|Balancing Family and Work|
Balance is perhaps one of the most misunderstood principles found in life coaching. What do you think of when you hear the term balance? If you are like many, you think of an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.
Part of this explanation might be supported by life coaches involved in client recovery from challenges, addictions, or injuries (physical, mental, emotional, and psychological).
In that, they would be more focused on helping their client “…remain upright and steady.” The weakness found in trying to apply this portion of the definition holistically to life coaching is that it misses the crucial action or activity more closely associated with coaching.
As discussed here coaching is used as a verb instead of a noun, allowing a more common definition, “To keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall.” In the coaching arena, “falling” is sometimes equated with failing or missing the intended target or goal. So when a coach is explaining to a client that their life needs greater balance, it does not necessarily mean that there must be equal portions attributed to daily activities. In many cases, this would be impossible, since many of us spend more than 8 hour working, 6 – 8 hours sleeping, and squeeze life into the remaining 8-10 hours into doing life.
Instead of struggling daily to apportion an equitable amount of time in each activity, many coaches suggest the client look at their activities on a broader scale.
For example, if your sell real estate, you may spend the first part of the week scheduling showings, or completing the administrative work necessary for short sales, or similar activities. Perhaps those first few days you would consider your administrative days.
Next, you might view the middle of the week as the day you spend networking with local business owners, universities, stores and any place where there are people who you can meet with, speak with, and hand out your card. Perhaps then, the last two days in the workweek you focus on contract negotiations, showings, prep-work for a walk-through, etc.
Although this is a hypothetical schedule, it may be the balance you need in order to keep from becoming overwhelmed and failing to complete any necessary activity that moves you to the next goal.
Is this a balanced life? Maybe not, but it is the beginning of a balanced work-week. Remember balance doesn’t necessarily mean equal distribution of time, resources, etc., but rather, manageable levels of time, resources, etc. In the case study above, the distribution of the tasks is not equal, and as is the case for many, never will be. However, the methodology applied to manage the tasks necessary was very doable. Granted, this scenario is a bit more Pollyanna than real life, but even added into the daily flow the typical detritus normally sprinkled throughout the day, technology failures, flat tire, sudden illness, or client changes and demands, there is room within the schedule of activities to deal with and address this issue as well.
Therefore, the take-away from this is for you as a coach, or you as the coached, not to limit the definition of “balance” to equitable distribution, and be receptive to “balance” as a corollary to “manageable.”