When “Equilibrium” Means “No”


One of the greatest forces we have for equilibrium is the power of our own choices.

I was reminded of this last month as I sat wringing my hands in Galway, Ireland, making a choice of my own. It was New Year’s Day, I was midway through a wonderful vacation with my family – and I was supposed to be working.

My December hadn’t gone the way I thought it would. I’d been planning to have that whole month at home, not traveling, to work on a long list of things I wanted finished by the end of 2014. Among them was a January blog post for this website, GirlAuthentic. I like to send these posts to my creative team by the beginning of each month so we can workshop things a little. So December was my window.

Well, that didn’t happen. Instead of being at home working, I found myself traveling every week of December – right up until Christmas. Two days after that I left for a 2-week vacation in Ireland and the U.K. with my kids. That’s how I got to Galway. Behind on my work. With friendly e-mail check-ins and reminders coming from my team. Where was the January post? Would it be ready soon?

You know that “ugh” feeling? I had that feeling.

And I had a choice to make. I could take time away from my kids to write a blog draft – which I chose not to do. I could get a little less sleep one vacation night and write the draft at the end of one of our long days together – which I chose not to do, either. Or I could choose to not work, to just be present with my family, even if it meant waiting until February to get the year started for the GirlAuthentic blog.

That’s the choice I made. For me, that choice was equilibrium (although it didn’t completely relieve that “ugh” feeling).

At the top of this page you can see the tagline for GirlAuthentic – “Equilibrium at Work.” It’s a brilliant phrase suggested by a brilliant woman who helped me put a lot of the look and feel of GirlAuthentic together (thanks Jessica!). Over the last year and a half I’ve found this play-on-words can mean a lot of different things to different people.

Is “Equilibrium at Work” about equal numbers of women and men in the workplace? Is it about a feeling of balance or equilibrium for your team – or for you personally? Is it about what happens after we achieve this equilibrium, when it begins to truly work for us?

Last month, for me, “Equilibrium at Work” meant one word: No. It meant I had a choice, and I could use that choice to feel more balanced in my own life. You can, too.

As someone else reminded me last year, it helps to look at the big picture. This person pointed out that true progress, considering all GirlAuthentic represents, is measured best in terms of decades. I had always had that thought in the back of my mind, but also sort of felt like I wasn’t living up to delivering on expectations (I’m not sure whose!) if I didn’t make things move faster.

It was such a relief in a way to give myself permission to approach this effort in terms of decades, not just months. Skipping one month of the blog, in the course of a couple of decades, wasn’t going to be the end of the world. But it would increase equilibrium in my own life.

And now – back to work.


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