One of most knowledgeable and intuitive ladies I know imparted upon me ultimate knowledge of living a fulfilling life. As I awaited a long, heartfelt soliloquy, she took a small breath, pointed her finger and said, "balance." That was it. My only question was, "what?" She simply chuckled and walked away.
Over years, I slowly began to understand her single word. It wasn't an easy lesson as, in my head, I was balanced. But, true understanding of balance comes when you realize that you are truly out of balance. In life, whether you know it or not, you're always out of balance in one way or another. But, your "only" job in life is to work toward attaining balance and keeping that balance in your life.
--- My only job? ---
To reiterate ... your "only" job in life is to attain balance and keep balance in your life. That's it! Life is just that simple. That is, if you want it to be. To explain this concept, let's consider a few elements of an average life:
1. You have a job. 2. You have a wife. 3. You have kids. 4. You have a house. 5. You have a car. 6. You go fishing on weekends to get away from it all. 7. You have a hobby.
For most people, each one of these life components seem to exist as separate entities and they all affect one another. This is where problems begin. You spend too much time at work and you're tired when you get home. In turn, you don't have time to spend with wife and kids. Your money goes out window to pay for everything including house and car. You have to get away, by yourself to go fishing, or whatever, so you can re-gather your strength to do it all over again next week. You love your hobby and want to do it full time, but you just can't find time. This situation can drag you down and cause strain on your job, your family, and your life in general.
However, did you ever stop and think that all of these "different" life components are actually smaller parts of one larger component? Instead of viewing them as separate pieces of life, view them as being aspects that make up your "one and only life." Since it's obvious that these individual elements all interact in one way or another, why not let them? Instead of allowing one to interfere with other, learn how to allow them to enhance direction of your life.
--- It's a lonely job ... ---
Once you are able to understand how different components of your life all fit together and enhance one another. Your next task is to determine how you can balance these components to provide a greater level of satisfaction and fulfillment. This is your first project as "Manager of Your Own Life."
So many people are scared to lose their jobs so they pour their souls into it for hours at a time. The single job appears to be only thing that can help you survive and eventually becomes your entire life. But, what is benefit from overworking yourself? Since most people are on salary, whether you work eight hours or 18 hours a day, you're paid same.
A job is only a part of your life and a way to provide security for yourself and your family as well as satisfaction for yourself. It is not your life. Evaluate your abilities and determine if it's job or money that you want. If it's money, then you must learn to find something that pays you what you want. If it's job, then you must learn how to rearrange job for greater fulfillment and prioritize to best meet needs of rest of your life.
Realize that "loyalty to employees" is a thing of past and that old family-oriented corporate giants no longer exist. You have to watch out for yourself and ensure your own security. Security is important to you and your family and it is something that you must establish for yourself.
I found that, in my time in Corporate America, regardless of what I achieved, I was not happy. After much searching and reorganizing of my life, I found that I needed freedom of freelancing. I found that once I was able to center my talents and use them to their fullest, I could make more money working for myself than in an office for someone else. I was able to obtain balance I needed by working a flexible schedule at home to be with my family, doing something that I loved, and still make money necessary to provide security for my family.
In most cases, when it's a toss-up between job and family, family will lose out. However, pressures from home and family can affect your job and other aspects of your life. By adjusting your priorities at work and determining what it is that's important, you can better balance conflicts that exist between need for security with work and need to satisfy family.
Believe it or not, family does provide an intense sense of purpose and satisfaction in one's life. It is something to be proud of and cherished because it is something that you've created. If you feel that your family has stalled or it doesn't provide satisfaction you desire, then you need to evaluate reasons why things have changed. Perhaps your time at work is taking away from your family. Perhaps stresses from outside world are affecting your family life.
One of things that I've learned with my family is that, when all else fails, my wife is always there. We've been through some serious situations ranging from fires and floods to death and destruction. We even built two homes, remodeled another, and relocated to another state. Yet my wife and I are still together and we are happier now than ever before. The reason is that, even though we are two totally different people, our objectives are same. Our objectives were not always same, but we took time to sit down and decide on what we wanted together and what we wanted separately. Now, we are able to help each other as well as stay out of each other's way so that we can reach our objectives.
Many people place a lot of value on money. But, money is not an objective. Money is a way to provide security for yourself and your family. Money is a way to measure success. Money is a means to reach an objective. However, this one needs some explanation.
How much money is enough? If you say you want to make a lot of money, how much is that? The amount of money that becomes "enough" is not measurable. It is simply a moving target that becomes consuming because there is no real metric to determine when you've reached your goal. However, if you set an objective that you want to live comfortably and own a nice house, then you now have a metric to measure your success.