create balance you first need to know what it means to you, how it does and doesn’t show up in your life.

So pause, go inward, and ask yourself some more questions:

What does balance mean to you? 

What takes you out of balance?

How do you know?

When are you at your best?

I invite you to stop trying to find balance and start making it.

 

Lessons on resiliency from a sailboat

My husband Kam and I recently spent three weeks sailing the BC coast. The weeks leading up were a test of will power and resilience. Many times the boat almost stayed docked. In the end, we stayed the course and set off into the sunshine.

Part of the trip was a stop at Hollyhock, Cortes Island for the Social Venture Institute conference. After a week at sea with just me and Kam, my legs hit land and 150 bright business people for five days of leadership development. I had the pleasure of leading a Resilient Leadership workshop that focused on helping leaders stay strong and calm no matter what came their way.

Living on a 28-foot boat with my husband, at the mercy of Mother Nature, I learned a lot about leadership. Here are my top three lessons, relevant to business and life.

 

daniel-olah-317207.jpg

The forecast doesn’t call the shots. You do.

Every hour was a question of what the weather would do. It’s like trying to see the future, mixed in with the expectation of what we wanted it to do. Sunny skies and light winds are great, but no amount of wishing is going to push that storm away. Much of decision-making is based on forecasting, but when you’re still anchored and the hours are ticking, you’re just wasting time talking about the weather. Make a choice with what you got, put on your raincoat, and be in the moment.

Stay calm, stay clear.

There are so many things that can happen in a given moment. On a sailboat that means the wind can switch, just like that. And at the same time your line hooks a fish and a powerboat zips by. If I got flustered and reacted, something always went wrong. Your ability to stay calm allows you to stay clear. It’s easy to let multiple demands create urgency in you. That drama only clouds your choices. Pause and breathe. You’ll see with practice that urgencies usually aren’t emergencies and you have more choice that you think.

Go back to what matters.

When we sailed off for the last leg of our trip, the weather was relentless. Strong headwinds, big waves, and white caps on the ocean. My hands were gripping tight to the safety lines, eyes to the horizon hoping not to lose my lunch. We both wanted to come home on time, but Mother Nature had other plans. I looked at Kam and we made the easy – and hard – choice to turn around. Some things aren’t worth it because other things are. What mattered is that we were together and safe. When you hit storms, remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Go back to what matters.

Looking forward to the next adventures. Thanks for reading.