Personal Energyby Stuart Harris
Finding your energy balance
Identifying the elements of balance is the first step towards being able to influence people and systems
Work-life Balance is one of the big buzz terms of the moment. It’s a rather misleading expression – as if work and life were two separate things. In fact, the trick is not finding some magical balance between work and the rest of life, it’s getting balance in all areas of life.
How balanced do you feel across the different parts of your life?
In recent surveys, fewer than half of the respondents felt their life was nicely in balance. With long working hours, pressure at work, crowded roads, creaking public services and the constant babble of media, many people feel out of balance a lot of the time.
‘Pressure’, ‘tension’, ‘frustration’, ‘hyper’, ‘manic’ and ‘sluggish’ are some signs of energy out of balance. You probably have signs of your own.
Being a little out of balance occasionally comes with being human. But being constantly out of balance is overdoing things – and it’s a sure-fire way to end up flat on your back, either as an individual, a team or an organisation.
Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals and values are in balance.
The meaning of balanced energy
Once you have learned to walk, you know in-the-muscle what balance is all about. There’s a force pulling down (gravity) and a force pushing up (muscles). Without gravity, you would just float around aimlessly. And if your muscles are too weak, you can’t stand up.
In the material world, the people designing structures – cars, aircraft, buildings, roads, bridges and so on – have to factor in and balance out the opposing forces. Equally, in the physical world of the individual, whether you’re walking down stairs, doing the washing up or playing squash, you’re continually working with balance in three dimensions – up-down, back-front, left-right. In every physical activity, you’re continually finding the correct balance of opposing physical forces to get the result you want.
In the emotional and mental worlds, too – the spheres of energy investment – you’re constantly working with opposing forces, such as self-interest and altruism, giving and receiving, idealism and practicality. To achieve a better balance, it helps to know which opposing energies you’re working with.