I was fascinated by this article, “The Work-Life Balance Myth Explained by the Four Burners Theory“. The premise is four burners, like on a stove, represent a major area of your life. e.g. work, health, family, friends. The theory goes that in order to be successful, you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful, you have to cut off two.
Here are the questions that I would pose regarding this theory:
1. Do you agree?
2. How many burners are you willing to turn off to sacrifice for success, and for how long?
3. Is running on 2 or 3 burners over the long run sustainable?
Here’s my own suggestion to amend the four-burner theory. I agree, yes. Sometimes you have to focus entirely on only 2 out of 4 burners to achieve something that’s really hard. But I think you can still intermittently turn on the other two burners. They don’t have to be on high, or be on for long. But as long as you get to experience them, that may be all you need to keep going on the 2 main burners – I personally don’t think living on just 2 burners is sustainable over the long run.
So work your buns off and keep yourself healthy by eating right and exercising while you are on that hard drive to launch your new product or service. But do take those short breaks every now and then to hang with your family and friends. That may be just what you need to help you through those long days and nights working to make your business a success.
But for me, I don’t really think about how to maintain balance. I try to be aware of how I feel in my mind, body and heart.
If any of these vital elements don’t feel right, I stop what I’m doing, take a breath and reflect. Often just doing this releases whatever pressure I was feeling and allows my mindset to shift. And THAT is when the balance begins to re-emerge. That is my moment of zen.