As solos we are always hearing those who go solo do so to achieve ‘balance’ in their lives. Yet, what is balance really? Some describe it as a different percentage distribution between personal fulfillment and work fulfillment then one gets while working for another as if somehow when we work for another we are not permitted to give our family or personal relationships ‘priority’ like we do when we work for ourselves. But it is a concept which is both slippery and elusive and ever-changing and I think we need to get out of the work/life balance conundrum and go back to nature to understand what balance really is. Only then can we hope to achieve it.
A recent piece from Pick the Brain I think states the concept of balance very well:
Life really is one thing after another. The physical environment we
each live in is in constant streaming flux. Physically when it’s cold
we shiver to bring our body temperature up. When it’s hot we sweat to
bring our body temperature down. As living organisms we live in a
constantly changing environment. Our bodies are well adapted to this
state of affairs and respond appropriately when conditions deviate from
their optimal state. This ability of an organism to maintain
equilibrium (balance) by adjusting appropriately to the external
environment is known as homeostasis.
And there in lies the key to understanding balance. Balance is the
taking of appropriate action when circumstances dictate so as to
maintain equilibrium. It is said that the great achievement of the
sages of old was the achievement of great balance as human beings. How
did they achieve great balance? In the present moment, when things
would come up, they would respond accordingly.
“There is no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves.” – Frank Herbert
Finding a sense of balance and harmony at some point in any aspect of
life will soon turn to disharmony and loss of balance if you try to
hold on and freeze that moment forever. Such action is futile……
Being able to maintain equilibrium in an ever changing world IS key to a satisfying professional life. For the solo it is a necessity because of the nature of solo practice which has tremendous ups and downs. Your ability to maintain your balance through these ups and downs is critical. And your ability to do so allows you to maintain ‘balance’ between your personal and professional life, too…that which you originally were trying to achieve by going solo.
How do you respond to the ‘waves’ in your life?