We all seem to think that “balance” is the ideal. Work-life balance. Balanced diet. Even balanced spirituality.
It’s a never-ending struggle.
Let’s consider an alternative concept. Balance implies being static, but in fact life and the world are dynamic. Maybe it’s about movement and flow, rather than trying to get the rest of your world to stop changing.
You thought you had the day under control: You’re fairly prepared for the meetings, and it looks like you’ll be happy with the rest of the work you’ll be able to do. And you’re feeling productive.
Then your kid calls from school. She’s sick.
In a paradigm of “balance,” this is terrible. There’s no way you’re going to get your work done, to attend those important meetings, and you’re worried that the rest of the week will be a disaster as you try to recover.
In a paradigm that embraces dynamic movement, it’s a different story. Be grateful that you were able to receive the call, that you have a car to go pick up your daughter, that you have a cell phone which gives you flexibility, and that you have a job where you won’t get fired for this happening.
Go take care of her. She’s the most important thing in your world right now, isn’t she?
Yes, it changed your plans. But realize that your plans would have probably changed anyway. All it takes is one email, one late meeting, or finding out that your work didn’t go as expected.
In a dynamic world, it’s all good. Focus on what’s important right now, and pay attention to your longer term goals. But go with the flow, do the best you can, and don’t obsess about changes.
I heard someone last week use the phrase, “embrace the suck.” Apparently it’s a US military slang term. Even though it’s a bit harsher than I might like, it’s a useful concept: In life there are good things and bad things. When you can stop fighting the bad things, even embrace them, you’ll have great energy to put into the good things.
So your plans changed today. I’ll give you a few seconds to respond with a few key expletives, but then it’s time to look at moving with the flow.
Go pick up your daughter and take care of her. Reschedule the meetings. Let your boss and colleagues know. But work will continue on, and in the long run you’ll be glad you were able to support your family.