Living in balance, is it something to aspire to or is it total BS?
Hello my lovelies and welcome to the Moving Toward Better podcast. I am your host, Karen Bemmes, and my mission is to help people who want to upgrade their life feel better in their own skin and create a life that they love based on their unique and amazing personality. If you’re new here, be sure to check out the Moving Toward Better website to check out all of the ways you can do exactly that including our first live event in September that I’ll talk about a little later in the show. The focus of this Season 2 of the MTB podcast is truly creating a life that works for you without guilt, which is why we’re talking about living in balance and whether it’s totally BS today. It’s a constant challenge for me and almost everyone else I know, and I think it’s incredibly important to talk about it
For those who are new to the podcast, when I talk about issues like this, I use the DISC behavior model to discuss different personalities and how each personality type handles life. Those personality types include the Driven, Inspired, Supportive and Cautious personalities, also known as D I S and C. I use those terms interchangeably, and this is where we usually dive into the individual personalities, but today I want to talk about balance a bit before we get more specific.
Here’s the thing about balance…Most people think balance means that everything is equal, and for most people, living a life like that is BS, especially if you have a life partner, children, a job or business to run. I used to watch the gurus that talked about finding balance in your life, and one day it dawned on me; they were all either single, childless or sometimes both, or they had a life partner to take care of all the things I was taking care of like laundry, cleaning my house and feeding my people every day. They had no idea what my life looked like. At first, it made me really angry because it felt like I would never have balance or success in my life even though I wanted that so bad.
It took years to figure it out, but I did. For people like me, balance wasn't about everything being on an even keel, it was much more about me feeling calm, grounded and content with whatever my life looked liked and knowing that I wouldn’t always feel calm and grounded, and while that may sound discouraging, I’m going to tell you how to be there most of the time and find the blessing when you or your life feels out of balance. I know that sounds impossible, but when you understand this concept, the way you look at everything changes. Ready to find out the secrets of balance? It’s one of the most powerful things I’ve ever learned, so let’s see what “in balance” looks like for each personality. For perspective, I am a white Midwest female and speak from that perspective. I understand that your perspective may be different, and the challenges and solutions I discuss may look very different for you.
As always we are going to start with a D or driven personality. Driven women are straightforward and know what they want out of life, and sometimes that includes stirring the pot. Balance looks very different for this personality type because they like a little conflict and confrontation now and then. Because they really don’t care about what most people think of them, creating some controversy is easy for them. They might even cause a bit of chaos in their primary relationship because that gives them a dopamine hit that delights them. It works well if they have a partner that understands that chaos is not personal or who likes the chaos too. It merely makes life more exciting. That really is part of the balance cycle for the Driven personality.
For those who don’t have that Driven personality, that may sound shocking, but the D personality loves a challenge, and boredom is one of the worst feelings in their life. Routine is not something they naturally embrace. Instead, they are constantly looking for the next best thing, and sometimes that means adding a bit of chaos to their life.
If you’re married to a Driven personality, knowing this can save your marriage. If you enjoy the chaos, engage and, trust me, the making up phase can be as exciting as the confrontation. If you detest chaos and confrontation, you need to have a conversation because the D personality’s pot stirring and blow ups can damage your relationship beyond repair when the D personality is merely trying to have some fun. I know that sounds weird to other personality types, but when you understand the D personality’s needs, you can help them find other ways to engage in the chaos without damaging any relationships. I’ll share some ways to figure out how to do that later in the show, so stay tuned.
Balance for the “I” personality, looks much different. Laughter and fun are essential to the Inspired Personality and if they don’t find it where they are, they will look somewhere else for it. They have limited patience for misery and boredom, and when they reach their limit, they move on or get very resentful. Then it’s not a happy existence for anyone.
In balance, it doesn’t take constant fun and laughter, just enough to get through the day. If you’ve been around for a while, you know I’m an I/SD personality, so this fun and laughter is near and dear to my heart, and for me fun can be as simple as turning on some fun music (Disney or 80’s anyone?). I even listen to music when I’m working on my scripts for my podcasts because the music helps me to focus on the work in front of me and block out things that could distract me. My husband cannot understand how I can listen to lyrics and still be able to think, but it works for me. I also love comedy, and the people I love are varied and something my family shakes their head over, but it works for me, so that often means I put on some headphones or earbuds to get myself back in a happy place.
