Ditch the Balance and Choose Harmony

A professor my sophomore year of college shattered the concept of balance with a four word phrase:

It’s harmony, not balance.

Now let’s back up a little bit.

I was taking a class that I hated. A lot. I wasn’t learning anything and was frustrated. But we were forced to interview someone that is a minority. I chose my sports management professor who was a woman in a male dominated field.

I came into her office with a list of questions and was not hating this assignment. I took my time with the questions because she was in a place in life I saw myself someday. Mom. Wife. Career Woman. Coach. Researcher (okay not that so much). I wanted to learn from her, but was not expecting my life to shift into a new mindset.

I asked her questions about her career, education and family. But then I asked a pretty typical question and received a not so typical response:

“How do you balance being a mom and wife while having a successful career in sports?”

And that is when she said, “It’s harmony, not balance.”

I asked her to go on & she explained the difference.

Balance is like a scale.  On one side you have your family, husband, etc. and the other is your career. If it is balance, in order to give to one, you have to give to the other. It becomes this game of give and take with one of the parties feeling like they are better or worse than the other party.  If you have to work late, you have to miss a kid’s soccer game. If you go out to dinner with your kids, you have to miss a work event.

But if you shift your mindset and tone to harmony, there is no longer the tension. You create an environment that ensures everyone understands that you have priorities, multiple priorities.  Your kids understand that your research is on a deadline, and your work knows that your kids are priority. There’s no taking away from anyone.  There is no giving to anyone. It is a meld of people who try to understand that there are other people who want your attention.

Every time of life that comes my way, I remember this mantra, I repeat this mantra. To both myself and those around me. I will slip into the ease of focusing on one major priority, but then I remember that harmony encourages multiple aspects of life coming together. There cannot be harmony with just one subject. Harmony comes from things working and coming together little by little.