Balancing my professional and personal lives is something I am flat out terrible at.
I know it’s hard for me and it continues to be something I fail at. But school breaks are always great for reminding me just how out of balance I am. Sometimes the universe takes it upon itself to send gentle reminders to make some adjustments. During this most recent break those messages came fast and furious.
At the Tarrant Institute, we often start our Wednesday staff meetings with a fun prompt to connect with each other. They invite the sharing of personal likes and interests, such as current reads, favorite recipes and podcast recommendations. Back in January, our first meeting of the new calendar year was no different. I don’t remember the specific prompt but I clearly remember my answer: I pledged to my colleagues that I was going to focus on balance.
Well, it’s March, and I’d give myself a “Needs Improvement” on the report card.
Formative Feedback from the Universe
Coming into break I felt myself getting sick. How do our bodies know when it’s okay to get sick? Not feeling well is the first piece of formative feedback the universe sent me. Just a cold, but enough of one to make me grumpy. And I noticed my routines and pace didn’t change: still checking that dreaded email, reading work-related articles, and making those all-too-familiar to-do lists.
Then the universe stepped up its game.
It was a sunny and unusually warm morning. My daughter woke up early (for once) and asked to go skiing without any prompting from me. This never happens! I was immediately conflicted. What about work? I have things to do. (I see school breaks as a time to catch up. Unhealthy, I know.) However, the eight year old was determined and “no” was not an acceptable answer. Little did I know this was the start of something powerful.
I committed to taking a few runs, but not the whole day. We get to the mountain and she gets suited up on her own and is impatiently waiting for me. Soon we find ourselves on the lift head to the top. I notice how beautiful the trees are, covered in snow. The sun was bright and warming. Time seemed to be standing still. I looked at my phone after what felt like a few runs and… it was 3:00. Where had the day gone?
It was as if the whole week was building toward this moment.
I was reminded that there is so much to enjoy other than work. I really like my work but I also was reminded how much I really like the outdoors. And I came to Vermont because of all the outdoor opportunities. It was a top consideration when choosing a college. Slowly, as life got busy, I lost touch with many of connections I have made with the world through the outdoors.
I am beyond happy the world sought to remind me that balance is healthy.
So Here’s My Commitment:
I will continue to work towards a more healthy balance between my personal and professional worlds
How do you find balance? How do you hold yourself accountable?