Finding The Perfect Imbalance
Great to collaborate with a fellow passionate working mum Claire de Carteret on this article exploring finding the perfect imbalance.
As two busy working mums often on the go, let’s start by exploring what balance or imbalance means / looks like for you?
Claire: Balance is the symbol of calm and control. A perfect symmetry of harmony and perfection. Control and precision as a leader, as a parent, as a partner, as a friend. A seamless synchronisation of life – from nutrition, fitness, sleep and professional success. We spend our time trying to achieve this balance, yet it is always out of our grasp in the increasingly dynamic world that we live in. And I have recently concluded that this quest to find the perfect balance has been leading many of us to a feeling of failure.
Dani: I agree with Claire that a quest to find the perfect balance has been leading many of us to a feeling of failure. As I’ve written about previously, I believe you can have it all……in the longterm. At different times in life we lean into different things, for me these have included my career, an ironman triathlon and traveling. At this stage, I’m leaning into family with a 14 month old baby and this does have knock on effects in other areas of life. I can’t keep my pre baby balance of training up, socialising, networking events or working late. Supermum is a myth! If I try to do it all I will burn out quickly and not be present for any of it. I think about keeping a bit of each element of my wellness wheel rather than losing a chunk completely. I’ve found discovering your ‘non negotiables’ is key to this. An example for me is at least 30 minutes of me time a day where I can either, exercise, meditate or relax in a radox bath!
What are others saying on this topical subject?
Claire: There are many perspectives on this quest for balance. Dr Libby Weaver describes the phenomenon as ‘Rushing Women’s Syndrome’ and defines it as a need to be everything to everyone. To not let anyone down and to be in control in all situations. This need to please is causing us all to rush from one aspect of life to another, as our to-do list grows rapidly in our heads. In my role as a coach and leader, I know that this quest for balance does not exist just for women. We constantly put pressure on ourselves to be the fittest, healthiest, most successful employee and most present parent that we can be…often this is to the detriment of ourselves and our ability to perform at our best in any given task. We are spreading ourselves too thin! I endorse a strengths-based approach where the highest performers are specialists in their areas of strengths, not generalists. Research via Dr Donald Clifton shows that people are not naturally well-rounded but that their greatest path to excellence is to develop in their areas of natural potential, rather than trying to fix weaknesses.
Dani: Linking to Dr Libby Weaver’s ‘Rushing Women’s Syndrome’ I read an alarming article in the Sydney Morning Herald a few months ago: ‘Working Mothers put their health second, research shows’ Nutritionist Kate Freeman shared: “There is a lot of pressure for mums to ‘keep up appearances’, whether it’s juggling a career with motherhood, or keeping the family household running smoothly,” …..”Unsurprisingly, guilt plays a big part in this.” “As a mother, we often become so focused on keeping our kids healthy and happy that we overlook our own needs.” This takes me back to ensuring we have our ‘non negotiables’ in place with looking after our own health one of them. Building on Claire’s point that this quest for balance does not just exist for women, it’s important to remember men often have similar pressure. My husband Owain recently wrote a blog: Managing it All? and shares: “More and more I’m asked about how I manage my training alongside coaching, a full-time job and spending quality time with my family. As much as I’d love to say it’s all down to my amazing efficiency and organisation, the truth is, it’s hard, it doesn’t always work, I have to be adaptable and I get a lot of help!”
From your experience, what are some tips you’d like to share with others to help them find their perfect imbalance:
- Return to true connection – being in the moment and not in the head thinking about what else you need to do and where else you need to be.
- Discover what are your ‘non negotiables’ and make them a priority – i.e. 30minutes of me time a day.
- Schedule yourself a recharge, digital detox day to regain perspective.
- Stay focused on your vision in the most important aspects of your life. Hold that vision up and ensure that you activities and business is aligned to the accomplishment of that vision.
- Have a coach keep you accountable to your goals.
- Learn to say no, you can’t do it all.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Forget balance. Let the pendulum swing from one side to another, knowing that this momentum will determine exactly where you need to be at that moment based on priority of goals and values.
Any final words from you both:
Claire: As a coach, I encourage people to shift away from finding the perfect balance and to accept the ‘perfect imbalance’. The perfect imbalance is an alignment of personal, business and professional goals. It is the acknowledgement that at times some aspects of life take a back seat to whatever is a priority at the time. I encourage coaches to work towards shorter and longer term goals around these three aspects of their life and their role.
Dani: When this topic comes up in conversation with people at all different stages of life I encourage them to lean into what’s right for them at that moment, be present and really feel into this life not letting it pass us by on autopilot. Let’s take the pressure off and find our perfect imbalance.
We would love to hear any thoughts from your own experience.
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