While I still have much to learn, I have begun to understand some fundamental life truths. Like you, I sort of knew the reality before now, but have been in such denial that I kept striving for the impossible. My denial kept me feeling like I was never as good as I could be. I hope bringing these myths to light doesn’t disrupt your life too much. To help absorb the shock, I’ve included some simple solutions.
Myth #1 – You can Achieve Perfect Balance
I am about to save you so much time! Unless you are trying to perfect a yoga pose, stop searching for balance! I have looked, really hard, for a really long time. I have searched for work/home balance, health balance, me time/family time balance, social media balance, all of them. Balance does not exist when you have too much to balance. (even if you think you are a really effective multi-tasker…see Myth #2).
When you are balanced at work, you are a bad parent. When you are a great spouse, your work is suffering. When you take time to exercise and be healthy, your house isn’t as clean. When you focus on a hobby you enjoy, your garden will be full off weeds. You will always be trading one thing for another.
Remedy: What if you had less to trade? Instead of being overworked, stressed out and unhealthy, figure out what is negatively consuming your time and change it. Easier said than done, but once you simplify and let go of the balance myth, you can start enjoying each thing that you do, instead of wondering what is suffering in other areas of your life.
Myth #2 – You Can Multi-Task Effectively.
I know you think you can have a real conversation, drive your car and eat lunch at the same time, but what you lose is a genuine connection because you weren’t there. You weren’t there to talk to your caller. You weren’t there to pay great attention to the road, and you weren’t there to properly digest your food. Numerous times, I have been driving my daughter home from school, taking work calls, thinking about the next item on my list of things I will never get done, and my daughter is talking about her day. She’s talking about her day, and I’m nodding and throwing in a couple of responses, “really?” “cool!” and a few nods to let her think I am still involved, but by the time we get home, I have no idea what she said. Not only is that embarrassing, but it is really sad that I missed that opportunity to learn something, teach something or just engage and enjoy.
Remedy – This couldn’t be more simple. Ready? Do one thing at a time. Turn your phone off when you get in a car, into a meeting or are sitting down to a meal. Don’t “turn it on vibrate”, power it down. If someone calls you with urgent information, they will leave a message. I have tried to do this halfway, promising not to use my phone in the car, but as soon as I hear it ring, I’m distracted. It’s unfair to me, my passengers and other drivers. Same goes at a meal or in a meeting.
Myth #3 – It’s NOT All About You
You are the core of your family, your business, your circle of friends and your life. It really is ALL about you! Not in a self absorbed kind of way, but in a you better be healthy and take care of yourself, or this world is going to kick your ass kind of way. There is a reason, on airplanes, that they tell you to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others.
Remedy: Sleep enough, but not too much. Eat enough, but not too much. Exercise enough, but not too much. Do things that inspire you and spend time with people that make you smile. If you are overwhelmed, burnt out, uninspired and just really damn tired, make a change, today.
Are you being fooled by any of these myths?