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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How the 5 Pillars of Life Help You Achieve Balance in Life

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How the 5 Pillars of Life Help You Achieve Balance in Life

Have you recently had the chance to pause, take a look at where you are in life, and consider your current aspirations or values? Everyone has different priorities and milestones they want to accomplish. We call these goals our pillars of life.

When imagining a pillar, you might picture structures that hold up a house or make up a grand entryway for a building. The pillars of life can be thought of similarly. They are foundations that exist to guide us and give us stability. If you feel uncertain about the future, consider striving to build 5 pillars of life: career, money, love, purpose, and enthusiasm.

Through these tangible coaching tips, you will be able to strengthen your pillars and achieve more balance in life.

1. Define Your Career Goals

Maybe you take pride in having worked for the same company for twenty years, or perhaps you finally followed your heart and started your own nonprofit. Having a career does simply mean committing yourself to a nine to five job. It could be contributing to any organization, as an employee, volunteer, or owner. It is all about taking our desire to learn and making an impact. We do this by giving energy to the business side of ourselves, utilizing our troubleshooting skills, and defining our work ethic.

Everyone has slivers of a career in their daily lives. Stay-at-home parents are in charge of the bills for the house, a college student might volunteer on the weekends, and a restaurant employee could be working to become a manager one day.

If this pillar is not as strong as you desire or you are looking to switch gears in life, consider going back to school. It is never too late to earn new credentials or certifications, even online. If you feel like you have lost your compass when it comes to your career, take a survey or personality test that will help determine what profession best suits you.

For example, donating time or resources to a cause you care about may lead to discovering a gift for fundraising or communicating with people. From there, the opportunity for a career change might grow. If you are currently an administrative assistant but aspire to move into management, try shadowing your boss to learn how they became a leader.

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Once you define your career goals, you will feel more clarity and balance in pursuing your aspirations.

2. Allow Money to Work for You

Becoming a millionaire does not have to be a goal, but money is an important pillar in life. It pays for the essentials and allows us to achieve milestones, such as buying our first home, saving for retirement, or taking a dream trip.

Money also helps us provide for our kids, pets, and ourselves in whatever way we desire. Consider what your financial needs are for you to feel comfortable in life. How much money you need or what you do with it is up for interpretation. You might want to live a frugal lifestyle and only spend on necessities, or maybe you spend money the minute you get it. Either way, there is value in respecting money because you will find good things come your way when you are deliberate with your funds.

If you stash away five dollars into a piggy bank every month, one day you will be thankful when your savings amounts to hundreds or thousands of dollars. You could also look into the retirement plans available at your place of employment. See if they have incentives that make you want to save more, which will give you peace of mind for the future.

Some people work an extra job on the weekends because they enjoy having added spending money for fancy dinners or they are saving up to start their own business. If you are a parent, consider teaching your kids the significance of money, which encourages them to work harder to earn things they desire. Money not only allows us to achieve our goals, but it also motivates us to be proactive.

When you define what your money pillar looks like, you have an anchor to hold on to that keeps your financial life balanced. You will discover that when you value money, it will grow and work for you.

3. Discover Variations of Love

We all have that desire to nurture and bond with someone or something. Loving and being loved by family, a significant other, a friend, or a four-legged buddy is a warm feeling that we all appreciate.

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Love comes in many forms, and you can decide what kind you want to work on or pursue. The type of love you desire might be unconditional, passionate, camaraderie, or nurturing.

When you think of the unconditional love in your life, ponder what characteristics make up these relationships. If you have ever gotten into a heated argument with a family member one night then greeted them in the morning as if nothing happened, you are familiar with unconditional devotion. It involves being forgiving, taking the high road, and realizing that you would rather see the other person happy than be right.

Passionate love could be allowing yourself to cultivate activities you are zealous about. Perhaps you have a passion for cooking, and making dinner for friends and family is your way of expressing this kind of love.

Camaraderie involves an exchange that is enriching and builds each other up. Simply asking a friend how they are doing can build companionship.

Finally, there is nurturing, which is focused on growing and caring. To nurture and be nurtured improves our lives and makes the journey richer. You can nurture a child, pet, friendship, or an organization that is meaningful to you.

The qualities you value in relationships and the type of affection you want to give and receive is completely up to you. Relationship goals can be achieved in many ways, like signing up for a dating app. While you may be skeptical, being vulnerable and putting yourself out there may lead to finding the love of your life. You might reach out to old friends and discover the chapter you thought was over is actually wide open again.

Setting up a weekly lunch date with your mom is another important way to show love. Our parents are not here forever, and taking the time to get to know details about their life is priceless. Even spending more time with your pet can fill you with warmth. Pets look at us like we are celebrities, and all they want is a tummy scratch, treat, and to play, so show them as much affection as possible.

