The breeze is blowing on a beautiful sunny day as I rock back and forth enjoying every moment on my front porch. My earbuds are in and my iPod Classic is easily shuffling through the musical array I have collected. Oh yeah, I’m writing a blog too.
When you talk to others, is this how they describe their day? I doubt it. They may have experienced a great day in some form or fashion recently, but most people tend to express disdain for either the pace of their lives or the work that they conduct. What’s intriguing to me is that people would rather grouse and wallow in each other’s frustrations than listen to how someone stepped out of that endless cycle and enjoyed what was around them.
HR is tough. This is not a new thought in the least. What we miss though is that the same pressures that we may experience are happening to every single person around us. We’re not unique in this and we should be mindful of that. The primary way we’ve chosen to address this experience in the workplace today is to seek a “work/life balance.” Trust me, it would be sweet to be able to unplug from one facet of our lives and plug into another, but it’s not realistic.
It’s not realistic because we don’t want it. We don’t seek “balance”, we seek relief. We want to escape from whatever is straining and causing stress. If those factors are lessened we feel we have achieved balance. It’s wonderful that the strain is less, but we’ve really only shifted to something else for a moment in time. And, I think that is very healthy !!
I want you to try a new idea on in this arena. Instead of having separate areas of your life, which you won’t maintain well, what if you had a “counterbalance” ?? What’s a counterbalance? It’s something that provides you an out. It breaks the daily grind and allows you to breathe deeply just for a short period of time. There’s no set method that will work for everyone. I know there are a myriad of 3, 5, 7, 9 and 21 steps to happier lives. These may be uplifting slogans, mottos and look good on coffee cups, but I think they’re too cliché.
I don’t feel that I can prescribe what a counterbalance is for others, and I’ll be honest, I have some “go to” escapes mixed with others that vary on a regular basis. The biggest advice I could share on this is that you need to build a counterbalance into your day EVERY day !! This isn’t just something to do during the workweek. Counterbalances work year round.
My counterbalances include time reading non HR/business books, music playing everywhere, “surprise” phone calls to friends on my commute home, time with my faith, volunteering, and sitting on my porch enjoying nature. I have built counterbalances into my daily routine so that I have fewer times where the weight of the day consumes me. It still happens every once in awhile, but not often.
I also believe that we can be counterbalances for other people. We can provide that “out” that breaks whatever cycle they’re spinning in. It takes an intentional mindset and a lack of fear that you’re intruding. I enjoy practicing HR this way knowing that entering into conversations with employees can be a counterbalance for them even if they don’t realize it’s happening. It’s a great way to be disruptive in a positive way. You should try it !! If I can ever be a counterbalance for you, reach out and let me know. I’d dig it very much !!
This week break the cycle which I know is tugging at you !! And, take that next bold step and break the cycles of others around you at work, at home, at church, at school – wherever you encounter people. I never think that the people that we meet is a coincidence. We’re in each other’s lives for a reason and for a purpose.
Now, I’m going to go back to enjoy my counterbalance. Here’s what I’m looking at as I type. I hope you enjoy our mums, and here’s the song playing – Statues by Foo Fighters – which just fits if you don’t get those counterbalances going.