Work Life Balance: TRUST YOUR GUT?
According to neuroscientists, and validated by articles such as Think Twice: How the Gut’s Second Brain Influences Mood and Well-Being, published in Scientific American, our gut has millions of neurons, the same specialized cells that are found in our brain.
Connectivity between the gut and the brain makes sense anatomically; however, scientists are still unraveling the mysteries of how this ‘second brain’ may influence our day-to-day life.
Have you ever committed to something only to feel sick to your stomach?
Have you ever had a conversation that turned in a direction that caused you to feel anxious or unsure?
This happens to all of us, and what I teach my students is – especially if you are working toward greater work life balance – to trust your gut.
If you are trying to decide on whether to do something or not, visualize yourself doing and see how it makes you feel.
I once committed to do a speaking event for about two thousand people. After doing my initial questions, it became clear that, yes, this event would help to get me closer to my goals.
It made sense to our team as well, and we did all of the usual things that we do to prepare – booking travel, planning the talk, social media promotion and arranging my schedule to accommodate my absence.
Although it was business as usual, every time I thought of the event I felt a little uneasy. I remained committed because that was my word.
As the event approached, I started waking up during the night. Generally, I am a great sleeper, so this was cause for concern. Merely planning my talk or preparing the slides made me uneasy.
Having done several events for audiences of 10,000 plus, I was very familiar with healthy anticipation versus anxiety, and there was nothing healthy about this feeling.
The day before I was scheduled to leave I woke up feeling ill. I was nauseous; I felt as though I was going to vomit. Every time I thought about the event, I got sicker and sicker.
Chris came into my office and said, “Why don’t you cancel?” The thought of going against my word felt slightly crippling; however, the thought of not doing the event immediately – and I want to emphasize that word ‘immediately’ – caused me to feel lighter.
I knew what I had to do.
Generally, your “gut” will help steer you toward the work life balance you seek and the best path or course of action for you.
The moment I canceled that speaking engagement, I felt better, and other things in my life started to fall into place. In the end, everything was for the better.
The day before I canceled we received an email letting us know that our son would be acknowledged at the sports banquet at his new school.
This was no small event because prior to that year, our son, who is on the Asperger’s spectrum, never played team sports, was bullied in school and generally had great apprehension when it came to social activities.
At his new school, he had played on the flag football, basketball and soccer teams all in one year. By not going to the speaking event, I would be able to attend his awards banquet.
Susan Sly is a best selling author, work life balance expert, speaker and entrepreneur. She has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime Television and the CBN. Susan is the mother of five children and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.