by Claire Ransom, Founder of Lazy Flora
Vix invited me to write a guest post for The Practical Balance, and I was so excited to do it! I love writing, I love entrepreneurship, and I love feeling that what I’ve learnt can somehow be shared with someone else.
I was honoured last year to be part of the trials that Vix ran for her personalised balance plan, and it naturally got me focused on balance in my life, and what this means to me. Even long after the exercise with Vix was over, I’ve more carefully and more regularly considered how I feel about ‘balance’ in my life, what exactly that means, and how I can achieve it.
Before I go much further, I feel like I need to stop and mention resilience, and how I link this with balance, and why I feel this is particularly important for me.
I have never been very good at being resilient. Or to put that another way: I have always been very good at being sensitive and empathetic towards others. I take other people’s words very seriously and thoroughly analyse their literal meaning, as well as what might be hidden under the surface.
As a result, in work appraisals, the word ‘resilience’ was something that my various line managers would inevitably mention at some point. I found my lack of resilience really frustrating, because I’ve always been ambitious, and I felt like my inability to be resilient never quite matched up to the level of my ambition. I wondered for years if it would hold me back. For a while, it did.
Given this history, I knew that starting my own business would be the ultimate test of my resilience, because the harsh and often daunting reality is that, even if you love something as much as I love Lazy Flora:
Not everybody is going to love what you do. In fact most people won’t care.
Bad shit is going to happen, no matter how well you plan.
You are going to make mistakes.
For a sensitive person, these situations can be hard to deal with. As an entrepreneur, if you allow these things to get to you, it can pull your whole business off course.
However, the good news is that resilience is something that can be learned. If I can do it, I’m confident you can too. The biggest helper I found in building up resilience was discovering something I cared so deeply about that I would do whatever I could to make it a success, even if that meant hearing some hard truths from other people.
Over time, I have learnt that my resilience is strongest when I am calmest, when I am well exercised (physically tired), when I spend time around friends and family, when I create time to have fun and relax, when there are plenty of other things going on in my life outside of work, but also when I have had plenty of time alone to recharge. My resilience is at its lowest when I’m working too hard with too few fun distractions, when I skip my workouts, and don’t proactively make time for fun and friends, or when I find myself constantly distracted and unable to build in that precious alone time and focus.
So sometimes, having balance and resilience means pulling back and switching off at exactly the moment I feel that I should be pushing ahead. It can be counter-intuitive, but it becomes easier to recognize over time.
So for me, the motivation to find that ‘balance’ is the innate link with resilience, and my ability to develop and nurture that resilient aspect of my character.
Of course, being able to find balance doesn’t mean I’m in a constant state of zen. It means that I embrace the very busy and high-pressure times, but that I am better able to control how long I am in that state, and what I need to do to get out of it. It means having the confidence to take a day off if I need it, and knowing that, in the long run, that impacts me, and therefore my business, in the best kind of way.