I Thought I Wanted Balance – Part 1

(This post is part 1 of 3 in a series called, “I Thought I Wanted Balance”)

I used to think I wanted balance in my life – balance between work, free time, relationships, fitness… me time… That was until I read Marcus Buckingham’s approach on balance in his book, Find Your Strongest Life. Here, he describes balance as “a firm foundation, a sense of being in control in your life, and when you find it you are poised to move.” So, why wouldn’t I want this?

Well, because Marcus then goes on to explain “… and yet, you are not moving. Any movement implies a tilt, a tipping, a reaching toward something. Balance is the opposite of movement. When you are balanced, you are stationary, holding your breath, trying not to let any sudden twitch or jerk pull you too far one way or the other. You are at a standstill.”

Wow. This is the last thing I want in my life. I’ve been at a standstill for years. I am ready for movement!

Marcus suggests to instead, strive for fullness. “You don’t have five different selves that you can keep separate. You have one life. One mind. One heart. One cup, if you will. Your challenge is not to separate one cup from another, erect boundaries between each, and then somehow balance them all. Your challenge is to move your life, tilt your life, intentionally imbalance your life toward those few specific moments that will fill your one cup”. These moments are called strong moments and you can learn more about them here.

I want this in my life. I want to experience fullness. I want to feel like I am making a bigger difference in the lives of those around me and I want to feel alive. I am beginning to put into practice Marcus’ steps for creating Imbalance and already feel more fulfilled.

Stop by tomorrow to learn more about the steps to Imbalance your life.

This post was inspired by reader, Kate Rehmus, during our topic entry contest.


9 thoughts on “I Thought I Wanted Balance – Part 1

  1. Wow! I never thought of balance like that…not wanting to move but staying in one spot. Maybe that is why we always feel stuck because our attitude is always finding balance! hmmmm I wonder what is going to happen when we stop trying to balance everything.

    • Josh, I’m excited to see how we begin to experience movement as we start saying ‘Yes’ to the things we do want to do and ‘no’ to the things we don’t want to do. Things will probably get dicey, but what will be the cost if we don’t do this?

  2. I don’t know about this one Alana. I haven’t picked up the book though so I can only base my reaction upon what I’ve read above. When I read the description of the idea of balance something just didn’t sit right. I’ve been practicing Anusara Yoga for a couple of years now and a big part of that is not holding any pose, ever. If you’re holding a pose you are holding your breath and not allowing your own energy to flow. So if no pose is ever held, only pulsed, then movement is a necessity for balance. A truly firm foundation requires flexibility and strength used in tandem (organic and inorganic energy). Then that sense of connection (or control if you will) allows us to move. It seems antithetical to say that balance is the opposite of movement. I’d contest that there is no balance without movement and that fullness is achieved through connection, to ourselves and to the world around us. I’ll certainly be reading more, but at the same time I’ll continue to cultivate balance as it allows me to learn and grow in a far greater capacity than seeking the opposite. bb.

    • I like what you are saying Nicholas. I feel like what Marcus and Alana are saying is that (maybe this is a western thought) is that when a lot of people think of balance everything has to stay still. Like perfect balance is staying completely still. I think of the game Jenga. If everything isn’t just perfect the entire tower comes falling down. With what you are taking about there is a nice fluidity that like you said allows us to move. I think when we try and make everything fit in some sort of perfect box of stillness (some might consider this balance) is when everything falls apart. I am curious to see what parts 2 and 3 are about!

    • Nicholas, thanks for your thoughts! Your comments always challenge me to think deeper beyond what I am sharing. It is difficult to share the full thought – because I am condensing into a few pages what Marcus takes an entire chapter to explain – but what I took from his words is that the goal is not to strive for balance – because balance would mean a division of parts, equal in size. He used the example of a balance scale – if it is tipped in the slightest, it is no longer in balance. So to add something to one area of your life, would essentially mean, you’d have to add to all other areas of your life as well so that each area continues to have equal amounts of yourself, your time and your attention. When I read this, it made sense to me. I had been too focused on trying to make sure that if I gave one area of my life attention, that I was also dispersing that same energy into the other areas, to achieve balance and attempt to make everyone happy. But… I wasn’t happy. I realize that not everyone will agree with or understand everything that a person does. Part 2 of this series will touch on this. However, as I begin to cultivate the areas in my life that make me come alive, others are benefiting from this energy too, not just myself! πŸ™‚ So it is a practice I plan to continue. Does this make sense or does it still not quite sit right with you?

