The Secret to Balance

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Do you have balance in your life?  Personal and professional balance in our lives seems to be the ever-elusive dream.  Trying to balance home, work, health, spiritual discipline, and free time seems almost impossible.  Business people have told me this for years.
Well, I am pleased to tell you that I believe I've found the answer to creating balance in your life.   Are you ready?  Write this down, here it is:  Forget about balance, because you'll never have it!
I can hear you now: "What?  No balance?  That can't be!  It's just not right!" But wait, there is good news.  Although I don't think balance is possible, I do believe you can create harmony in your life.  This differentiation is more than just semantics.  It is an approach that can free you up to see the world in a different way.
“Balance" assumes that we spend an equal amount of time in all or most areas of our life.  It is like the image of a scale—no one thing outweighing another.  It assumes that we must devote equal portions of time each week to each item important in our life.
The problem is almost no one can really achieve that, especially entrepreneurs, professionals, and sales people.  Living hectic lives, it is difficult to fit it all in.  Women often tell me that this is an even bigger problem for them.
Not Balance…Harmony
So, what do we do about this?  For me, it's about creating harmony.
Sometimes I work crazy long hours for several days in a row.  Or, I may be on the road traveling for business for many days at a time.  On the other hand, I am a husband and a father.  I need and want to be there for my family as well as have time for myself.  Long ago I figured out that daily balance is almost impossible.  But, I found I could create harmony using a few core principles.
First, three simple words make a big difference to me: "Be here now." Wherever you are - be there.  If you are at work, don't be thinking about the time you did not spend with the family the night before, or what you should be doing with your significant other right now.  When you are at home, don't be thinking about the work you have to do at the office.  Wherever you are, be there fully and completely.
Second, make sure to set aside time to do all the things that are truly important in your life.  Yes, I know, everyone says that, but here's my twist: Be creative about how you manage this.  For example, when I wrote my first book I didn't want to be holed up in my office writing in the evenings and not be available to my family.  So, I decided a few evenings a month, I'd stay up with the family, put everyone to bed, and then go into my office and start writing at 11pm--and work almost all night on my manuscript.  I'd catch a few hours of sleep and start my day a little later.  I'm a late night person and this worked for me.  It may not work for you.
However, my point is to be creative in finding ways you can accomplish what you need to do while still allowing yourself to spend time doing the other things in your life that bring you harmony.  Nothing pleased me more when I showed one of my children the book when it was published and they said to me, "When did you write that?" They had no idea I was up late working several times a month.  That was harmony to me!
Third, find ways to integrate various elements of your life.  For many years, I have spent weeks at a time up at my lake home in the mountains.  Each year, I spend a week or two remotely working from the lake house .  Now, I bring up my staff and management team for short retreats/work days.  It is a great way to combine my work life and my leisure life.   Then, the last week or so, I take off completely and spend the time with the family.  By integrating my two worlds, I create a sense of harmony.
Last, remember that when you are 70 years old, you are not going to wish you spent more time at the office.  You don't need to be a workaholic to be successful.  Focus on creating harmony in your life.  Be creative.  Don't try to do the things I do.  Find ideas that work for you and the life you live.  Make the time and be innovative.  Harmony is created where harmony is sought.  OK, that's a bit "new age" sounding... but it is true.
Share with us.  What do you think of this approach, how do you create harmony in your life?
Called the “father of modern networking” by CNN, Dr. Ivan Misner is a New York Times bestselling author. He is the Founder and Chairman of BNI (www.bni.com), the world’s largest business networking organization. His latest #1 bestseller, The 29% Solution can be viewed at www.29PercentSolution.com. Dr. Misner is also the Sr. Partner for the Referral Institute, an international referral training company (www.referralinstitute.com).