Balance. Who knew?

Painting of a tightrope walker by August Macke, 1913
August Macke [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Balance.  Who knew that this simple little word could produce so many different mental images and passionate responses?  The quotes that follow are definitions of balance that were sent to me over the past two weeks.  The one common denominator is that people have very visually relevant ideas about what balance looks like to them.  And that’s where the similarities end.

“I love to work, but I don’t live to work.  Certain family and friends of mine my disagree with this statement due to the amount that I work, but it has to do with my love for what I do.  To me, work/life balance is directly related to one’s ability to understand the difference.” ~ Nicole Graf

“Ever watch a tight rope walker?  That’s us today in the world of business or just life in general.  It means sometimes adjusting to the tilt at the moment.  You have to be ready, willing, and able to adjust quickly and correctly.  Does that mean emotional control?  Sometimes but most times it means that you have to be prepared and willing to take a chance.  The emotions have to be driven by values established way before you have to adjust.  Life is Change.” DW

Nadia Ciani was the next respondent: “Balance is about finding time for everyone and everything that make you who you are. It’s utopia. Until you get it right, stand on one leg in tree pose, laugh, and keep breathing!”

“To achieve personal balance, one must consider self-care first. It means “filling the well” in order to have something to give. (That would be a minister’s definition, any way.)” Roxanne E. French

My friend Deborah Bakti gave this a lot of thought.  Her initial quote: “I think pursuing ‘balance’ is like trying to nail jello to the wall – it’s somewhat relentless because it’s hard to define what it is exactly we want to balance, and that probably changes depending on the day or life situation.  And who says that having the various parts of our life need to balance?”  Deb also mentions the ability to flex according to life’s changes as being a critical success factor.  She adds “I think when one steps back and looks at how they invested their time in a day, an event, the week, the month, the year….whatever the timeframe is – if we feel like we’ve invested our time well,  if the experience leaves us feeling full, complete, content with how, where and with whom we chose to  share a part of our life with, then it’s another positive contribution to a life well lived.”

“The journey through life is much like a tight-rope walk. We keep our balance, not by walking a straight line; but, by correcting our walk as we teeter from one side to the other. All the time moving forward. As we veer too much to the left, we correct to the right.  The aim is to keep our balance and to keep from falling off the rope of life. We need to decide what is important in life and focus on those things. When we get off track we need to correct ourselves so that we get out of life’s journey what we really want to. The key is to focus on our balance as we move toward our goal at the end of the rope of life.”  Carol in Connecticut

Debb Fioravante says: “The trick to balance is to figure out what your priorities are, and fit everything else around that.”

“I am almost 24 yrs old, I have been an adult for almost 6 years & in those 6 years I don’t think I have ever balance my life for more than a month at a time, it doesn’t seem to be my style. Instead, I prefer a pace of extreme’s it seems- over load on work, work, work…..then opposite-crash! Over stimulate on socializing & friends for a few weekends, then hide in my room for a month. I’ve done the same in my weight, school, love life, etc. I don’t know why this works for me but it does, my friends & family don’t necessarily agree with my version of balancing but I guess I’m just balancing on say a more mathematical scale. Remove the actual meaning of the activities and convert them all to letter (x, y, z, etc…) variables & add them up over say a couple years, they should balance out! (in theory: I hope) Then again, I am only 24, how many people at 24 have everything all figured out?!” –Jonayla 

“The concept of balance that resonates best with me is this…
Balance is not about the amount of time you spend on the various priorities of your life… it is simply unrealistic to expect of yourself that you’ll be dividing your time equally amongst the things that are important to you. Nor is it about “ranking” the things that are important – I hate the thought of putting the people in my life in some sort of “pecking order” in terms of who gets more of me.

Rather, achieving balance has to do with the amount of peace, contentment and fulfillment you get from each of the spheres in which you operate. If you’re happy and at peace with your family life, your circle of friends, your professional pursuits, your health, your leisure activities, etc…. well then you’ve mastered the “holy grail” of “balance” – regardless of time spent (or not) in any area.” ~Shannon Jackson

I started the same discussion on a new social networking site called and got some really interesting responses.  Click this link to read the thread.


It seems that some of us see ourselves on an unending search for middle ground — that place that allows us to engage in all that we judge essential — while others of us prefer what I call the living pendulum; that is, playing at opposite ends of the balance continuum in the belief that it all evens out in the end.

What’s your definition of balance?


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12 Replies to “Balance. Who knew?”

  1. hi I was luck to look for your subject in bing
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  2. Balance – we always talk about balance in our lives. Balance at work, balance at home, balance with our family and friends. Balance is like a teeter-totter – sometimes you’re up at the top, sometimes you’re at the bottom and sometimes, you’re balanced between the two. Just as in life there are ups and downs, there are also ups and downs in how we balance what we do and what we want to do.


  3. Thanks for adding your comments dbakti and Eyewitness. This post began life as a bit of research into my own beliefs on balance but became a whole lot more interesting when I changed gears and reached out to gather others’ points of view instead.

    Anyone else want to add?


  4. I like Shannon’s comments about peace, contentment and fulfillment – sometimes the time we spend in certain aspects of our life is a bit out of our control, or is just simply a necessity. How we share of ourselves, how we show up and our intention with that time has more influence on how we feel about it, which leads back to the peace, contentment and fulfillment. Life’s always about making choices and if we do well enough to feel good about the choices we make, and have a life without regrets, well that’s success.
    Great idea Susan to get us thinking, talking and feeling about this one!


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