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When you invest time in people and love, you will feel more confident and connected in life.

4. Tap Into Your Purpose by Leaving Your Mark

Another key to achieving balance in life is having a purpose or a sense of intention. Having a sense of purpose is key to establishing sturdy pillars of life. This does not just mean attaining a specific career or financial goal—it can be having an idea of the type of mark you want to leave on the world.

This aspect of purpose comes in micro and macro levels. On a small scale, you might find that your purpose is to treat people with kindness or be a team player. On a larger level, your purpose could be living out your ideal vocation, whether it means being a teacher, parent, writer, or entrepreneur. You may vow to do one selfless act every day or strive to be the first person in the family to own their own business.

Considering how you want your friends and family to remember you is a vital aspect of what purpose means. Maybe you want to be known as someone who always has a smile on their face or as the go-to person people count on. If so, this means your life purpose is bringing cheer to people and being a giving friend.

The beauty of having a purpose is that it can shift. The goal you are focusing on now might be completely different from your goal in five years. Perhaps your current purpose is getting your dream job and buying your parents a new home. Later in life, your purpose might be volunteering once retired.

No matter what, when you have the motivation to get out of bed every day, it is easier to feel stable and maintain a clear direction in life.

5. Find Your Enthusiasm

Life can become mundane if we do not have activities or hobbies that spark enthusiasm within us. Try picturing a vintage car versus a new, shiny one. Some people love the charm and history of the old one, while others appreciate the high-tech aspects of the new one.

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Both of these people have an enthusiasm for life, just different perspectives. So, now is the time to figure out what excites your spirit. Enthusiasm is an important pillar of life.

Are you someone who cherishes memories and creates detailed scrapbooks for your family? Or are you a cheerleader for people and work to help others achieve their dreams? By journaling and discovering what others admire about you, you begin to see what is possible and define the direction and story of your life.

While not everything we experience is exciting, it is invigorating to feel a sense of personal growth. Even arriving at a place where you no longer feel it necessary to live up to someone else’s standards is a big leap.

As you mature, you experience the wear and tear of life, but throughout it all, you can focus your enthusiasm on different activities and hobbies. When you are going through a difficult time or feeling uneasy, putting energy into spirituality or passions will make you feel more calm and centered.

Final Thoughts

The pillars of life allow us to achieve balance by giving us anchors to grasp when the waves of life rock the boat. These pillars can be continually developed and strengthened. A table won’t function properly when one leg is three feet tall while the others are six. The goal is to create sturdy pillars and a solid foundation.

Also, pillars evolve as our circumstances do. You can value the vibrancy of new pillars while respecting the older ones. Keep in mind that you are on a unique journey, so your pillars might look different than your best friend’s.

Remember that we are all supporting each other. As you strive to construct your pillars, learn from people who have built theirs. It may take a lifetime to perfect your pillars, but the act of creating a path you desire will give you newfound clarity and confidence.

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More Tips to Improve Your Pillars of Life

Featured photo credit: Patrick Schneider via unsplash.com

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Nancy Solari

Nancy Solari is an accomplished CEO, life coach, and motivational speaker.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2021

Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Exist (And How to Stay Sane)

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Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Exist (And How to Stay Sane)

If you’ve ever felt like work-life balance isn’t really possible, you may be right.

Actually, I think work-life balance doesn’t exist. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a rising star in the corporate world, work is always going to overflow from your 9 to 5 into your personal life. And if you have ambitions of becoming successful in just about any capacity, you’re going to have to make sacrifices.

Which is why, instead of striving for the unrealistic goal of “work-life balance,” I use a combination of rituals, tools, and coping mechanisms that allows me to thrive on a day-to-day basis.

Of course, moments still arise when I may feel overloaded with work and a bit out of balance, but with these daily rituals in place, I am able to feel grounded instead of feeling like I’m losing my mind.

Here are five daily practices I use to stay focused and balanced despite a jam-packed work schedule:

1. Pause (Frequently!) to Remember That You Chose This Path

Regardless of which path you take in life, it’s important to remind yourself that you are the one who chose the path you’re on.

For example, one of the joys of being an entrepreneur is that you experience a significant amount of freedom. Unfortunately, in moments of stress, it’s easy to forget that choice goes both ways: you chose to go your own way, and you chose the obstacles that come with that journey.

Remember: tomorrow, you could choose to leave your job, shut down your company, and go move to a farm in the middle of nowhere. The choice is yours.

