News Flash: It’s NOT About Balance.
So much is made of striking a balance in our lives, whether it’s eating a balanced diet, striving for spiritual balance, or the constant struggle for work/life balance. And yet despite our every effort, are our lives ever really balanced? And is that the end game?
The older I get the more I question this need to be “balanced”. Maybe it’s just a rationalization but I can’t help but feel that instead of worrying about balance in our lives we’d be better off focusing our energy on just having a happy, fulfilling life.
Of course, to be truly happy and fulfilled our “occupation” should be something we love, not something we merely endure. Because, if we love what we do, then it’s not work, it’s just part of who we are.
The key is to figure out what it is you love and how you can make a living from it. It means finding your niche, the thing you were meant to do. Easier said than done, right? Of course, but everything worthwhile requires work. And you’re worth it!
So, where do you start? Here is a little something I think will help. Well-known author and speaker Sir Ken Robinson recently wrote a book titled, Finding Your Element that aims to tackle this very issue. In his book he says, and I’m paraphrasing, there are 4 important steps to consider as you try to find your niche.
- Start by identifying that thing you are naturally good at. Something you believe you have a real knack for. Having difficulty figuring out what that is? Think for a moment about the times in your life when others (colleagues, coaches, teachers, friends, significant others) have told you that you are really good at something. What was that? Often it takes someone else to point out our talents for us to see them ourselves.
- Next, make sure your talent is also something you are passionate about. Something you love and that feeds you spiritually. This is key because these are things that you do for the sheer pleasure of the experience, not for monetary reward. They are also things that energize you. Unlike things that you might describe as “work” which have a tendency to be draining. Also, keep in mind, that sometimes we love things that we’re not all that good at. Be brutally honest with yourself. Stick to things for which you have a natural talent. That’s what you’re meant to do.
- Once you’ve identified the thing you’re naturally good at and energized by, you need to spend time with it. To borrow an idea from “Outliers” author Malcolm Gladwell, you need to accumulate your 10,000 hours of experience honing your talent in order to develop an expertise in it. You’ll also need this time to figure out how you can adapt this talent for professional purposes. In short, how can you make a living doing it?
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, once you’ve honed in on your specific niche, don’t assume it’s something everyone can do. Often, when something comes easily to us we have a tendency to downplay its significance. Don’t de-value your talent! Use it to your advantage.
See, you don’t need balance! You just need to find your niche.
Now get after it!