The way to keep an I personality in balance is to know what fun means to them. Let them indulge in that, and they will find their balance internally. Externally, they need help with organization and routines. Participate in helping them get the “boring” stuff accomplished, and they can even make that fun, so you can both find more balance.
For the S personality, balance requires downtime. As I said, I am an I/SD, and my I and S scores are very high and very close. I used to say that if I could get one day at home to reset myself and my home in order, I was good to go. For my husband, who is a doubly reserved S/C, a weekend is barely enough time for him to wind down from one week and prepare himself for the next. The problem for the S personality is that they are so supportive, they will let themselves get so far out of balance that they can put themselves in danger before they speak up. If they don't feel well, they will push off seeing a doctor until they are ridiculously ill, which means a simple cold can literally become pneumonia before they do something about it. The same can happen with their home. They get so busy taking care of everyone, they neglect everything and the house can actually become dangerous to live in. I’ve seen it happen. They’re also decision challenged, so they may know something needs to be fixed, but they may not be sure whether to do minimal maintenance or a complete overhaul. I know that sounds dismal, but it doesn’t have to be.
While the S personality is more reserved, they are people oriented, and they appreciate help more than any other personality type, so if you know and love an S personality…help them. How? Encourage and nudge without pushing because this sweet, supportive personality is the most stubborn when they’re pushed too far. They resist change, even when they know it’s going to help them. That sounds counterintuitive to some people, but that’s just the way the S personality is wired. When you can lead them to the decision in their own timing, everything always goes better.
As I said, my husband is an S/C. He’s a decade or so from traditional retirement, but we’re already talking about it because he does not like to be rushed into a decision. It took us 5 years to find the house we’re currently living in, and while this house does not fit our needs going forward, the idea of moving is overwhelming to both of us. Because I have more of the D personality, I’m the one driving this decision, but knowing how difficult it is for him, I know the longer we talk about it, the easier it will be for him to do when the time comes. For other personality types, that can be exhausting, especially when you both know the decision is for the best. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it as easy for the S personality as others. It’s a slow journey, but they can get there with lots of love and encouragement.
Finally, we have the Cautious or C personality, who thinks about and sometimes overthinks everything. In a work environment, balance comes when they know what the expectations are. They know the level of detail that their work requires, and they have a clear deadline they know they must meet. The same is true of home, but because the level of detail and deadlines tend to be more flexible, the C personality struggles not to do things, but with perfectionism.
Perfect is the Cautious personality’s favorite and least favorite word. The idea of perfection is something the C personality loves to think about, but it’s a concept they rarely, if ever, achieve, at least in their mind. Their work is impeccable, but it often comes at a high personal cost.
At one point in my life, I knew a woman who always looked perfect. Her hair was amazing, and I don’t think I ever saw her with a hair out of place. Her jewelry always matched her outfit. Seriously, she looked more put together in jeans and gym shoes than I looked when I was dressed for a wedding, and for a while, I truly envied how she looked so effortlessly chic. What I found out was that effortless look came at a huge cost. That woman took at least an hour and usually two to get ready for any event, even when she was wearing jeans. She often agonized over which jewelry, shoes and accessories to wear with even the simplest of outfits. When she told me that, I had a whole new understanding of the C personality and how they could be so “effortless” looking and yet so stressed at the same time.
One of the greatest gifts you can give the C personality is understanding how much perfectionism rules their life and showing them appreciation for their effort. They will always point out their imperfections, and while you can acknowledge those imperfections, help them to see beyond that. When I found out how much time my friend spent getting ready in the morning, I truly was impressed that she was that dedicated to looking good, but I was also empathetic about how controlling that could be for her. Part of her truly wanted to be like me, someone who could throw her hair up in a ponytail and toss on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and take off, but she would be uncomfortable all day if she did that.
Balance for her meant adequate time to create the look she wanted. Fortunately for her, her husband was very understanding of her perfectionistic tendencies and worked with her to create a home and life they both loved.
