Archives For balance

(This post is part 3 of 3 in a series called “I Thought I Wanted Balance”)

You will be surprised by the peace and fullness you experience as you begin to practice this new way of life.

Benefits for Living an Imbalanced Life.
1). You’ll save a lot of your time. Activities that don’t help you create these strong-moments will drop further down your list of priorities. Many will fall off completely.
2). You’ll free yourself from manic perfectionism. With your focus on creating a few specific moments in each aspect of your life, you are freed from trying in vain to do everything well.
3). You’ll feel more purposeful. You are now targeting something specific, rather than being yanked around by everyone else’s demands.
4). You’ll wind up being able to do more for others. Though you begin by focusing on what you need, your strong-moments will generate the strength you need to handle everyone else in your life.
5). Your life will come to feel more balanced. It won’t actually be balanced – you won’t be devoting the same amount of either time or attention to each domain of your life. But it will feel more balanced because each part of your life will now be giving you energy – all around strength.

I thought I wanted balance in my life, but it turns out, I am really looking for fulfillment.

(This post is part 2 of 3 in a series called “I Thought I Wanted Balance”. The below excerpt is from chapter 9 in Marcus Buckingham’s book, Find Your Strongest Life).

How to Intentionally Imbalance Your Life.

First – Identify at least two strong-moments in each domain of your life (work, family, marriage, faith, friends, service, health, etc.) and write them down. These are moments/experiences in your life that left you feeling energized, confident & alive.
Second – Do your best to find at least two strong-moments for each domain. It is okay if you come up with more than two, but it is vitally important that you come up with at least two strong-moments for each area of your life.
Third – Once you have identified these moments, be deliberate about creating them. This can be as straight forward as putting them in your planner so that you can prioritize and look forward to them. Or you could create a ritual that becomes part of the structure of your week. Or you could make a commitment to your spouse or to a friend so that they then hold you accountable for making these moments happen.
Fourth – Investigate them. View each strong-moment from a new angle, or a new perspective. When you discover something novel in a strong-moment, you’ll find not only that it’s easier to keep paying attention to it, but also that the novelty itself is its own reward. “I’ve never noticed that before,” you’ll think. Or “I hadn’t realized that…” and your discovery will delight you.
Finally – Celebrate them. The full meaning of ‘celebrate’ is to hold up something so that it can be honored. So if you talk about the moment with others, you are celebrating it. If you come up with new ways to make it special, you are celebrating it. If you capture it with a photograph, a blog, or a diary, you are celebrating it. If all you do is make yourself conscious of the moment as it happens, you are celebrating it.

On the flip side, if you can’t find any strong-moments in a particular domain of your life, your choices become more limited. Marcus first encourages one to continue to search for strong-moments, no matter how small or insignificant they are.

Now, here comes the part of imbalance. If you cannot find a strong-moment, you must find a workable way to diminish, even cut out entirely, this part of your life. This may seem socially unacceptable, verging on the impossible – “How could I stop playing with my kids? Shouldn’t all mothers love playing with her kids?” – but, if you truly cannot find any aspect that strengthens you, you need to face up to this truth and deal with it. In the above example, this doesn’t mean you stop hanging out with your kids. It means you confess to yourself that you are not the kind of mom who loves to get down on all fours and play endless car-racing-crash games with your three-year-old’s Tonka trucks. Instead, you draft your spouse or some other goofy family member to do this, while you get your mom-kicks from other sorts of moments – organizing fabulous play dates, or listening and soothing when your child’s feeling most vulnerable.

Personal Application.
A strong-moment for me is when I am discussing personality styles with another individual. I am energized the moment they realize, ‘Wow! You mean I’m not the only one who thinks this way or struggles with this particular thing in my relationships? There’s actually others out there, just like me?” I get pumped when I can be a catalyst to help others realize they are not alone… and when a person listens and applies what they learn and experiences a positive result – whoah! That just kicks me into a whole new gear of excitement! This high, this energy is what is described as a strong-moment. As we begin to tilt our life – imbalance our life – toward these strong-moments, we will begin to experience more fulfillment. We will feel energized instead of drained from trying to spread our lives too thin and trying to make sure that everyone around us gets an equal piece of us.

