The Power of Balance

Ah, balance. It’s so much easier than it sounds. It takes the mental and physical strength to be 100% in the moment, and the awareness and flexibility to simultaneously plan for what’s coming next. If you can achieve it—in business and in life—the results can be stunning.

I’ve been practicing some form of dance or yoga for decades, and I’ve always found that my biggest challenge was balance. Flexibility was a given for me. Commitment to my goals was never an issue. And yet, no matter how hard I worked, it seemed I was never able to improve my ability to hold certain poses or move through an adagio without a waver or a stumble.

Then, a few years ago, something shifted. I started a new workout that stressed the importance of building core body strength, and while I had always thought I was working on my core in the past, this was different. In a year, I no longer needed a regular massage, and my visits to the chiropractor plummeted. After another few months, I realized I could hold poses that had been a challenge my entire life. I felt more confident. I was in less physical pain. My whole life seemed to gain some element of true balance. All because I’d taken the time and focus to build a stronger core.

When I apply the same thinking to business, the experience has me wondering: How much time do we waste on tasks that are failing to propel us forward? What can we be doing differently to ensure we’re focusing on our most valued core competencies and creating processes that drive tangible improvements? How often do we keep ourselves busy running from point A to point B on activities that feel wonderfully productive—but deliver minimal results. How guilty are we of neglecting to identify what’s missing from our practice, explore what changes we can make to improve our performance, or look past our immediate goals to plan for the future? I’ve seen companies spend an immense amount of time tackling KPIs without ever taking the time to identify what their own key performance indicators should be, and go to market without clearly defining their unique offering and what sets it apart from the competition. The error is clear to me when I’m looking at these large organizations, yet I know I’m guilty of the same fault.

If you’ve yet to find that balance in your own work, maybe it’s time to try a new business-focused “workout.” Try setting aside 30 minutes a day—even if the only half hour you can find is during your commute—to look beyond your immediate goals (this quarter’s sales and revenue numbers, that proposal that’s due tomorrow and has yet to be started) and focus on what you can do differently to improve your own core processes and, by default, the core strength of your business. It just may be the key to finding the balance you need to achieve your greater goals one or two years down the road—in business and in life.