(This post is part 2 of 3 in a series called “I Thought I Wanted Balance”. The below excerpt is from chapter 9 in Marcus Buckingham’s book, Find Your Strongest Life).
How to Intentionally Imbalance Your Life.
First – Identify at least two strong-moments in each domain of your life (work, family, marriage, faith, friends, service, health, etc.) and write them down. These are moments/experiences in your life that left you feeling energized, confident & alive.
Second – Do your best to find at least two strong-moments for each domain. It is okay if you come up with more than two, but it is vitally important that you come up with at least two strong-moments for each area of your life.
Third – Once you have identified these moments, be deliberate about creating them. This can be as straight forward as putting them in your planner so that you can prioritize and look forward to them. Or you could create a ritual that becomes part of the structure of your week. Or you could make a commitment to your spouse or to a friend so that they then hold you accountable for making these moments happen.
Fourth – Investigate them. View each strong-moment from a new angle, or a new perspective. When you discover something novel in a strong-moment, you’ll find not only that it’s easier to keep paying attention to it, but also that the novelty itself is its own reward. “I’ve never noticed that before,” you’ll think. Or “I hadn’t realized that…” and your discovery will delight you.
Finally – Celebrate them. The full meaning of ‘celebrate’ is to hold up something so that it can be honored. So if you talk about the moment with others, you are celebrating it. If you come up with new ways to make it special, you are celebrating it. If you capture it with a photograph, a blog, or a diary, you are celebrating it. If all you do is make yourself conscious of the moment as it happens, you are celebrating it.
On the flip side, if you can’t find any strong-moments in a particular domain of your life, your choices become more limited. Marcus first encourages one to continue to search for strong-moments, no matter how small or insignificant they are.
Now, here comes the part of imbalance. If you cannot find a strong-moment, you must find a workable way to diminish, even cut out entirely, this part of your life. This may seem socially unacceptable, verging on the impossible – “How could I stop playing with my kids? Shouldn’t all mothers love playing with her kids?” – but, if you truly cannot find any aspect that strengthens you, you need to face up to this truth and deal with it. In the above example, this doesn’t mean you stop hanging out with your kids. It means you confess to yourself that you are not the kind of mom who loves to get down on all fours and play endless car-racing-crash games with your three-year-old’s Tonka trucks. Instead, you draft your spouse or some other goofy family member to do this, while you get your mom-kicks from other sorts of moments – organizing fabulous play dates, or listening and soothing when your child’s feeling most vulnerable.
A strong-moment for me is when I am discussing personality styles with another individual. I am energized the moment they realize, ‘Wow! You mean I’m not the only one who thinks this way or struggles with this particular thing in my relationships? There’s actually others out there, just like me?” I get pumped when I can be a catalyst to help others realize they are not alone… and when a person listens and applies what they learn and experiences a positive result – whoah! That just kicks me into a whole new gear of excitement! This high, this energy is what is described as a strong-moment. As we begin to tilt our life – imbalance our life – toward these strong-moments, we will begin to experience more fulfillment. We will feel energized instead of drained from trying to spread our lives too thin and trying to make sure that everyone around us gets an equal piece of us.
Warning: As Marcus mentions above, if you do this, some of your decisions may not be considered socially acceptable – it is likely you could experience disgust, outrage or rejection from your colleagues, your friends, or your family. People may not understand you. I’m sure I’m even getting a few raised eyebrows by merely suggesting to consider living life this way. But let me ask, is the risk worth it to you? If you could feel more vitality because you are willing to risk what others may say about you, is it worth it to you?
If you do the above things, you’ll notice that all sorts of good things will start to happen – Stop by tomorrow to see the benefits that will emerge as you begin to Imbalance Your Life.