      • Well, I suppose I don’t really have to understand it as it’s your path to resonate with! The process of extricating yourself from it far enough to write here is really the part that I enjoy. Even if the ideas don’t always click. Josh made a great reference to a Jenga game above and my thought there is that, even when appearing to be at rest, the particles are always moving. So to find the stillness I think one has to embrace the chaos and the darkness too (and all the things we aren’t good at). For it’s only when I’m able to incorporate the things that I’m not good at and offer them up to a higher energy that I’m truly able to open my heart and resonate with the highest. To balance the scale all out is to recognize those shortfalls. It seems limiting to personal growth to cut them out of your lifestyle completely. If you weren’t good at cleaning, it would be very alienating to family and friend to stop doing it completely! Do you stop breathing when you have a cough? Do you abandon a friendship when the person is acting a brat? I suspect both of you have a high level of integrity and don’t really function on that level. At the same time it’s crazy to think that the same energy put into a personal growth project will also be put into your garden or a home repair project. So I’m trying to come full circle with this idea of creating imbalance and the closest thing my mind can come up is how I set myself up to fail. As a Product Manager/Cost Accountant I won’t ever show breakthrough growth unless I fail. A lot. I’ve recently completed a 4 year business development program that culminated and was realized by a production order and contract. This means the creation of a lot of full time jobs for my company. That’s a huge success and it also sets the stage for a lot more opportunity. To get there I’ve had to make A LOT of mistakes. If I only embraced the strong moments of life I never would’ve helped to make it happen. I’m not that good at asking for help, but I’ve had to do it way more often that I would’ve liked for this project. To me, fulfillment comes from being open, to ourselves and others around us. Then we can dance in the spirit. I’m confident you’ll both continue to do so.

      • Nicholas,

        Congratulations on the breakthrough you experienced in your position. This sounds like an impressive victory!

        I hear what you are saying – about embracing the chaos and the dark parts of us too. This idea of embracing the “good/strong/beautiful” within me is new to me and that is why it thrills me. I have been surrounded by people and a culture that tells me I am not okay the way that I am and that I always need to improve to be considered “good enough” and even then, once improved, it still isn’t “good enough.” So, to hear that I have strengths – specifically created in me – is an incredibly empowering notion! I do not think we should completely discount our failures or weaknesses, because those too are part of our story. However, what I am choosing to do is focus on my strengths, because I find it leaves me feeling much more fulfilled. πŸ™‚

  3. Hm…this idea is interesting. I like modifying the objective to fullness…it seems to jive well with what I’ve read by BrenΓ© Brown on wholeheartedness. If anything, I think it would free me a bit from fear. Rather than being motivated by the thought of unbalance leading to failure and a fall, it’s motivational in a more positive way…the desire not to miss out on any good thing. I want all of my Jeremiah 29:11 promise!

    • Amanda, I can see why ‘fullness’ would seem a more positive goal than ‘imbalance’. If I were to read another person’s post and they said they wanted to focus on ‘imbalance’ I would most likely respond the same way as you. I would want to have a positive end goal.

      I’d like to expound on the initial post. ‘Imbalance’ is the term Marcus used in his book – which obviously gets people’s attention πŸ™‚ – but his message is to focus on the things you love to do, to focus on what makes you come alive. This, I think, is similar to fullness. When I feel alive and energized, my life is fulfilling. I think we are on the same page – it is the word ‘imbalance’ that seems off-kilter. ha. Cuz it is. Anyway, if ‘fullness’ is the word that speaks to you, by all means use it! My hope is that as people read my posts, it will cause them to think, but also to walk away with the morsels that work for them.

      I love you, dear sister! You make my heart sing. πŸ™‚ This is totally off-topic, but I felt the desire to say this to you right now.

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