Advent, the pre-Christmas period has started and with it we see activity levels rising everywhere we look. Children are getting excited, adults are getting ready for the celebrations and social engagements are rising dramatically during this period of time.
In addition to the festive period the end of the year is also very close. This is adding additional pressure to people, especially at work. It is a particularly frantic time which is very ironic, given that Advent also is meant to be a silent time. I wonder what is it for you … chaotic or calm… and where is the balance?
For me this time is a beautiful metaphor for the struggle I see many of my clients working through all throughout the year, not only at this special time before Christmas. It is the struggle of finding the ideal personal balance between chaos and calm that ignites the personal equilibrium, the unleashing of potential that lies within each of us, the personal power or some might call it their inner peace.
Here in this article we are finding out:
1. What is equilibrium
You might be more familiar with the term work life balance than personal equilibrium. The first has been widely known for years to describe a way of creating a healthy way of life, whilst showing up as the best version of one self.
According to the Oxford English dictionary the definition of equilibrium is :a state of intellectual or emotional balance especially between opposing forces or influences: any disturbance to the body’s state of equilibrium can produce stress or : a calm state of mind and a balance of emotions: He sat down to try and recover his equilibrium.
Both of these definitions suggest finding a balance between two forces which enable an ideal outcome on an intellectual and emotional level.
You might find the above terms quite abstract, academic or theoretical. However, if I asked you to think of a person that impressed you with their presence or perhaps you might call it charisma, who would you think of? What is it, when you now think of them that draws you to them? Or, even better, perhaps you can even think of a situation where you yourself have found yourself in this place?
It is the sense of calm dynamic or a sense of confidence, perhaps even an impression of knowing trust. A place where happiness can be fulfilled from the inside out without requiring external triggers or stimulants.
Well, all that would describe a state of personal equilibrium.
2. Why is it important to find this state of equilibrium?
I am sure you have seen many people around you struggling with these conflicting times of uncertainty. Perhaps you even have been there yourself.
When continuously acting from a state of chaos over a long period of time, being overwhelmed is often a side effect which causes a massive mental challenge to cope with everyday situations. Healthy cortisol levels of stress tip over into the dangerous levels. Often causing anxiety and sometimes depression. On a behavioural level it means that confidence levels drop drastically and self-deprivation often manifests in lack of sleep which then in turn creates a lack of concentration.
This is not to say that chaos can’t act as a stimulus.
Imagine you would be always in a total state of calm, which sounds very enticing indeed… doesn’t it? What would life be like for you in that state of total calm? Do you think you would fulfil all your potential if you were to live in total calm?
Being in total calm all the time utilises only a certain part of the brain, which means the other part is dormant during this time. Now that might well work for some people. The cost of living at total calm is that there might not be any progression of any kind. Whilst we need space and time for innovation and creativity. We also require chaos to inspire the mind, which in turn stimulates creativity and innovation.
Hence, finding the sweet spot between chaos and calm, the state of personal equilibrium, allows you to draw on the strengths of both of these states. We have the choice…. Everyone’s state of equilibrium is different and it also changes throughout life depending on how well we manage all the parts.
3. What does it look like
Some of the attributes of a person living in their personal state of equilibrium were already mentioned in 1) above such as confidence, charisma and trust.
Other attributes are showing empathy, compassion towards self and others, an interest in what is going on around oneself, understanding triggers, strengths, boundaries and the ability to clearly communicate these in neutral assertiveness as well as understanding own needs and aspirations, whilst taking care of them. You might also find that people at ease walk through life with a lightness, almost appearing fearless. They are intrigued and not afraid of showing their vulnerability, when they feel it is appropriate. They inspire others with their humility and effortless drive.
Sounds like a lot? After all we are human and as such are never going to be perfect. Indeed, it is a lot, and the beauty is that it is absolutely possible to achieve, as we see in people like Buddha and Queen Elizabeth II and many others. I am sure you will find your own role models that work for you.
4. How we can discover this place in ourselves?
So where do you find this personal equilibrium amongst everything else that is frantically happening out there? That’s the big question. Where in your life do you have balance, where calm and where is the chaos?
The pandemic world has actually given us an opportunity to reassess and realise, how we live our lives. Virtual and hybrid working has become standard in many organisations. We are no longer talking about the term work life balance in a post pandemic world. The lines have been diluted and so the need for personal clarity is much greater.
On top of that there are all those old patterns and learned behaviours, which are in us from our upbringing, childhood and surroundings. They originated in times that had much more stability and less chaos than the previous generation has experienced.
We are now heading into the winter with rising energy costs. The cost of living is rising in general. The whole economy is changing completely and amongst all of that, every single one of us is trying to figure out how to live a life of balance! It is a very challenging environment indeed to stay focussed and positive, without getting drawn into the external pull of negativity. Yet, at the same time the attention is not to take the foot off the pedal and feel like being left behind.
There is no doubt that understanding how to be challenged and how to feel fulfilled but equally not to be overstretched or overwhelmed is the key, but how do you find that ideal?
All of the questions below appear when you get clear on how much calm you want in your life and how much chaos would you love to have in your life.
The answers to these questions will give you a great deal of insight into where your personal equilibrium might be. You might also find out what you want to work on in order to get there. The tools section of this edition of the newsletter has a very useful tool that might aid you further to achieving this desired state.
Have fun experimenting with both your chaos and your calm – see where it takes you and let me know how you are getting on.