I think my views of life balance have evolved over my years. In the beginning of my career, there might have been only a couple keys focus areas in my life, so keeping them in proper balance might have been easier. But, as life progresses, things change. I do admit there have been times when my balance was askew, but at least I realized it at the time and could make needed changes. So, what are those key areas that must be kept in balance? For me, I have narrowed those down to seven key areas… my seven “F’s”. These are the areas that matter to me:
- Faith – My faith and beliefs are very important to me. They form the basis of who I am and who I represent. I am not the same person without these beliefs. Thus, this part of my life must be a part of any discussion of balance. I realize that not everyone has this same basis, but, if you do, you need to ensure that you carve out time, energy, and effort to nurture and support it. I would also include in this category service to others. Finding a venue to help others by meeting their needs is a key part of keeping a proper life perspective.
- Family – My family is essential to me. As you probably know, I married my high school sweetheart. We have been married for 41 years. She is an integral part of me. And, she has supported me faithfully all these years… moving to support MY career, adjusting her schedule to meet MINE, and willingly taking care of OUR family. She deserved my full devotion and love. Thus, when life gets out of balance toward any other area, she suffers. Our three children and seven grandchildren also deserve my full attention. So, I would encourage everyone to ensure that this critical part of your life be kept in balance.
- Friends – Many would disagree with me, but I think too many ambition individuals forego friendships for the sake of career. By leaving no time for friendships, you deprive your life of others that can help carry your burdens and that can share your own accomplishments and disappointments. We need them in our lives. Please do not neglect this essential part of your balanced life.
- Pharma (or Firm, if you insist on a legitimate “F”) – Certainly, all of us spend a significant portion of our time and energy dedicated to our job/career. In fact, it is quite easy to let work dominate each other area of our lives. You cannot let that happen. Work is important, for sure, but it is not worth losing time with your family or friends or the other key areas of our life. Do your job and do it excellently… but, don’t give it more than it deserves as you balance other key areas.
- Fun – Everyone needs an escape from the stresses of life. Fun can disarm tension, can nurture relationships, and can make a dreary existence exciting. Taking time for hobbies, activities, or other things you enjoy is essential to maintain a healthy, balanced life.
- Physical (or Health) – An area that many neglect is their health or their physical being. Allowing imbalance that keeps us from exercise, healthy eating, regular physical exams, etc. is cheating yourself. And, when health issues arise due to neglect, recuperation can dominate every other area of your life. Don’t neglect your health.
- Function (or Mind) – Finally, we all need intellectual stimulation. We all need to be lifelong learners. By continually adding new skills, learning through reading, educational coursework, or other venues, we help maintain a sharp and focused mind that remains productive and refreshed.
When any of these areas is neglected, we, or others in our life, suffer. Long-term neglect can change us or leave us less than our potential would predict. And, it is never too late to re-balance. Looking objectively at our lives and how much of our time is spent in each of these areas can help us identify improvement opportunities for the new year ahead.
So, how is your life balance? Is your life too focused in one or two areas? What will you do differently, starting today? Thanks for all you do and have a fabulous day!