It’s a mistake to think that balance is the end point: it’s not. It’s the familiar yet fleeting landmark we pass through periodically whilst weathering the tides of change. To think we are aiming for balance is to invite disappointment and frustration: to judge ourselves for missing it is inane. Balance is a principle, not the goal.
We talk about ‘work/life‘ balance or ‘finding balance‘ as though there were a goal that could be met. We say we are ‘juggling things‘, or balancing work and play, balancing our finances or trying to find time for our hobbies. We would all exercise more if we only had the time and would probably be better people if we didn’t sometimes resort to pragmatism.
The Social Age is a time of constant change: it’s a defining feature of our times. To strive for balance is to miss the point: success is about surfing the waves.
There is no end to the demands on our time: clear the first wave and it will be followed by another, and another. I’ll never clear my inbox: ‘empty‘ is not the state it exists in, the state it strives for.
It’s about authenticity and integrity: finding levels of engagement that keep us true to ourselves. Enough exercise, enough work, enough time with friends, enough time by ourselves.
It’s easy to become the person you never thought you would be: harder to retain the illusory image we strive for. We would all be better people if only we had the time.
Why am i interested in balance? Because so much of the Social Age is about our relationships with others, the communities we inhabit and maintain. And to partake is communities is to give of ourselves. Our time, our energy, our selves. And if we are too far away from the notion of balance, we cannot do this with authenticity, with integrity.
Within Social Leadership, balance is important: it’s part of Social Capital. This is about the ways that we support others whilst maintaining our own authenticity and direction. We can’t view it as being balanced: more about understanding where the waves are coming from and ensuring that nobody is washed away in the storm.
Balance is elusive: we should welcome the respite we feel in the eye of the storm, but enjoy the thrill of the journey as it passes. A life lived in balance would miss the views from the mountain top.