You and I are busy people. Our lives have many facets, with work, home, family, friends, colleagues, partners and children. And over the years, no doubt, commitments have crept in, almost unnoticed, to the point where, whether you know it or not, there are probably already multiple versions of you.
Think for a moment about how many versions of you there are. There’s the personal you with family and friends, the professional you with colleagues and bosses, the you in a relationship, the you as a parent, as well as just you being you. Each version of you has to meet differing demands and expectations, each version of you dialled up or down as you and your life evolve.
Managing the tensions between these various versions of ‘you’ is something you’ve probably had to learn and, if you’re being totally honest, probably still learning, as new demands and challenges arise. The answer isn’t to become universally excellent at all of them, but to understand clearly which one requires the most attention at any given point. Remember, there are many versions of you but only one physical you.
Unfortunately, far too many people struggle to manage the tensions, giving all their energy to one version at the expense or loss of another. Think about your multiple versions of you. Are any in tension? Are you getting the most out of each one? Do any need to change because you’ve entered a new stage in your life and you haven’t pressed the reset button yet? Are you spending enough time on the balcony of your life or too much time on the dance floor?
Visit a nightclub and you’ve got a couple of choices about where to spend your time: on the dance floor amid the energy and the chaos, or upstairs on the balcony, out of the fray, where you have the opportunity to stand back for a moment, observe and study it all with a much broader perspective.
The dance floor of life with its fast-paced jobs, demanding home lives, and ‘always on’ digital culture, is like a packed, heaving nightclub. It’s easy to get caught up in the music. But a large part of your success lies in your ability to step off the dance floor, walk to the balcony and reflect on the following questions:
- Am I on the right dance floor?
- Am I dancing to the right music?
- Am I creating my own music or constantly dancing to someone else’s?
- Am I the DJ or just a listener?
- Am I in the place I want to be?
- Am I living the life that I was meant to lead?
Spending time on the balcony of your life gives you the self- awareness to make conscious choices about how you want to shape your life, the areas you want to focus on, the value you can add and what you are prepared to do and not do. You will discover the music you are prepared to dance to and the tunes you are not. The balcony is the place where you develop the invaluable knack of dispassionately monitoring your own mental, emotional and physical state, and in doing so set yourself up for success, so that you can be the best version of you, every day.
Royston Guest is a leading authority on growing businesses and unlocking people potential. Entrepreneur and author of #1 best-seller Built to Grow and new book, RISE: Start living the life you meant to lead, published by John Murray Learning, out January 10th 2019.