December 1, 2014

My life is unbalanced… and I like it that way.

People often say to me:
“Susan, you do so many things. How do you balance work, play and family time? How do you keep your life in balance?”
My response?
“I don’t.”
I am happy.
I am successful.
I lead dinner party-style workshops, do speaking gigs, work with clients, create online programs, run a blog and host my own web TV show.
I am a mama to two teenage kids, and a wife, and a daughter and friend.
I love green smoothies AND triple-shot lattes.
There is nothing “balanced” about my hour-by-hour, day-to-day life.
This is by choice, and by design — not by accident.

For me, being “unbalanced” is a good thing.
This statement leaves many people reeling, going:
“Huh? What exactly is Hyatt smoking (and is it legal in my state and where can I get some)? How can living an unbalanced life possibly be… a good thing?”

Let me frame it like this:
If you aspire to eat a perfectly balanced diet — each plate, a perfect pie-quadrant of greens, grains, fruits, and healthy, unsaturated fats — every meal, every day, every time, balance, balance, balance…
Guess what? You’re going to wind up “balancing” yourself right into extreme boredom. And disappointment. Your life will have to be tightly controlled to sustain that kind of “balance.” Zero margin for error. Zero margin for fun, either.
I don’t want that kind of balance.
What I want is an overall flow that feels good.
This insane quest for “balance” is truly a decoy. It’s smoke and mirrors. It keeps you from living your gorgeous and messy life.

I might want a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch, today. I might crave a leafy kale salad, tomorrow.
Not every meal is perfectly “balanced.” But overall… long term? It’s a happy, healthy flow.
I might want to stay home with my kids, cozy up in the kitchen, and be Betty Crocker this winter. Then embark on a global speaking tour, wave “buh-bye” to my family for a few weeks and fly my independent freak flag, come springtime.
Not every workday is perfectly “balanced.” But overall… looking at the entire year, as a whole? I’m honoring all of my responsibilities (mother / entrepreneur) and all of my cravings (cozy-cuddly home time / wild independence).
There’s room for everything I want to be + do.
Just not all at the same time.
I used to ask myself:
“How can I strike a perfect balance between work, play and family, every day?”
This question did not make me happy. It made me extremely stressed.
Now, I ask myself:
“How can I make sure that I’m honoring all of my major cravings, at different points in my week / month / year / life?”
This question makes me very happy. It makes me feel free.
It allows me to plan and flow with flexibility.
It allows me to dive into whatever I’m doing, and really show up, completely plugged in, with no wistful longing for “something else.”
Because I know that next week… next month… next season… or next year?
I get to savor something completely different.
So, go ahead. Break the rules.
What would 2015 look like for you… if you allowed yourself to be just a little… unbalanced?



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