Remember when I said I would show you how to find the blessing in not being in balance? I used to think that when things were “off”, it was some kind of personal affront, especially when it messed up a perfectly good day. For example, when I recorded the first podcast for this season of Moving Toward Better, everything seemed to go really well until the next morning. That’s when I found out that the episode didn’t upload to Apple, Spotify or Google podcasts. I calmly checked out all the details but couldn’t find the problem, so I contacted my host, and they pretty much told me it was not them. I pressed, and we figured out that there was a problem, but the person on chat couldn’t fix the problem, so I got handed over to a tech expert. At first, I was so frustrated. For me, that usually means a trip to the pantry for some kind of salty, crunchy snack to quell my frustration, but I’ve gained back some weight I worked hard to lose, so I decided to go for a walk instead. It was a small choice, and it didn’t change my situation, but it did change how I felt, and sometimes that is the greatest triumph we have when looking for balance, when we find balance within ourselves. FYI, the “experts” never did figure out what the problem with my podcast was. I did, and the answer came to me in the shower. It was something so simple it probably didn’t occur to them, so I emailed them and asked them to add that as part of their SOP for that problem so no one has to go through that again.
Want a few ideas of what to do when you’re feeling out of balance? Here goes. Let me preface this by saying that you might think you don’t have time to do any of this, but if you’re out of balance, you’re not going to be at your best, so a few minutes to get yourself back into balance is key. Here are a quick 5 ways to get yourself back into balance for each personality
For the D personality, go for a walk or run. Grab a pillow and scream into it. Scream until you let off enough stream to take a deep breath, a really deep breath. Find a venting partner that you can absolutely unload on who can either challenge your anger. Send the kids to a friend or neighbor and rage clean with some heart pumping music to work out your aggression. Do some yard work. You might as well get something productive done while you work out your anger.
For the “I” personality, turn on some music. Can you say dance party? If you’ve got kids, include them. If not, dance like nobody's watching. Turn on your favorite comedian. You know laughter is the best medicine. Take a walk or a run where you can talk with a friend or listen to great music. Make a video about what you’re angry about and watch it when you’re finished. Put on your favorite outfit, do your hair and make plans to eat out at your favorite restaurant with whoever makes your heart happy.
For the S personality, take a breath, a deep one, and relax your shoulders. Turn on some calming music and sit still, even if it’s for a few minutes. Lock yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes if you have to. Read a book. Bake something for yourself, your family or someone you know needs a lift. Stand barefoot on grass, weather permitting to literally ground yourself. Trust me, it feels so good.
For the C personality, taking that breath is good for you too. Unclench your stomach and shake your body out. Start with your head and neck and work your way down to your feet but be gentle. Run the vacuum and make those perfect lines even if it’s only in a corner of a room no one uses so that you can think about the rest of the day and make yourself smile. Clean out a drawer. Yes, you’re the only personality that finds satisfaction in that task. Work a puzzle of some kind, jigsaw, crossword, Sudoku, or something else.
That’s just a few of the many things you can do to bring balance back to your life when you’re feeling “off”.
We often have little control over the circumstances of our life. That can make us angry, frustrated, flustered and afraid, and we never make our best decisions when we feel like that, so think about the options I offered, and take control of yourself, especially when you have no control over your circumstances. Then you’ve found that elusive balance we all search for, and before you know it, you will find more and more of it in your life too. Don’t believe me? Then I double dog dare you to check out the DISCover Better Weekend Retreat. It’s an in person event in September, and it’s going to be amazing. This is the first of what I hope will be many in person events to help you learn more about your unique personality and communication skills and learn to appreciate the amazing person you truly are. It’s a great time to recharge, reinvigorate and return to your life feeling amazing and better equipped to deal with everything in your world. To learn more about that check out the show notes or go to https://www.movingtowardbetter.com/2022-september-retreat .
To see all the ways you can learn more about your personality and how to live better because of it, check out https://www.movingtowardbetter.com and get started on the best life for you and those you love most.. Until next time, keep moving toward better using your unique and amazing personality. Love you all, and I’ll see you soon.
Links mentioned in this show:
Moving Toward Better Website
Intro and Outro music licensed from Melody Loops.