Balance in your life centers your sense of self and grounds your energy in your body. Often times, we sacrifice our balance for the sake of others. If you are a helper or healer, giving away your energy for the “sake of service” to humanity becomes a work expectation. Without balance, this martyrdom can insinuate its way into all aspects of your life. Yet, a recent trend has emerged into our culture: Blending rather than balancing. And, this practice carries its own implications in practice.
Mixing it together
What is blending?
- Acknowledging that a separation of work from life does not resonate
- Aligning priorities to fit your life without dividing your time
- Understanding that work can remain center stage in your life
- Allowing your passion for what you to be the heartbeat of your life
- Not taking offense to being labeled as a work-a-holic
- Being mindful that being a work-a-holic is likely without intentional borders
- Finding pockets of time to interject pleasure and joy
- Building a life around a business/occupation that you love to support your life
- Embracing yourself as a whole person rather than one who balances
Thus, blending authorizes your vocation to be the fuel of the fire inside of you. And, that may work for people who work in office environments, review spreadsheets, crunch numbers, and complete reports. Hence, when you work in a setting that doesn’t require you to give your mind, body, and spirit every day, blending rather than balancing works. However, embodying your life purpose as a helper or healer without clear boundaries makes blending a dangerous process.
Corporate versus Caring Professions
After listening to an interview of Mitch Joel, who is a branding designer and commerce investor, speak about why he embraces blending rather than balancing, I see his point. He argues that work brings him so much joy and that he takes offense to anyone telling him to compartmentalize it. Although many people have aspects of unhappiness in their professional lives, many people find enjoyment in their work.
Moreover, Joel recalled a parallel conversation he had with Patrick Pichette, a former very high ranking Google executive, who also becomes offended when told that balance is preferable over blending. Whether or not these individuals consider themselves to be helpers in the world misses the point of this discussion. The fact remains that neither of them are giving their emotional selves on the front lines every day to confront the foundational challenges in others’ lives. These challenges present as lack of equity, scarcity of resources, abuse, neglect, poverty, food insecurity, violence, etc. Therefore, choosing blending rather than balancing does not weaken or destroy their valuable inner reserves needed for their own survival or merriment.
Health is Wealth
As a helper or healer, in every moment, you make heart-based decisions and summon all of your strength and concern to assist and to empower others. If you cannot learn to separate your work from your life, you will create dis-ease and illness from not restoring your energy by resting and rejuvenating. Honestly, it is much easier to become egoic, power-based, and compulsive about work by enabling it to spill in all you do when your bottom lines rests on capitalism and consumerism rather than encompassing compassion and community-healing.
What arises as worrisome about the decision whether to implement blending rather than balancing is the lack of recognition between corporate America versus frontline workers. (It is now important to denote that people in the education field are considered to be on the front lines as they are giving up their health and lives to return to school buildings.)
End goal drives your actions
When you are paid high salaries to promote business ventures and financial endeavors, blending rather than balancing materializes as the essential component of your job. Making money stimulates the desire to keep working. Likewise, if your job is focusing on what you can gain, giving for the sake of giving falls far down the list of priorities.
Consequently, calculating numbers or planning ways to produce more money does not require you to connect with the fragile human plight of the underserved. All that is asked of you is how to further your own or your company’s own agenda for profit.
On the other hand, outside of medical doctors (who also have exorbitant loans to repay), helpers and healers receive unreasonably low salaries for the work that they do. In the case of those who choose to stay home and rear their children, no financial compensation is received. Nevertheless, people who work in these capacities felt a calling to do so and wanted to be in service the world. When entering these professions, the salaries were well-known. In truth, the lack of financial compensation creates an unbalance with the amount of work put into their jobs.
Nonetheless, helpers and healers continue to unselfishly serve others. But learning to close off the gateway between giving to others and giving to yourself demands that balance takes the forefront. Otherwise, the energy you need to be effective in your job dissipates.
A delicate juggle
What is balance?
- Distinguishing what you have to do from what you want to do
- Finding congruence between responsibilities and pleasure
- Making time just for yourself
- Shutting off the valve that flows work responsibilities and tasks into your mind
- Allows for time to meditate, relax, and just “be”
- Discovering ways to connect with others and ways to connect with just yourself
- Spending time at play versus spending time at work
- Exerting energy versus conserving energy
- Maintaining equilibrium between saying yes and saying no
A major thread to weave your life together stems from boundary creation. Boundaries to keep in what you need for yourself and keep out what doesn’t serve you provides a foundation for a healthier life. Read more about boundaries here: https://tracinicolesmith.com/know-no-bounds-while-knowing-your-boundaries/.
Blending rather than balancing becomes an essential choice helpers and healers must deliberately make. The best way to know what works for you is to try both out. Always be mindful that balance takes conscious work. But, in my opinion, that is the kind of work that is worth doing all the time.