Column: Finding balance when we seem out of balance

He had spent a career serving others. He was passionate about his work and his role in the care and development of his team members. His career spanned over 49 years before he finally agreed to retire. He retired from his full-time job, but at 74 he still went out and took a part-time job because he believed he was not done serving others in his community. . And finally, in addition to his part-time job, he volunteers for his neighborhood community center and is very active in his local church.

I only know these details because I got an email from his wife, who shared that they both look forward to my column every week, and she thought I might be interested in the story from her husband. For me, it was a no-brainer, because I love to hear about great work ethic, people who love to uplift others, and stories of people who live to serve others. She certainly caught my attention.

When I reached out and asked if I could interview them both, they immediately agreed. Wow, I was in a great chat from a very lively and young 75 year old couple. Listening to their story, I was truly amazed at their commitment to service. His work didn’t create wealth, but it gave them security and gave them a good life in Colorado where they raised their children. When I asked how they balance work, family, church, and volunteering, Tom answered the question with one word, “balance.”

When I asked him to say more about it, he told me that throughout his life, especially towards the end of his career and his part-time job, he had heard all this “noise” on work-life balance. And as people shared self-help books and columns on how to find work-life balance, it amused him. He said it amused him because the answer was in the question. It’s balance. His belief being that if we balance all of our responsibilities to our family, friends, church and community, we will find all the balance we need and, in turn, create a beautiful life for our family and those we serve.

This couple became my instant heroes, a big hug and congratulations to you both.

I think Tom was onto something. Many of us fall into the trap of rushing and crushing life, becoming so preoccupied with what we think we want, but we miss all the rest of life that balances us. We get so spread out, running from thing to thing, event to event, trying to fill our schedules and impress people, that we often miss what gives us the most pleasure. If we’re looking for work-life balance, or just a sense of balance in our lives, what’s stopping us from finding it? Identifying the things that throw us off balance and having the courage to say “no” more often so we can keep our balance can be one of the best things we can do for ourselves.

Here is an idea to explore. Balance does not come from placing more things, people and events on both sides of the scale. Balance comes when we put the right things on either side of the scale.

Take a lesson from my new friend Tom and his wife who focus on family, friends, church and community and you will have all the balance you need. Are you or your business out of balance? Do you need to focus more on what’s on each side of the scale instead of how much you’re trying to squeeze on the scale? I would love to hear your story of balance at gotonorton@gmail.com, and when we can get our balance back, it truly will be a better than good life.

Michael Norton is an author, personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encouragement and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations in multiple industries.

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