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Whenever I catch myself thinking, “Why am I doing this?” I simply remember, “Oh, wait. I chose this.” And if I want to, I can choose another option. But at this moment, I own it because I chose it.

That simple mental shift can help me move from feeling out of control to in control. It’s empowering.

2. Use ‘Rocks’ to Prioritize Your Tasks

Sometimes having a to-do list is more overwhelming than it is helpful.

The daily tasks of anyone in a high-stakes, high-responsibility role are never-ending. Literally. No matter how many items you check off your list, each day adds just as many new ones, and even after a full day it can often feel like you haven’t accomplished anything.

So instead, I use “rocks”—a strategy I learned from performance coach Bill Nelson.

Say you have a glass container and a variety of rocks, divided into groups of large, mid-sized, and small rocks, and then some sand. If you put the small rocks in first, you’re not going to be able to fit everything in your container. But if you put the big rocks in first, then the mid-sized, and, finally, the small, they’ll all fit. And at the end, the sand fills the extra space.

The point of this strategy is to designate a handful of your biggest priorities for the week—let’s say five tasks—as the things you absolutely have to get done that week. Write them down somewhere.

Then, even if you accomplish nothing else but those five things, you’re going to feel better, since you completed the important tasks. You’ve made progress!

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Identifying your “rocks” is a better way of tracking progress and ensuring that you focus on the most critical things. You can create rocks on a weekly or even daily basis.

Some days, when I’m feeling the most frenzied, I say to myself, “You know what? Let’s boil it down. If I accomplish nothing else today and I just do these three things, it will be a good day.”

3. The PEW12 Method

Of all the daily practices I follow, Purge Emotional Writing (PEW12), which I learned from Dr. Habib Sadeghi, is my favorite.[1]

Here’s how it works:

Pick a topic, set a timer for 12 minutes, and just write.

You may be dealing with a specific issue you need to vent about, or you may be free-writing as emotions surface. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing or what your handwriting looks like, because you’re never going to re-read it.

At the end, burn the pages.

As the paper burns, you will feel all of those emotions you’ve just poured out either being reduced or dissipating completely. Both the writing process—which is literally unloading all of your unnecessary stuff—and the burning of the pages feel incredibly cathartic.

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And you can do PEW12 as frequently or infrequently as you feel you need it—once, twice, or multiple times a day.  

The reason I find this exercise so helpful is because, sometimes, I get in my head about a difficult issue or troubling interaction with someone, even when I know there is nothing to be done about it.

But as soon as I do my PEW12, I feel a sense of relief. I have more clarity. And I stop circling and circling the issue in my head. It makes things feel resolved. Just try it.

4. Set Sacred Time (Like a 20-Minute Walk or Evening Bath)

Outside of work, you have to try to protect some time for restoration and quiet. I call this sacred time.

For example, every single night I take a bath. This is a chance to literally wash off the day and any of the energy from the people, interactions, or experiences that I don’t want to take to bed with me.

I actually remodeled a bathroom in my house solely for this purpose. The bath ritual—which includes Himalayan bath salts, essential oils, and a five-minute meditation—is the ultimate “me time” and allows me to go to bed feeling peaceful and relaxed.

And while sacred time to end the day is crucial, I like to start the day with these types of practices, too.

In the mornings, I take my dog Bernard for a walk—and I use those 20 minutes to set my intention for the day. I don’t take my phone with me. I don’t think about the endless to-do list. I just enjoy listening to the birds and breathing in the sunshine, while Bernard stops to say hi to the neighbors and their dogs.

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These might seem like ordinary daily activities, but it’s the commitment to doing them day after day that makes all the difference.

5. Forgive Yourself When You Fail to Use the Tools

Sometimes our intention to follow “daily” practices falls flat. When this happens to me, I try not to beat myself up about it. After all, these things are tools to make me feel good. If they just become another chore, what is the point?

At the end of the day, my daily practices don’t belong in my jar of rocks or on my to-do list or in my daily planner. They are there to serve me.

If, for some reason, life happens and I can’t do my practices, I won’t feel as good. It’s possible I won’t sleep as well that night, or I’ll feel a little guilty that I didn’t walk Bernard.

But that’s okay. It’s also a good practice to acknowledge my limits and let go of the need to do everything all the time.

The Bottom Line

For most people, accepting that work-life balance simply isn’t possible is the first step to feeling more grounded and in control of your life.

Don’t waste your energy trying to achieve something that doesn’t exist. Instead, focus on how you’re feeling when things are out of balance and find a way to address those feelings.

You’ll have a toolkit for feeling better when life feels crazy, and, on the off chance things feel calm and happy, your rituals will make you feel absolutely amazing!

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Featured photo credit: Dries De Schepper via unsplash.com

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