Seven Ways to Bring Balance to Your Business
“Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.”
~ Malcolm Gladwell
Seven Ways to Bring Balance to Your Business
By Andrea Novakowski
Nearly everyone I talk to these days is searching for that magical quality called “balance.” We seek balance in our lives, in our relationships, in our business. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: balance is a moving target. You don’t actually achieve it. You’re always moving either toward it or away from it.
Think of the tomato seedlings that many people start in a sunny window, a few weeks before it’s warm enough to transplant them into the garden. Every day you have to turn them 180 degrees because they’re always bending toward the light. The plants are never really standing up straight. Not for very long, anyway. They always need adjusting.
Your business needs adjusting, too.
As we enter the summer months here in New England, it’s a good time to re-balance by looking at how your mind, body, and spirit are engaged in the work you do. In Younger Next Year, authors Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge, M.D. tell us the body is always either building itself up or breaking down. Exercise, they say, is the key to moving in the right direction. The same principle of building up can be applied to our minds and spirits. Reading, thinking, learning, and taking classes can help build our mental abilities. Meditation, prayer, and quiet time all help to build our spirits.
Perhaps you’re the kind of business owner or leader who relies on structures and systems to make you more effective so you can focus on what’s most important. Have you been having some issues with those structures and systems? Are they not working as well as they used to?
For years, one of my clients, Jeff, a marketing consultant, used an Excel spreadsheet to track his prospects and move them along the sales process. But when he took some quiet time to reflect on what was working and not working in his business, he realized he wasn’t staying on top of the follow-up. Prospects were falling off the radar screen.
Jeff might not have spotted this breakdown in his system if he hadn’t paused to adjust – to rebalance and rebuild. As a result, he now plans to enhance his system with CRM (customer response management) software that will automatically prompt him when it’s time to do follow-up.
Remember Bethany, the coach for creative entrepreneurs, whom I talked about last month? She was no longer enjoying one of her most profitable products and wasn’t sure why. During one of our sessions, she realized that she needed to bring more of her own mind, body and spirit into her decision-making process, which would in turn bring her a more balanced perspective.”
Here are some of the tools Bethany and Jeff used to explore their options more fully. Why not try out a few of these ideas in your business?
- Write in a journal. Begin each journaling session with a specific question. Leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith suggests: Am I willing, at this time, to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this topic?
- Tune in to your intuition. If you’re not accustomed to looking within yourself for inspiration, check out Lynn Robinson’s book Divine Intuition.
- Talk with others. Find colleagues who have been in a similar situation and ask them what they did to gain clarity. Most people are flattered to be asked for advice.
- Meditate or Pray. Seeking guidance from your higher power is a time-honored approach to solving problems.
- Let go. Ask yourself a question, then let your subconscious take over. For instance, try posing a problem at the start of your three-mile run and seeing what answers come to mind.
- Listen to your body. As you sort through your options, observe what makes your heart flutter, your gut clench, your fingers tingle.
- Check with your head. Don’t forget to include the analytical side of the equation, too.
As I said at the beginning, none of us is ever perfectly balanced. Business consultants tend to bring their minds to their work. The landscaper relies on her body during the day when she’s tending her gardens, then switches to her mind at night when she does the books. The yoga teacher may look like she’s firing on all cylinders, but even she can feel out of balance sometimes.
How about you? Which do you use most frequently in your business: your mind, your body, or your spirit?
During the summer, when there are more daylight hours and it feels like you have more time, it’s a perfect opportunity to experiment. Play. Bring fresh air into your work. Whichever part of you — mind, body, or spirit — you tend to lean on most heavily, try balancing it out with the other elements.
YOUR CALL TO ACTION
Identify one activity that would bring your business closer to balance. What will you do this week to realign yourself? Please share your thoughts with us below.