Balance is a tricky. It’s your ability to respond to both external forces, as well as internal forces, in a way that allows you to maintain equilibrium, to be steady.
It takes a strong core and your entire body working together for you to successfully balance – your brain, eyes, ears, and stabilizing muscles. A high level of kinesthetic awareness doesn’t hurt either!
When there is just the right tension between strength and flexibility, balance is the result. Overworked muscles lose their range of motion, hindering balance. And muscles that are only stretched lack tone, which aids balance. Muscle strength and flexibility complement one another when it comes to balancing.
Lacking balance is painful! Being less than graceful, I’ve experienced this a time or two! I bet you have too! If you are lucky, your loss-of-balance moments have been minor, but the truth is that falls can lead to some very serious injuries!
The very same principles apply to balancing your life. As a complex individual, there are plenty of tensions between your work, relationships, health, finances, emotions, and spiritual life on a daily basis. Not to mention your need to participate in activities that feed your soul and that enable you to grow personally and professionally.
When any area of your life suffers, you are off balance, and it has an effect on all the other areas of your life. That’s when pain sets in!
Leading successfully depends on how capable you are at maintaining your balance in your life; and how well you handle the various aspects of being a leader.
Do you lean into your strengths, but ignore the areas where you need to stretch? Are you a leader that has incredible vision, but lacks the ability to turn that vision into a viable plan? Or are you a very strategic leader with carefully considered plans, but lack the ability to be spontaneous and quickly respond to unexpected situations? Maybe your strength is seeing the potential in your people, but your ability to communicate effectively is limited.
Ignoring the imbalance in your leadership skills will eventually lead to painful problems.
How can you increase your strength as a leader?
1. Invest Time in Reflecting, Dreaming, and Planning
Reflecting allows you to evaluate what’s working well and what needs to change to get better results. Get in the habit of spending your last five minutes of the day reviewing your successes, failures, and what needs to change. If every day is too difficult for you to pull off, make it a weekly habit or a monthly habit. But even better – do all three! You will be surprised what comes to light by investing a minimal amount of time in reflecting!
Dreaming allows you to consider the possibilities. What could be? You may want to take time to dream as a part of your reflection time, or set aside space dedicated to dreaming.
Planning, that’s just the next step! It’s what follows the reflecting and dreaming to ensure those plans become a reality.
Don’t let reflecting, dreaming, and planning be something you do while you’re driving home or waiting in line at the grocery store. Schedule it! Do it routinely.
Cultivate a feedback culture and start by asking those who interact with you for feedback. Make time to read leadership books. Find a mentor. Attend leadership workshops, webinars, or seminars. Invest in a leadership coach. For even the most experienced leader, there’s room to grow!
3. Fill in the Gaps
Leaders who do it all well – they don’t exist. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with people who can fill in where you have gaps. What can you delegate? How can you facilitate others developing their skills in the process?
4. Spend Time with God.
If you really want to have a strong core as a leader, designate time alone with Him. Not a quick obligatory minute in the morning before you run out the door, but a moment where you can linger and seek His direction and help. Then keep on connecting with Him throughout the day. Time spent in His presence allows you to get to know Him better, trust Him more fully, and it will strengthen your core as a leader.
How can you increase your flexibility?
1. Slow Down.
When you’re in a hurry, you’re more likely to react when unexpected things pop up. It makes it tougher to come up with creative solutions and innovative ways to approach problems. Slowing down decreases mistakes, is less stressful, and just makes leading more enjoyable!
It can be easy to get locked into your own point of view and dismiss the valid viewpoints of others. The truth is you don’t have all the answers, so hearing and seriously considering what others have to contribute can stretch you in valuable ways. And don’t forget to listen to God!
3. Be Willing to Fail
Fear keeps you stuck and prevents you from trying new ways of doing things. Taking risks can lead to one of two things: success or great lessons learned, both of which are positive, right? Failure can be your best teacher. Don’t give up in the struggle!
When you demonstrate that failing is survivable, it gives your people permission to step out of their comfort zones too!
Achieving balance takes practice, just like it does to successfully hold Tree pose! An amazing picture of strength and balance in action!
4. Branch Out
Yep! Mingle with people that have a different perspective, or read books that are not your typical read. Focus on opportunities and possibilities, rather than problems. Attempt something you’ve never tried before – and that can be something personal or something professional. After all you are a whole person!
The tumbles you take as leader leave a mark! So does being burned out or stretched too thin. That’s what happens when you’re out of balance! Nobody wants that!
How balanced are you as a leader? What needs your attention: strength or flexibility?