To the degree that people describe balance as an issue in their life, I would boldly propose a new concept.



Balance, as historically understood, is not what we really want. What we want is a blended and connected lifestyle.



Before we define a blended and connected lifestyle, let’s revisit several recent premises that have gained widespread popularity and yet, I believe, are inherently flawed.



The Flaws in The Balance Wheel



The classic balance wheel that equally divides life into X amount of time at work, Y amount of time for personal life, and Z amount of time for community or spirituality does not work either. Most people seldom get to the third component, and argue that the balance they seek is between work and home.



More often than not, sacrifices are made on the home front, not at work. The balance skews from equal thirds in theory only, to a more realistic fifty-fifty between work and home, to the reality that whatever work requires comes first. Personal life gets mostly the leftovers.



In other words, the whole balance wheel division has never been equal, and is largely a mythical creation. Why is this?


Simply stated, the underlying assumption of this type of balance is flawed. It implies that we must constantly make tough choices between personal life and work-a negotiated peace treaty between the home front and the work front.

This implication stems from a lack of clarity in our core values and our life’s purpose.



Suppose you make a lot of money in a job that no longer challenges or fulfills you. What do you do? How many people have you heard of who are “just getting in their 20 years” or who are “putting in their time” until retirement? What happens when the pension or retirement fund is lost by the corporate entity they trusted?



Suppose your work is fulfilling, but under its present circumstance provides no practical way to make a reasonable living? Many people have accepted the myth that self-denial, giving to others at our own expense or continuous self-sacrifice without a reasonable return, is an acceptable method of living.



This only rings true for those who wish to take an oath of poverty. Sadly, most people have not taken that oath, yet exhibit the practice anyway.



Quantity Time Does Not Work



Another outmoded idea with respect to balance is the concept that spending “quantity” time with family or loved ones can make up for lost time. Consider the person who ignores family for weeks or months on end with the justification that the time will be made up on the month-long family vacation. They want to claim that this sudden dose of “quantity” time will restore balance to the family.



This concept of quantity time is a fallacy. It cannot work because it does not take into consideration the needs of each individual person. A month-long vacation with family may be commendable and even enjoyable. However, it would be more appropriate and sustainable, and certainly a greater contributor to the family’s pursuit of happiness, balance and wealth, to connect on an intimate level when each family member most requires it.



Quantity time attempts to put a Band-Aid on the obvious gap in ordinary living-sort of like drinking gallons of water on a given day and then none for three in a row, or gorging with food on weekends to then starve throughout the week.



The human need for intimacy is ongoing and non-linear. It’s not something the lack of which can be restored with short-term over-saturation. Only clarity in core values can drive daily activities that meet this pervasive need.



Quality Time Does Not Work



This leads us to another flawed concept, that of “quality” time. Quality time has been defined as reserved time for child or spouse on a schedule, such as 6:00 to 7:00, when you try to be ready to listen to them. This fails to take into consideration that the other person may have needs and wants at some other time, a time perhaps convenient to them but inconvenient to you.



Quality time creates the excuse that says you do not have to deliver intimacy or connectivity when others need it. You simply put them in your schedule, and everything will work out. In today’s demanding and high-stress world, this can’t work. We need intimacy when we need it, not when it fits the Day-Planner.



While there is much to be said for scheduling and making a loved one a priority, this cannot act as a substitute for disconnecting the rest of the time. Quality time does not work as that substitute because it does not take into consideration when the needs of another may arise.



Balance Needs an Extreme Makeover



The purpose behind balance has been broadly revealed over the last 30 years. People who want more balance in their lives are after something specific. Balance, in itself, acts as a red flag, a red herring that requires those affected to ask themselves this fundamental question: “What am I really after?”



My contention is simple: People want their needs heard and acknowledged by others in a meaningful way, and people want to feel connected. None of these needs and wants is a function of time. Balance does not have to be a zero-sum game, where if I give here, it takes away from there.



What is needed is a new model and a new understanding of balance-balance as a blended and connected lifestyle.



The Blended and Connected Lifestyle



The blended and connected lifestyle means there is no difference between the professional you and the personal you. Only one seamless individual makes up the bundle of joy, enthusiasm and creative power that has always existed in you. The fact that you sometimes produce better work in one area versus another does not make you a two-headed, one-body monster. The Power of YOU! is more easily discovered when you work from a blended, holistic and complete self, rather than a bifurcated or split personality.



If you live life based on core values, then your daily, weekly and monthly activities are driven by those core values. It’s impossible to have a work or professional personality different from your actual self. It’s just you.



Furthermore, if our modern, new, ‘media 24 hours a day’ Internet society dictates that work can happen at any hour of the day, why not have it be work we enjoy? Work that contributes, not subtracts, from your daily life? Work that is a choice based on your core values, and blends your passions and interests with prosperous results?



That’s an extreme makeover, indeed!




About the Author



Scott Martineau gathered his expertise and experience and co-founded an Internet-based company called Conscious One. He realized that his greatest passion was in the development of people, and he formed a company whose mission would be to create courses in personal and human development. In less than four years, Conscious One grew into the largest Internet-based personal growth course provider in the world.



Today, Scott continues to pioneer the field of human development as a luminary and leader whose innovative thinking helps millions around the globe break free from outdated shackles to fulfill their true individual potential. He is an accomplished author; "The Power of You!" was published in August of 2006 and spent three days at number one on Amazon.com.