There is a tool we use in business that may help us lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
In business, we use something called a balanced scorecard to help us bring order to our efforts and keep our organizations healthy. Here the purpose is to make sure you are always strengthening the four elements shown in the diagram below.
A lack of focus in all areas will put your business in jeopardy, and you will end up constantly rushing to keep one plate spinning while the others threaten to crash to the ground.
But there is a big difference in what we want out of business and what we want out of our lives.
When people try to determine how to develop balance in their lives a common approach is to point to the following elements:
It’s a philosophy about how we should approach life. It’s simplistic, yes, but it can help bring a certain order to our lives.
Another common concept you’ll see is a Venn diagram arguing that you will find happiness and fulfillment in your life at the intersection of doing what you’re passionate about, doing what you’re good at, and doing what people will pay you to do.While on some level this might seem like an efficient way to deal with your life, for most people these three things don’t tend to line up so tidily. When you can’t get them aligned, it can be pretty discouraging. There are a lot of folks in this world who end up having to take jobs that are hard to be passionate about in order to put food on the table. Or their passions don’t pay the bills. Same goes for what they’re good at. That doesn’t mean they can’t have fulfilling and rewarding lives.
Rather than getting pissed off at the universe because you can’t figure out how to get people to pay you for playing World of Warcraft, it might be more helpful to think in terms of a sort of hybrid between the balanced scorecard and the spiritual, mental, physical trinity. Note in the diagram above a fourth and essential factor: Sustainable. Spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing are good areas of focus, but we also need to think about how we can have a lifestyle where we can sustain our healthy spiritual, mental, and physical practices.
There may be a temptation to think of this factor as financial or money, but that would be a mistake. Money is a means to something else. If you’re thinking of money as a goal, you’re missing the point. The goal is to sustain your wellbeing spiritually, mentally, and physically. A steady income certainly may be an important part of that factor, but again it is a means to an end. If you are out of balance in one way in this lifestyle balanced scorecard, it eats away at other factors threatening your overall wellbeing.
For instance, if you focus too much on your physical wellbeing you may start to obsess about your appearance or material possessions. In turn your mental and spiritual state will be sacrificed. You may suffer, for instance, intellectually or feel untethered to the world around you. In fact, because all four factors are interconnected, neglect or preoccupation in one factor will adversely affect the entire scorecard.
When you’re working in a job that seems to be eating away at your soul, you’ve lost track of the other three factors and it’s purely about sustainment without having any reason for why you’re doing it.
The good news is when it comes to scorecards, wellbeing in one area can positively affect your wellbeing in the other areas. Your physical wellbeing can help you spiritually and mentally as long as you are cognizant of the importance of all factors, and you don’t obsess about one area. Just remember that at its core it’s about balance.
If you’re finding that you feel unfulfilled in someway, consider the lifestyle balanced scorecard above. If there is imbalance somewhere, set your goals accordingly. Identify specific and actionable goals for each factor to ensure that your life is in balance. It’s worth your time and effort to do the work that will afford you a sustainably fulfilling life.