Is it Possible to Find Balance?
Have you heard of Ikigai? (new word of the day!)
As we assess our lives and all of the elements that make up our day, how many of these things are in alignment with what is foundationally important to you? Most of us are struggling to find some sort of balance, teetering on the edge of overload and overwhelm. Is it possible to find the space where passion, joy, service, and financial responsibilities meet? I believe there is.
A colleague and I recently reunited and he is now a host of the amazing podcast “Stimulus”. Dr. Rob Orman interviewed Dr. Christina Shenvi about how we can best find balance with all of the things on our plate. It was in this episode that I was introduced to the term “ikigai”, a Japanese philosophy in which all of these elements converge. You reside in a place where action has intentional meaning, energy is spent in service to others while also supporting your own vision of happiness and purpose. The notion is that finding this place of harmony is possible and worth the exploration.
In coaching, we often spend time defining vision or goals and then developing strategies, insights, and tools to accomplish these. While this work is foundational in creating clarity and actionable steps it also asks that you evaluate all of your responsibilities to make sure they align with your vision.
Let’s take this a bit deeper, Orman goes on to discuss the idea of “pillars”. I thought this was brilliant. “Pillars” refer to the three or four things that are foundational to your wholeness. For example, Orman's were:
Spark joy in the lives of others
Be of service
Notice how these pillars are not connected with a tangible goal or job. They are the elements against which you hold your goals. You will find that if your goals are rooted in your personal pillars then the goals and associated work will naturally bring joy, energy, and a sense of purpose.
Too often we set a goal out of ego, pride, or self-imposed expectation and later find ourselves with a title and money and zero joy. Seems a bit pointless to me. I have met many people who have become millionaires with prestigious titles and yet are lonely, divorced, depressed, and uninspired. If honestly answered, I would bet that their drive and goals are not aligned with their pillars.
We feel drained and uninspired not from the hours we work, but from the lack of joy we receive.
My Challenge to You:
What are the three of four pillars that are unique to you and ground you in purpose?
Write down all of the tasks and activities that you do each week and then hold them up against the pillars. Are they aligning? Are you living in a place of ikigai?
Identify two things that you are prepared to take off your plate. Not because they are not important, but because they don’t align with your pillars and do not bring you closer to joy and balance.
Remember, “change requires change, if you want something different, you need to do something different.”