Warning: As Marcus mentions above, if you do this, some of your decisions may not be considered socially acceptable – it is likely you could experience disgust, outrage or rejection from your colleagues, your friends, or your family. People may not understand you. I’m sure I’m even getting a few raised eyebrows by merely suggesting to consider living life this way. 😉 But let me ask, is the risk worth it to you? If you could feel more vitality because you are willing to risk what others may say about you, is it worth it to you?

If you do the above things, you’ll notice that all sorts of good things will start to happen – Stop by tomorrow to see the benefits that will emerge as you begin to Imbalance Your Life.

(This post is part 1 of 3 in a series called, “I Thought I Wanted Balance”)

I used to think I wanted balance in my life – balance between work, free time, relationships, fitness… me time… That was until I read Marcus Buckingham’s approach on balance in his book, Find Your Strongest Life. Here, he describes balance as “a firm foundation, a sense of being in control in your life, and when you find it you are poised to move.” So, why wouldn’t I want this?

Well, because Marcus then goes on to explain “… and yet, you are not moving. Any movement implies a tilt, a tipping, a reaching toward something. Balance is the opposite of movement. When you are balanced, you are stationary, holding your breath, trying not to let any sudden twitch or jerk pull you too far one way or the other. You are at a standstill.”

Wow. This is the last thing I want in my life. I’ve been at a standstill for years. I am ready for movement!

Marcus suggests to instead, strive for fullness. “You don’t have five different selves that you can keep separate. You have one life. One mind. One heart. One cup, if you will. Your challenge is not to separate one cup from another, erect boundaries between each, and then somehow balance them all. Your challenge is to move your life, tilt your life, intentionally imbalance your life toward those few specific moments that will fill your one cup”. These moments are called strong moments and you can learn more about them here.

I want this in my life. I want to experience fullness. I want to feel like I am making a bigger difference in the lives of those around me and I want to feel alive. I am beginning to put into practice Marcus’ steps for creating Imbalance and already feel more fulfilled.

Stop by tomorrow to learn more about the steps to Imbalance your life.

This post was inspired by reader, Kate Rehmus, during our topic entry contest.

My Dirty Secret

Alana —  May 10, 2012 — 23 Comments

I have a dirty secret.
It started in high school. Then I brought it with me to college, and then into my marriage. Since then, it has grown and multiplied with years of neglect. There are a select few who know about this secret, and when they found out, they were shocked! “Alana, I never would have imagined you would allow this.”

This is my dirty secret (literally).


Welcome to our basement. :) I have put off going through this jungle because 1). Other things were priority 2). Rehashing old memories may hurt too much 3). It seemed simply overwhelming.

The other day my dear friend Joy put out a challenge on her blog at It is called 31 Bags.

Beginning May 12, she is going to take 31 days to eliminate 31 bags o’ junk from her house! She invited others to take on this challenge in their own homes. Given the fact that our basement has now become a hazardous zone, I gladly accepted!

Purging is a good thing.
I am looking forward to this challenge because: 1). It will eliminate clutter in our home 2). It will be energizing to slough off “the old” 3). Conquering this area will give me confidence to conquer other areas in my life that may need some “housekeeping” 4). It will provide room for new clutter. Just kidding. 😉

To make this challenge even more exciting, Josh has agreed that any money we make through eliminating our junk can be put toward a family vacation!

Want to join us?
Check out Joy’s challenge at

If you plan to participate, let me know in the comments section. Take some before and after photos and e-mail them to me at I will post them once the challenge has ended!

Simple Ways to Nurture Your Soul

Alana —  February 7, 2012 — 6 Comments

Nina Nelson with family

I met Nina through I immediately connected with her holistic approach on life. Nina recently released her e-Book titled Simple Natural Health and I am honored to have her share a few thoughts on what she has learned here!

When someone says health, the first thing that usually comes to mind is diet or exercise. But there’s so much more to wellness than food and activity. Nourishing your soul is just as vital to your well-being as taking care of your body.

