By Melda Ekmen
Looking at the world we live in, finding balance in life is becoming an art rather than a science. How do you find balance when all parts of your life are moving, and you’re headed to the future while expected to live life in 24-hour cycles? Where is that present moment that they talk about in meditation? When is that time we’re supposed to pause and connect with our loved ones? Do you also belong to the camp that says, ‘I know what I should do, but I just don’t do it, I just don’t have the time’?
Being a coach gives me the opportunity to put my nose into lots of people’s lives, respectfully. Regardless of the type of people I work with, they all want one thing: more of or less of something. They want the sweet spot; the version that suits them; and they want balance. The balance where there is enough love, enough action, enough pause, and enough connection.
So, let’s stop talking about balance and let’s do balance, with care.
What balance looks like for you will be different compared to your dear friend; your partner; the woman pushing a buggy of triplets in the park; your dog; or a two-year-old little girl living in Nairobi etc. I guess you get the point.
This in itself suggests that it’s highly likely that the tips you’re given by your friends, on blog posts, or by inspirational speakers will be hit and miss for you. Why? Because it takes time. In the end, you might notice that you’ve spent so much time trying to find balance, but it’s just not happening. This is the moment we feel discouraged and give up, at least until we pick up the pieces and feel ready to try again.
So why not have one formula that will accompany you for a lifetime, instead of too many tips that you won’t have enough time and patience to test. I’m conscious that I’m starting to sound like I’m selling a ridiculously cheap product, and sense that you may be a little sceptical.
Here’s your formula… It comes from a co-active coaching model and is called co-active strategy.
In co-active strategy you ask yourself four questions in order to find balance that‘s unique to you. I’ll repeat the last part: balance that’s unique to you.
Think about a situation when you feel off balance: when you ask your daughter to tidy up she throws things at you, when you give feedback to your team member he gives you attitude, or the family dinners turn into chaos. You can also take a broader perspective and think about an area of your life like wellbeing, romance, career, finances, social life, your physical environment, or relationships with family or friends.
Pick one situation that resonates the most and ask yourself the following questions:
- who do I want to be? (eg calm, firm, open-minded, or cheerful);
- who do I not want to be? (eg stubborn, reactive, scrutinising, or passive aggressive);
- what do I want to do? (eg express my needs, set boundaries with the other person, or create the required time for this); and
- what do I not want to do? (eg shut down the other person, put pressure on myself, or procrastinate).
You’ve probably noticed that these questions are not about tips: they’re about you. This also means that you’re the one who needs to do the work, but don’t worry, this is like building a muscle, or a new habit. However, our heart needs to be equally convinced. Our heart loves a soft, gentle, and caring approach. While building this new habit please be kind to yourself: remember that all habits need time to develop, and they require compassion and support. Make it a loving process with lots of room for testing, learning, and patience. I promise every trial will be rewarding and you will fall in love with witnessing your growth and the grace that comes with it.
You’re doing great, keep up the good work!