Have you ever felt like this guy right here?
It’s funny how we think of balance as even scales or a perfectly proportioned pie.
I mean, you can’t really blame us. We’ve been institutionalized to think that balance is something to strive for. From balance sheets in finance to balancing physical check books back in the day, we’ve been designed to believe that everything has to be calibrated or equalized at some point.
It’s no wonder that we take the same approach to life. If we just spend 20 minutes cleaning, 20 minutes working out, and 20 minutes making breakfast, then we have mastered the utmost use of an hour – right?
Well, that’s what I used to think. Being a princess of procrastination👑, I was used to dividing my schedule into even little bits where I was in control of the time that I spent on certain activities. From sleeping to working, your girl had it on the schedule – and when something was “off balance” I would adjust, but not willingly.
But…I have a question.
What if we’ve gotten it wrong this whole time? What if implementing ideologies such as “work-life balance” is really just a secret way that we limit ourselves?
Now, you’re probably like…Vannesia, you’re crazy…what are you talking about?”
Well come in and have a seat – I want to share a story with you.
Last year, I lost my balance. I was involved in a lot of things because my natural, “Yeah I can do that” instinct got the best of me.
Feeling the friction in my life, I finally gave myself permission to do less. I say “gave myself permission,” because I sometimes think that if I’m not “busy,” then I’m not productive – but au contraire, those are two very different words with two very different meanings.
For those of you who read my, “Put Some Muscle Behind Your Hustle” blog, you can remember where I quoted author, marketer and entrepreneur Jessica N. Turner who said, “There’s a season of the hustle, but the hustle is not supposed the ultimate goal of your life.”
I had slowly been allowing myself to redefine my hustle, and that quote was the confirmation I needed. Redefining meant doing less busy work, eating slower, laughing more, and not being afraid to say, “No” to others – choosing my sanity rather than their feelings. I sold things I didn’t use, unsubscribed from mailing lists from the stores I wasn’t planning on buying from, prayed a lot more, FINALLY found my shade of red lipstick 💄, and not only did I sleep…I got rest. Now, I’m not saying this to get a pat on the back, but I’m telling you what can happen when you give yourself permission.
My darling friends, the truth is that there will be some days when you’re super productive and knock out everything in your day (I love days like those). There will be times where you stick to your diet and exercise routine. There will be good hair days and days that you are on time for work. But, there will also be days when you eat the extra cookie, hit snooze on the alarm, and pretend as if you’re working in your office rather than hitting that “add to cart” button.
As much as we’re addicted to the grind, last year taught me to be addicted to love, peace, and rest as well. Shaking up your habitual processes allow for creativity to be birthed, ingenuity to breed, and for that false pressure of perfectionism to slowly crumble down. Everything doesn’t have to be equal – and that’s okay.
Megachurch Pastor, filmmaker, and author Bishop TD Jakes defined this premise so well in one of his podcasts:
I never get done everything I need to get done in a day. If I won in a ministry moment, I missed a father moment. If I was present for a father moment, I missed a husband moment. It’s all about juggling: touching everything, but holding nothing too long. If I have to hold it to have it, then I didn’t hire the right people.
Now, don’t just go with the way the wind blows, but I encourage you one day to cancel your plans and just sit still. Maybe take a new route to work or perhaps go work in Starbucks instead of working in your home office.
Either way, allow yourself to not just be alive – but to live.