Fulfillment Series Part 3: Is Your Life Balanced? (Huffington Post)

Today’s world operates differently from how it was five, even ten years ago, and I’m sure it will be different five or ten years down the road. Technology has increased in leaps and bounds affecting when and where we are available to work. Instead of having to go into the office to handle documents or attend meetings, we can now log into our mobile devices or laptops wherever we go, and work whenever we’re needed. But is this unlimited availability to work really good for our fulfillment?

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” so the saying goes. Constant bombardment with work can derail you from other activities that are constructive for your sanity or life fulfillment. This is why it’s important to make time for both work and non-work activities.

Marisa, from a blog earlier in my series (“Are You Fulfilled?”) embodied this type of life balance after her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer. She knew that in order to achieve her goal of living for at least one year, she had to put work on hold and align her personal life with her goal – staying alive! She had a new and different type of work to master with the sands counting down in her race against mortality.

Her most important first step was convincing herself she could beat this. Once she was clear about the goal, she applied tools she had learned in business to her own life – building a life plan and a balanced scorecard for how she would measure her goal and progress towards it. The life plan told her what she systematically needed to do to achieve her survival. The scorecard helped her balance all of the things she needed to manage – nutrition, exercise, chemotherapy, alternative medicine, mental focus, rapid study.

Then, she had to muster the capabilities to survive. She needed her ‘positive team,’ of believers – not just head-nodders. She knew that her positive attitude had to be reflected by those around her to provide the support she needed through her treatment process. She then had to master cancer. No, she did not enroll in a medical program, but she studied everything she could find in research and cases that supported her beliefs. In many ways, she became a master of her own body and all the factors that affect it. She built the capabilities needed to win a very short race. And, she measured herself religiously – weight, pain, blood, psychological state, nutrition.

After she beat cancer – now for over a decade – she had a different challenge. How did she want to spend the rest of her life? She once again built her new life plan with a revised balanced scorecard – one that allowed for her to mix work, family, relationships, hobbies, and play into a holistic mix that she could clearly see leading to her fulfillment.

A good work and non-work balance can mean adjusting your goals to mix a variety of things that bring you fulfillment – accomplishments at work, new learning, social life, close relationships. But it all starts with a life goal in mind and then being the chef of your own great life meal, mixing flavors and ingredients into your life that will provide richness and balance.