A Three-Way Balancing Act

balancing rock
Balancing is not just needed in two dimensions but in three or more.

A Three-Way Balancing Act

As I’ve been doing the balancing act these days, it occurred to me that there are three main things that I’m trying to balance.

  1. Duties
  2. Passions
  3. Self-care

It was kind of cool to look at them this way because it gave me a broader perspective.

Here’s How It Looks for Me

One of the areas I’ve been trying to balance this year is finances. I’ve made a lot of progress there. For example, I have been doing more private sessions because it is simple income.

But my resistance to doing more private sessions before this was a conflict with one of my passions: designing courses and creating systems that allow my business to grow. These passions, though also related to money, are slow to generate income and take a lot of time.

So my balance until recently was to favor working on my passion (creating courses and systems). This used up my time, preventing me from offering more appointment slots to clients which generates money short-term.

It’s So Interesting to See the Balance

Right now, we’re looking at the balance between duty (making enough money to keep my business operating and to support an employee) and passion (making courses, organizing my business).

The limited resource is time. Time is needed to pursue my passion and time is needed to fulfill my duty. And these two opposing forces have to wrestle with each other to find something that works. In the end, I have found a balance where I’m working enough hours with clients to carry all business expenses but I save some time each day for developing courses and creating business systems.

This is a compromise. And it is only in two dimensions.

Now Consider My Third Interest: Self-Care

This is another pull on my time. I work better when I don’t work at night, when I sleep well, when I meditate twice a day, and when I exercise and eat healthy food. Each of these things when I keep it as a priority squeezes my available time for fulfilling my duties and pursuing my passions.

For example, I start my work day by doing The Work as a part of Inquiry Circle, my ongoing practice group. This is purely self-care. That means, I neither see clients then nor design courses. I neither make money short-term, nor long-term. I’m just prioritizing self-care. Self-care is the third main dimension that I try to balance.

Each Dimension Has Its Value

If I exclusively do my duties without taking time for my passions and my self-care, life becomes heavy and burdensome. 

If I exclusively focus on self-care, without taking time for duties and following my passions, I may end up in poverty and be restless. 

If I exclusively focus on pursuing my passions, I may end up stuck in long-term projects with little immediate income and get burned out because of not enough self-care.

So Where Is the Balance?

I don’t have a simple answer for you, or even for me. It seems to be a constant adjusting as one aspect requires more attention, and then another. But over time, I am finding what works for me. And over time, it seems to get easier.

One thing that I find helpful as I make so many compromises in each dimension, is to question my attachments. I can be attached to each of these three: duty, passion, and self-care. Who would I be without so much attachment? I would be able to roll with the punches much better.

Luckily, I have a great way to loosen attachments: The Work of Byron Katie. Interestingly, the most common formats for identifying stressful thoughts seem to line up with these three areas I want to balance.

  1. Duties – stressful thoughts here often start with “I should…”
  2. Passions – stressful thoughts here often start with “I want…”
  3. Self-care – stressful thoughts here often start with “I need…”

Of course, this is an oversimplification, but it’s enough to get me thinking. What am I wanting or needing or feeling that I have to do? These are stressful thoughts holding up my attachments. If I question them, I may find a little less attachment and a little more room for the compromising that is often required in this balancing act.

What Is the Balancing Act in Your Life?

And what are the thoughts and beliefs that you are holding tightly? I encourage you to question a few of them on each side of what you are trying to balance.

Want to work on the issue of money in your life? Take the Living with Money course available to start anytime. Want to dive deeper into self-care? Take The Work 101 and explore The Work as an ongoing practice in your life.

Have a great week,

“You can’t change the projected world, but you can change mind, the projector. Just notice when things are out of balance. You don’t have to figure it out. There’s a built-in signal that will always let you know: it’s called stress. Your unquestioned thoughts about life lead you to believe that there’s something out of order, and that can never be true. Stress allows you to know when to inquire. ” ByronTSmith_080318_7321 Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

Further reading: How to Deal with Different Ways of Spending Money

Todd Smith has been doing The Work of Byron Katie on an almost daily basis since 2007. He is just as excited about this simple process of self-inquiry today as he was when he first came across it. He also enjoys writing about The Work, and training others in the subtleties of this meditative process. Join Todd for The Work 101 online course, private sessions, virtual retreats, and his ongoing Inquiry Circle group.