Since realizing (and acting upon) this idea, I’ve enjoyed so many benefits: I feel strong. I’ve lost weight. My relationships are richer. And I’m pursuing a purpose that seemed so unclear until now.

Eating and staying active are still very important, but I’ve learned to pay attention to these areas as well:

When we sleep, our bodies repair themselves. So when we cheat ourselves on sleep, we’re really preventing our bodies from doing some important healing.

Rest during the day is important, too. Have you ever tried to keep pushing yourself to meet a deadline only to find that the harder your push, the harder it was to finish. Our bodies work in a natural rhythm, so try to remember that during the day. Take a brief break every ninety minutes or so.

Sometimes we just need to be alone. For introverts, like myself, this is especially true. It’s good to take a little time each day to just regroup and breathe. Take a walk, a hike, sit in the sunshine. Or, steal away to a room with a locked door or the bath to enjoy some solitude.

This goes right along with the solitude. For me, this entails going somewhere by myself, reading a bit of my Bible and just talking to God and listening. I need this. And when I can’t steal away I try to pray throughout the day. I give thanks, ask questions, surrender troubles and just try to stay connected.

A rich life is one full of meaningful relationships. Marriage. Extended family. Friends. All of these connections are vital for your well-being. Nurture the relationships you have and build meaningful new ones.

I think creativity is super important. No, it’s vital to our well-being. When I create, I feel better. It makes me more creative. It helps me to stay grounded. There’s just something about putting something beautiful out into the world, whether it’s a drawing, a beautifully presented meal or poetry.

I used to struggle with depression, feeling meaningless and unfulfilled. I knew that I was made for something special; I just wasn’t doing it. Seeking out my purpose has brought about the greatest change in my life. I’m much more aware of myself – my talents, strengths, passions – and how I can positively impact this world.

Creating a life that you love – one that makes you come alive and blesses others – can’t be done if you don’t take care of yourself. Take some time right now and figure out what habits you need to incorporate to begin nourishing your entire being.

What aspects are you ignoring that need more attention? What habits have you created that nourish your soul?

Nina Nelson is a wellness advocate, mama to four and wife to one. She writes regularly at Shalom Mama, inspiring others to live intentionally. She loves reading, snuggling and giggling at miniature horses. She just released her new book, Simple Natural Health, a resource that simplifies intentional wellness.

My Wheel on 11/08/11

Often I find myself living in the midst of an unbalanced life. Either I spend all my free time after work doing physical exercise and have no social life, or all my free time on personal development with no time for physical exercise or play or even rest. Successful time management is a theme that continues to rise up like a huge, hairy monster. It seems any amount of energy I put into one area (be it exercise, work, family, or rest) is immediately crushed when I turn my attention to a different area.

Can you relate?

Below is an exercise I encourage you to try. It will help you visualize the areas of your life that may need more attention.

Exercise: Is Your Wheel Balanced?
1). Draw a circle.
2). Divide it into six pieces of pie.
3). Label one piece spirituality, another exercise, another play, and so on with work, friends, and romance/adventure.
4). Place a dot in each slice at the degree to which you are fulfilled in that area (outer rim indicates great; inner circle, not so great).
5). Connect the dots.

This will show you where you are lopsided. You will notice there are areas of your life that feel impoverished and on which you spend little or no time.

If your exercise life is minimal, try going for a brisk 10-minute walk after dinner. If your spiritual life is minimal, listening to five minutes of drum music can put you back in touch with your spiritual core. For others, it may be a trip to a greenhouse. The point is that even the slightest attention to your impoverished areas can nurture them. [1]

Much like tires on a vehicle, it is important to make sure our lives are balanced. If one area becomes too worn from excessive friction (or attention) it begins to cause poor performance and a bumpy ride. This is our warning sign. If we ignore the warning signs and continue to drive forward, eventually the worn areas will become bare and the tire will explode!

What is one weak area you found in your wheel? What can you do today for 10 minutes to replenish this area?

1. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity [10th Anniversary Edition]. 2002.