The world is a crazy place. Reliable is uncertain, known is questionable, and the clear path is obscured. I find myself struggling for things that used to come naturally, reviewing my basic beliefs and reconsidering my options. In nearly every role I play lately, I’ve been asking questions and finding that they are unanswerable at present. I find this extremely frustrating. And at the same time, I know that I have to work through it all.
This past summer, I spent some vacation time on Madeline Island. It’s one of my favorite places; a place to disconnect with the world. I normally go with family, but circumstances provided me with the opportunity to be there on my own for a few days. It gave me a chance to try some new things and, more importantly, a time to reflect on some weighty issues. While there, I grabbed a drink at Tom’s Burned Down Cafe, where I saw a sign that got me to thinking. “Seek Balance, Not Stability”, it said.
Stability: The state of being stable – not likely to change or fail; firmly established.
Stability was always a goal for me. Stability allowed me to know what was most likely to occur next. Stability meant that I always had enough resources, and that I had few real concerns. I always knew I could count on myself, that I could remain afloat despite any turbulence that I encountered. I strove for stability in my beliefs, my feelings and my actions. I had a stable life in many respects. It was also insular. Too many external influences can topple you, if all you know is how to be stable.
Stability as a way of life, I learned, is a constant state. It is not dynamic. It doesn’t adjust. It does not play well with reality.
Balance: Keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall.
Deciding that stability didn’t work, I started to focus more on balance. Balance would allow me to handle anything that life threw at me. I started to take on new roles, new ideas, new opportunities. As long as I continued to balance the priorities, I would be doing great. Balance allowed me to sample anything that came my way. All was great, and then things happened that caused me to stumble. Stuff I never really considered or planned for. Things I knew were true turned out not to be. People I trusted were no longer who I thought they were. Promises made were broken.
Had I been living a “stable” life, I would have been knocked on my ass. I assumed that, since I had balance, I would right myself. Not so much. It was then that it hit me.
In order to balance, I need stability. You can’t build a house of cards on a table with two legs. Stability without balance is potentially attractive, but it’s boring. Balance without stability is temporary and scary.
So now I’m in a much better place. I’ve reestablished my balance built on my core beliefs, my values, and the support of a handful of people who I know are there for me no matter what happens. And on this platform, I am able to balance myself. I’m taking on new challenges and looking to learn new things because I know I’m balancing on a solid foundation. I may lose my balance again, and I know that I won’t fall because I’m stable underneath. I’m ready to handle what comes next, even if I’m not entirely sure what that might be.
Find your stability, balance yourself, and you’ll have a world of opportunity ahead of you.