I once stumbled upon a podcast entitled “At the Pace of What’s Real” by writer and designer, Grace Bonney. In light of a recent stress-induced health scare, Bonney discusses the importance of finding personal balance by being “present,” or as I like to call it, “embracing your pace.”
I am faster-paced by nature. I like activity and busy-ness. Like most women, I thrive in multi-tasking, but often at the cost of being fully present in the moment at hand. I find myself checking emails while I should be reading to one of my kids or working on a project at night during the precious few hours I have alone with my husband, Clark.
Grace specifically challenges small business owners to hone the present by engaging in the current task in order to maintain productive and focused work. But I think her message applies to women whether they are in the work and/or domestic force.
The full podcast is a worthy listen, but here are a few notes that I found particularly insightful. Grace says, “If we are not 100% present … our work suffers.” So, how do we stay engaged in the present routine of building a successful career or a successful family? Here’s what she suggests.
5 Ways to Maintain Personal Balance
1. Imagine being “new” at your work. What were some of the emotions you felt as a new employee? A new wife? A new mother? Enthusiasm, willingness, creativity, gratitude, vision? The wonder of a new assignment so easily fades over time, but if you can access that “newness” once again, let it be a reminder that you are getting to do what you love.
2. Make room for spontaneity. What inspires you? Books, documentaries, outdoor sports, hobbies, art, music? So often I have to pull the plug on a plan for the day in order to take time to re-inspire myself. If I am better connected with the parts of myself that are living fully, I will have a better chance of staying engaged in present tasks and opportunities.
3. Be curious. Remain a student of your spouse, your kids, your craft … yourSELF.
4. Appreciate the small stuff. Engaging in the most tedious of work-related tasks (admin., maintenance, planning, etc.) gives you a holistic awareness of your work. Therefore, don’t resent it.
And, here’s a little suggestion of my own …
5. Embrace your limitations. This one is personally the hardest for me. Staying present requires saying “No” … a lot. Personal interests and opportunities, even some really great ones, come knocking at my door every day, and I find myself wanting to do it all. But, I am learning to accept that the race can do with one less runner. The stage can do with one less singer. Twitter can do with one less tweet. But my kids only get one mommy. My husband only gets one wife. The sooner I can accept that, the better chance I will have of living fully in my current circumstances. Everything else will just have to wait.
This awareness has been extremely eye-opening for me. How about you? How do you maintain a healthy balance by being “present”?
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