I was listening to a podcast (The Sheri + Nancy Show –it’s fun) and they were interviewing Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, a huge international networking group. He’s written a book called “Who’s in Your Room?” about the quality of your life being determined by the people and relationships in it.
Makes you consider who’s in your room. Negative, energy drains or uplifting inspirations? Which ones will get you where you want to go—the former or the latter?
At the end he threw in this little nugget—he doesn’t believe you can have balance in life, but he does believe you can have harmony.
Harmony, not balance.
That makes so much sense to me.
The idea of balance has always felt like a cultural fallacy, much like the perfect childhood or the PhD candidate stripper. No such thing.
But it’s dangled, especially to women, as the goal, a must.
Like touched-up magazine photos of a gorgeous woman strolling down the street, it’s both unattainable and expected. Sigh.
Rather, I believe in Seasons (as Rachel Hollis puts it). For example, there’s a time for education, a time for building a career, a time for growing a family, caring for a loved one, finding yourself. But they all can’t be done at the exact same time. Perfectly.
These are important tasks (and there are many more) that need a lot of energy and time. It’s ok to focus on one, then the next. Consciously deciding what gets your time and energy is the name of the game.
And that’s where harmony comes in.
Whereas balance relies on equality, harmony is defined as agreement; a pleasing arrangement of parts; or congruity.
Harmony feels more attainable and in my control. It’s something that can improve any Season I find myself in.
Dr. Misner gives us his method for reaching harmony: be present wherever you are right now.
Presence brings clarity.
When you’re fully present with your choices, you can see quickly if it’s the best use of your time.
When you really listen to what Sally is saying, does it make you feel curious? Alive? Annoyed? How does being with your kids feel? What about your job?
When you’re fully present, you know whether you want to be there or not. And if not, then you have some decisions to make. But at least you won’t waste anymore time being in denial.
When harmony's your goal, you can get it in an instant with a change in attitude or physical location.
Notice comfort is not the goal. It was anything but comfortable watching my mother die in a hospital bed. I was choosing to be there. There was harmony in my life at the time—I was doing what I wanted to do, be with my mother. For weeks I was MIA at home with my kids. My family picked up the slack. There was no “balance” but there was alignment with my values.
There is a Season for losing weight. It requires effort, change, new behaviors, discomfort. The new behaviors become ingrained, the decisions become easier and maintaining the weight loss, while still requiring effort and intention, can fade into the background. Harmony is available throughout the journey.
Consciously choosing how you spend your days by deciding what’s important right now will lead to Harmonious Seasons.
May you have many!