Sunday, March 6, 2011

Balance... ummmm yeah

From - Balance has 31 definitions. I have chosen two I find most appropriate to what balance means when it comes to life, and in particular the life of an event professional (what in the TwitterVerse we call #eventprofs). I think about this a LOT and @carolyn_ray and @judylaine reminded me yesterday about this word.

Definition (noun)
1. a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.
7. the power or ability to decide an outcome by throwing one's strength, influence, support, or the like, to one side or the other.

First let me state, that this concept of "balance" sounds good but seems highly unrealistic in our industry where we are constantly being pulled with multiple demands. I do not know anyone in this field who has an equal amount of work / family and friends / play - recreation - sport / free time in their lives. Let alone enough sleep, or even rest time. Instead we have "work life integration" where we enjoy intersection points that bring our worlds together.

I definitely do not live with scales of balance, my world instead is a kaleidoscope, constantly shifting, full of colour, full of life and movement, always interesting. Always adapting to what is happening now. Like all of us, this can involve multiple ongoing programs/meetings/events, career and/or education, what is happening with our family or friends, and what is happening in the world around us. Most of us are extremely fortunate to have vast worlds open in front of us and finding balance as we scan the world for inspiration is nearly impossible.

Making balance tougher is that we have very little control over most of this - when we are excited about a challenging event, we take it on; when our loved ones need us, we respond; when opportunity opens a door, we go through. Nigel Marsh offers a great TEDx perspective on his perfect day and how we can achieve balance. This is a great video and I suggest squeezing in the ten minutes it takes to watch it! How we all strive for his perfect day, how we all should appreciate the perfect moments.

So what can we do?
  1. First, accept the guilt. It is part of the deal.
  2. Second, appreciate the moments.
  3. Most important, be present for whatever is happening at the moment.
I hold out a (likely false) hope that one day I will achieve this mysterious balance, where the day begins with quiet time and exercise, moves on to a nutritious breakfast enjoyed on a sunny patio, leads into time to garden, read and do some intellectually stimulating work or discussions, and then do something that offers some good back to the world around me, add a delicious fresh lunch, a siesta, and a final meal enjoyed with friends, family and good wine. Unrealistic, pehaps, but that is the balance I can strive for! In the meantime, back to work (even though it is Sunday, the soccer game is over and clients are waiting on information, so on it goes...)

If you have found ways to better achieve balance, I would love to hear your comments.


  1. I think their is no such thing as balance. If I fully achieved this I would likely have little stress and life would be boring.
    Accept the guilt I love this part

  2. Tahira,

    I love this topic and you make some excellent observations. I'm big accepting what is, staying present and integrating life skills that keep stress at bay no matter what you are doing.

    For me, if I do yoga and meditate on most days, then even on the days when I don't, it carries over into everything else that I do. I'm calmer, more grounded and can take joy in the day much more easily.

    Thanks for a getting us all thinking about this!

  3. Thank you Tahira for the read. I now know that am not in this unending battle alone...I agree with you that even though we seek this balance we thrive under what we do and how its demanding, challenging and interesting at the same time.

    And your perfect day seems amazing.....i think we should at the very least seek to integrate two things from our perfect day to make our days much more bearable.

    Thanks again for the read...looking up the video.