Several years ago when I was working nearly 70 hours a week for another company, my husband would gently remind me about the Four Squares of Life detailed in the classic self help book “I Dare You!” by Ralston Purina Founder William Danforth. The theory is that life can be viewed as a square with four equal components. To be healthy and happy, equal emphasis must be given to balancing the physical, mental, social and spiritual aspects of life.
I was devoted to my work with great passion and love for what I was doing, so I didn’t pay too much attention to my husband’s continuing admonishments that my square was tipping out of balance. However, I began to ignore “little” signs: increasingly frequent physical ailments, occasional bouts of severe stress and exhaustion and constant guilt about missing family and social events due to work (which co-existed with worry that when I took time for events or a rare vacation, I was falling behind at work).
I never harbored guilt about not ever taking quality time for ME – for self-care or recreation. I had too much to do and felt that too many people counted on me. I kept telling myself, “Once (this work objective) or (that work objective) is achieved, I’ll relax a bit and not work so hard.” But, that time never came.
However, life has a way of correcting what is out of balance. And so it was with my situation and me. And so it will be for each of us who continues to quietly ignore the Four Squares of Life. Some of us may manifest a major illness, some may experience a career “explosion” or crisis that seems to come out of nowhere, some may have a major relationship blow up and some may develop an emotional or spiritual breakdown. Many of us may not reach these extremes, but may still understand that something must change.
Experiencing, realizing and acknowledging this imbalance is the first step in your journey to correct it! Then, you must be willing to really SEE the truth of your situation and have the courage to shift and transform yourself and your life. We all have the capacity to allow ourselves the joy of self-correction.
Yes, I said, “Joy of self-correction!” This may sound surprising, but a life-balance shift usually involves allowing ourselves to have more fun! Ask yourself: what would give me joy? Long walks in the woods? Taking up painting or music or another long-ago abandoned hobby? Spending time with family and friends? Planning a trip I’ve been putting off for years? Climbing a mountain? Cooking healthy meals? Spending a sunny afternoon with a good book in the park under a tree? Making space for a spiritual practice or volunteer work?
Countless experts maintain that work productivity actually increases when we allow for a healthy balance of work and play. And when you commit to giving equal attention to the Four Squares of Life, you model this healthy behavior for your family and friends, thereby allowing them to creatively balance their lives as well. And so on, and so on…. a win-win-win!
If you’re reading this and wishing there was some relief to your endless to-do list, take a breath. Make a list of priorities, and mark items off one step at a time. Delegation can also help immensely; if your list entails any marketing, advertising, communications or design work, our team at Mopdog would love to help. We offer a number of services that can position your company in the exact lighting you’re looking for, while hopefully relieving you of some of your to-do list.