Wherever you are, be all there…..-Jim Elliot

A few months ago, a friend had shared with me the likelihood of leaving her job to do things she truly loves. She was waiting for the sign that would wink at her to make the decision. Ok, the word ‘wink’ is mine. Anyway, I was not surprised to read on her instagram page that she finally left her job.

In her own words, ‘As a few of you know, I have built and have managed Natural Nigerian while juggling the role of a parent, and full time worker. My job had me travel at least 6 out of 12 months a year and was pretty much full on. It was HARD to juggle things. There are many nights of going to bed past midnight and waking up at 5am to work for 12 hours’.

Similarly, Ian said ‘If you work 18-hour days, travel extensively, eat at irregular intervals, sleep less and never get to say goodnight to your children, it has the making of an unhealthy existence. Removing access to the things that make life worth living is not a positive action. We all need good sleep time, time where we can ‘switch-off’ from work, not feeling that we are ‘on the go’ all the time. We need access to the memories of seeing our children grow up.

How many of us have the same or similar story? How many of us would really like to do the things we truly love?

Jodi Ettenberg wrote ‘In 2008, I quit my job as a lawyer and took off to travel for what I thought would be a year. I had saved up working at a law firm, and I wanted a place to post photos and share crazy stories so that my friends and family could follow along from afar. Legal Nomads was born’

Just when you think the experience is a one off, she continues, ‘Along the way, I realized I did not want to return to the law. Instead, I kept traveling to the places that left me wide-eyed and smiling. I found myself deeply addicted to noodle soup. I met wonderful people who taught me about countries they love’

Back home here, Ibukun Awosika started off at Akintola Williams & Co. (now Deloitte) as an Audit Trainee during her national youth corps service, she had a short 3 month stint at Alibert Nigeria Ltd, a furniture company, as Showroom Manager. Thereafter, at only 25, she resigned her position to set up her own furniture manufacturing company, Quebees Ltd, from which The Chair Centre Ltd later evolved. MD/CEO of the joint-venture company, Sokoa Chair Centre Ltd, created as a result of the ban on importation of furniture by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2004. Sokia Chair Centre is a joint venture between The Chair Centre Ltd, Sokoa S.A of France and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. Today, she is the Chairman of First Bank Plc.

What do you really want in life? What will make you very happy? How can you make it happen? I believe you tend to find your balance when you are doing something you truly love. It does not mean that you need to quit a job to find it; you may truly be fulfilled in your chosen career.

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Finding your balance is a very important investment in yourself and your life. On the other hand, if something takes 12 hours of your day like Natural Nigerian and you struggle with the other, then that imbalance could have adverse effect in those other areas. Have you read the book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ or attended the training programme? If not, Stephen Covey the American educator, businessman, keynote speaker and author of famous ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ talks of seven habits that we should practice, now there is a new one, 8th habit.

Habit 3 seems to validate the effort to find a balance in one’s life. Habit 3 is about life management as well–your purpose, values, roles, and priorities. What are “first things?” First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth. If you put first things first, you are organizing and managing time and events according to personal priorities.

To make 2016 a very eventful year, strike a balance between work and personal time. ‘To live a more balanced existence, you have to recognize that not doing everything that comes along is okay. There’s no need to overextend yourself. All it takes is realising that it’s all right to say no when necessary and then focus on your highest priorities.’…..Stephen Covey

My tips for staying balanced are:

  1. Do things you love
    You should have fun working. When you are having fun, you do not remember that you are working. It should not feel separate. There should be a sense of fun and enjoyment in your life. Hannah wrote,’ I love my job, but it isn’t everything to me. My partner, my friends, my hobbies, my health are all important, and I need to have time to look after each of them. I am 30, and at that stage where people often say they become unhappy, because pursuing a career takes over and they regret not spending more time on their relationships. I am pursuing a career, but I don’t want to look back and realize it came at a huge cost.’
  2. Create Your Fun
    At a training event, organised by Queenelle Consulting last year, ‘Be the Best of You’, one of the other facilitators, a trainer, crafter and CEO of a Craft business, made all participants design a card each. So intense was the atmosphere, everyone took the exercise very seriously and when the Facilitator asked if anyone remembered any of the many things on their to-do list during the card making session, everyone said a resounding, Noooo! The many beautiful cards we saw that day are all a validation of the fact that anything is possible. Crochet, knitting, tatting, painting, drawing, reading a good book, playing a musical instrument, going to the movies, playing monopoly, cards, scrabbles, baking, attending social events and more. Whichever is your preference, do give yourself permission to do something new, play and have some fun!
  3. Connect with yourself
    How do you connect with yourself? Is it a long stroll, some classical music, a hot cup of tea, knitting, crochet or what? Try this, give yourself a few minutes when you wake up to reminisce on the day before and put the new day in perspective. Most people have confirmed that it works, I agree, it does. For some, it is easier to connect with their innerself at the end of the day. Connecting with one’s self has so many benefits, take for example managing your anger, while we cannot control the things that will happen to us, with a well connected centre, we can control how we react.

It is 2016, what are you going to commit to? How are you going to cultivate a spiritual practice that will help you find your centre and subsequently your balance? I look forward to your tips. Good Luck!

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