I had a client come up to me during a group running session and ask me a very unique question that I can only imagine not too many people think about considering the amount of times I can recall ever having been asked this question. He started off by telling me he heard that many elite runners and athletes have a very balanced life, work, training, family, fun, relaxation, etc. then he asked… “How can I get my life into balance?”
He was extremely right in all parts of his conversation with me. If you take a look at the greatest athletes of all time and even current top ranked athletes, they seem to have it all worked out. Granted there is so much more to their lives that we do not see off camera, but what we do see, it’s easy to take notice in a few things. They are confident, focused, and successful in just about everything that they do. And precisely for the reason of having a balanced life, which for the rest of us begs the question… How do we find a better balance in our own lives?
Balance itself is defined as “a condition in which different elements are equal or in correct proportions.” In order to achieve this condition in your life, the first step is identifying the elements that are part of your life. What are the things that take up most of your time? What are you required to do on a daily basis? What does your typical schedule look like? For many, I’m sure the typical things exist: Work, Family, Training, Chores, Hobbies, Finances, Fun, etc. This list could become very lengthy. Considering the diversity of the general population, the differing interests, lifestyles, and other variables make balancing life a very individual task. Identifying the different parts of your life is going to take some time and should be done in a list, with paper and pencil and an open mind.
Next, look at your list; look at all the different things you need to do day after day and think about this analogy. How difficult is it to juggle 20 balls? How difficult is it to juggle 1 ball? It is much easier to balance less than it is more. The beauty of a simple life is more often than not under appreciated. That being said, the juggling act of life is more easily accomplished with less elements to juggle. Take a look at that list again and see what can be cut out. Where can you simplify? What elements in your life are non-essential? What can you do without? What are your priorities? What are key and cannot be touched? These questions are part of the process to finding balance. It is very hard to find balance if you don’t know all that you have to balance.
The act of balancing is where things get difficult. This is where the work begins and things must be done in real time, on a daily basis. Each element must be attended to. In order to keep everything up, everything must be worked on, it must be nurtured, and it must be developed. And here is where you can look at it one of two ways. You can either do just enough to keep everything barely above water, or you can work diligently with every part of your life and flourish!
If you want to succeed as an athlete or progress in your pursuit for strength, it requires balance. If some parts of your life are struggling, it’s hard for the proper attention to be placed on the others. In my experience, I have found when I divide my life into 3 parts- Mental, Physical, and Spiritual- I can simplify my actions in order to place enough emphasis on each of them to develop them continually and progress.
A balanced life will help you achieve more. It will help you grow not only as an athlete, but as a person, making the whole of your pursuit for strength better and more productive!
Every Day… A Little Stronger