If there's one thing that we try to maintain here at Bid Boss, it's balance. Not the strict kind of balance in which everything must be perfectly maintained in a set structure in order to keep all your plates spinning at the same time, but the real kind of messy work that it takes to find the right kind of balance you need in that particular moment.
Sure, keeping the plates spinning may work for a bit. But what happens when you just really need to set one of those plates down, and you simply don't have enough hands to make that happen?
The challenge with true balance is that it needs to be responsive.
Setting your life up for balance requires that it have some sort of flexibility. What happens when you get sick? When you are mourning a loss? When your friend really needs you? When the baby gets their shots and won't sleep for three days? True balance allows for the shifting and settling and re-shifting that is a completely normal and natural part of our lives.
When I was younger, I thought that an important part of my "balance" was setting really ambitious goals and berating myself when I fell short. It was "accountability"?
Of course, that was never going to be sustainable. (see my whole burnout story) And, as much as I told myself "now is the time to really push your career forward," it certainly wasn't any kind balance.
Now...well, I still set ambitious goals. And I make plans to meet those goals. And I fail. If there's one thing that has remained consistent, it's my ambition and inevitable failure. There's just no such thing as success when you keep moving the bar, right?
This year though, I noticed something new emerge, and it's making me think differently.
At the beginning of this year, I was coming out of a bit of burnout. (I know, right? full freaking circle) We'd had an incredible year at Bid Boss, growing a ton, and probably too fast, and I was just doing too much. The year ended with a pretty serious come-to-jesus moment about my own workload and the impact of the stomach flu on the perilous "balance" I was trying to maintain.
So as the year turned over, I reframed: I scaled back, set new boundaries. I stopped checking email in the evenings. I started doing more things just for fun. And, just as boundaries have always helped in the past, they really started to create a bit of space in my life. I found that I was more relaxed, more ready to deal with a challenge, more enthusiastic about doing the work that I love to do.
Sometimes when you scale back, you create just enough space that you realize that you're still struggling to keep your head above water.
I made enough space to see clearly what I was enjoying and what I wasn't. I made enough space to realize I'd been neglecting some things that I really value. I made enough space to realize that my insomnia was not going away this time. I made enough space to be absolutely devastated by a recent loss.
That space opened up a realization that my first step - boundaries, baby - were simply not sufficient to get me where I wanted to go. They were invaluable, yes. Incredibly important to helping me realize what I really need in this moment. But they weren't the end goal.
That realization was a tipping point. The ambitious goals I set at the beginning of the year? Yeah, no. I'll get there. I'll keep the goal. But I need to adjust. I need to retool to say "yes, I'm going to get there, but in order to not die in the process, I need to find a different mode of transportation."
So here's to the in-the-process revelations and the baby steps and creating enough space to actually see what you need.
May we all have that space to discover what needs to shift to find a true and sustainable sense of balance.