Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Balancing Your Inner Voice and Outer World

Focusing on what's going on inside of us can be very challenging when our daily life is packed full and we don't have a minute to spare.  Believe me, I've been there.  However, listening to our inner voice and managing our outside world is a two way street.  To find true balance, you must engage both, remembering that you hold the power to bring order and solace to your life.

I'd like to share a personal experience with you and give you some of the tools I used in hopes that you can begin to bring your goals and dreams to fruition.

After spending two years reacting to everything around me, much like I discussed in January when I posted Patience as We Process, and doing almost nothing that brought me any real joy, I paused.  I looked inside of me for what I really wanted, then I looked at my world and realized that the two were not at all well-aligned with each other.  Over a four day period, I looked back in my life to a time when things came together and flowed smoothly; I was productive and happy.

An old calendar I created.  Color coding
not necessary; just something I need to do.
That time was in college and I remembered a weekly calendar I used to use, so I recreated it, but it didn't work this time.  I couldn't figure out why, until I realized that I used the calendar when I was single and my life was entirely my own.  Besides incorporating my family into the new calendar, I looked at what I was doing personally and it did not line up with what I wanted to be doing or where I wanted to go.  In essence, my inner voice was not being heard or represented in my external world.

I needed something else.  Remember when Chantel talked about ways to approach New Year's resolutions?  Did you make yours?  Did you set goals?  I listed my goals and priorities, but that wasn't enough.  I needed to join my goals with the way I was spending my time during the week.

There is only so much time in a week and that is where the challenge was for me, in establishing a manageable process, finding a balanced approach to turning my goals and dreams into my reality.  With my priorities in hand and my weekly calendar filled in, I drew a circle on a piece of paper and looked at how much time I was spending doing things each week and what things I was actually doing.  I didn't like what I saw.  But, I didn't attempt to change everything all at once.  I eased my way into the things I wanted to do, while easing my way out of some of the things that were time sinks I didn't need to be doing.  Some things were easier to phase out than others, but once the process started, it got easier to see how I could manage my time and spend more of it focused on things that mattered.

Balance is a thing of beauty.
 A few months later, I reevaluated the way I was spending my time and compared the first circle to the second one.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how much I had refocused my outer world to align with my inner voice.  Once you begin to realign your outer world with your inner voice, you will not only find balance, but the time you need to achieve it.  I felt balanced, productive and happy, something which continues to grow today.

As you go through this process, remember to ask yourself these questions:  How full is your plate? What's on your plate?  Is what's there what you want to have on it?  How well are your inner voice and outer world supporting each other?  Have you achieved some balance?

Practice Engaging Your Inner Wisdom
Over the next two weeks, take the time to either record the amount of time you spend on each task you do or estimate it.  You can simply list each item and record how much time you spend on it as you do it each day or use the tools I've posted on my website for you to accomplish this assessment.  Then, using my 'how full is your plate?' circle (also on my website), apply your week to the plate in the percentage of time spent on each task.  How does it look?  If it's not the way you'd like it, how can you change it?  If you're interested in some personal coaching, let me know.  I'd be happy to help.

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