Stone Creative Consulting
How Balance Leads to Longevity - No Running Required
We have always made the joke that if someone were chasing us, we just wouldn't run. Neither of us have ever been a strong runner… Frankie has weak ankles, Tally has bad knees, and let’s be honest, we don’t have that “runner’s body” either.
Now, when it comes to our business and professional life we approach everything like we’re being chased. But this time, we have that runner's body. We can go the distance - work the longer hours, balance all the projects, give our partners our undivided attention, manage the internal politics… we can do it all.
Until we can’t.
Professional development, your career, climbing the proverbial ladder - these things take time. And, while, yes you will have to work late, manage multiple projects, and navigate the internal politics (plus so much more), you also need to remember, this isn’t a sprint.
We have colleagues that run marathons and they talk about everything they do to prepare for the day. There are schedules to help build your endurance, weight regimens, self care routines to help your muscles heal and relax while strengthening them. Then there is the after care for your body once you have completed the actual marathon.
Professionally, it isn't any different. There are many of us that are “fed” by the job we do - but that can't be the only thing we do. When you become overly fixated on a goal, a project, or the next step for your career or business you can start losing some of what motivated you to pursue it in the first place.
I would venture to say, most of us have experienced burn out - where we can’t crunch another number, reply to another client with the same question, or find a creative way to explain a project internally that seemed self explanatory. These are the moments we need to take a step back, walk around the block, cook dinner, or take 15 minutes to stretch on the living room floor.
In order to conquer your dreams you have to give yourself some grace and some space to grow. This isn't the same thing for everyone either. Some people like yoga, running, or general exercise, while others like gardening, reading, shopping (a personal favorite), or cooking. Whatever it is that you enjoy, take the time to do it! Step away for a bit, whether it be at lunch or after work, and take some time to clear your mind - think about something other than that fire at work or the project you're midway through.
Often, it's these moments, where we step away and clear our minds, that a new approach, strategy, or potential outcome shows itself. It's because we are giving ourselves the space we need to adjust and consider new ideas.
Now, we are not saying put down your dreams and career goals. We are not saying climbing the ladder will be easy, or that there won't continue to be fires at work… there will be. But, sometimes it is the moments we step back, refill our cup, and focus on something else that revives us so that when we come back we are able to give more than if we had just “pushed through.”
You can’t (and probably shouldn't) run a marathon if you have never gone out running before. You would want to train, slowly build up your stamina and take care of your body along the way.
We encourage you to approach your business and professional development the same way. Working long hours, volunteering for projects, working with multiple internal teams is only part of what will influence your career. Relationships have a big influence as well! People want to work with people - someone they can ask about their weekend or they can tell about a great book they read. Showing your colleagues that you have other values humanizes you and makes you more relatable to build other networks and relationships. It also encourages a work environment where people work hard when they are at work, because they know you put value on their personal time.
When you take the moments to “feed” yourself that allows you the space to give more when you are at work or working towards a goal. Moving forward isn't just about the long strides we take, or who gets to the finish line first. It is also about how we get there, how we prepare to be our best, and the accomplishments of the small goals along the way so when we get there we are successful - not stressed and burnt out.
One of the keys to success is balance, whatever that means to you. If you ever watch commencement speeches at university graduations (guilty pleasure), you may recall many of the speakers talk about the necessity of balance within your life. They encourage the graduates to find balance in everything from personal relationships to career development, religion to finances, and everything in between. When you're just starting out, this seems easy and obvious, but somewhere along the way those work days can start to blur into your personal time. That’s when we really need to take that step back, recalibrate, and find balance.
It's funny, while being able to “manage” life is something we all are expected to do, it isn’t something we are taught and up until recently, it wasn’t something openly discussed. How you find balance, and what you consider a balanced life, won't necessarily be the same as someone else's. You need to define what balance is for you. You should take a moment to step back when you need a break, invest your time into things that make you happy, and remember this is about your definition of success.
Balance will lead to the longevity you need to be successful. This isn't a sprint and no one is chasing you.