I had the privilege of knowing Dr. Christine Carter, the author of The Sweet Spot and Raising Happiness, during our teenage years. This means that I not only get to read her books and recognize the fact that she is still the same loud-laughing, full-of-life character she was in high school, but I also read her works as soon as they are published.
I bought The Sweet Spot as a loyal fan, not because I thought I needed what the subtitle offered: “How to find your groove at home and work.” I coach people on work/life balance all the time, and I keep a rigid sleep schedule for myself and my kids to make sure we don’t get run down. I even ignore all calls and emails after 8:00 pm, so yeah, I’m good with the balance thing…
I might add that when I started reading The Sweet Spot I was sick in bed, newly diagnosed with Lyme disease. I had a tick bite 6 years ago, went through the standard course of antibiotics, and hadn’t thought much about it since then. But one day this winter, everything changed. I was so fatigued I had to start “budgeting” my finite store of energy by determining whether certain tasks were worth it: getting out of bed, holding the phone up to my ear, or pushing the buttons to dial the phone, (yes, we still have a landline, and yes, all my activities revolved around the phone. I may have been Lyming around but I was still an extrovert!) It turns out Lyme will hide out in your body until you get run down, and I had just completed an intense season of very exciting opportunities and appearances when my energy store just ran out. Seasoned Lyme patients will tell you that relapses seem to happen most frequently when your life gets – well let’s just say – out of balance.
As I read The Sweet Spot, I got the sense my buddy was writing it for me. And I realized that I still had a lot to learn about balance. Carter’s book was born out of her own realization of imbalance as she was laying in a hospital bed after 18 months of repeated illnesses. But clearly, she and I aren’t the only ones. At some level, aren’t we all struggling to figure out how to deliver all that the world expects from us on any given day?
If you have ever entertained fantasies of either being admitted to a hospital or booked into jail because of the possibility of being served three square meals and some hours away from all the demands of your every day life (ahem, I’ve had friends who have felt this way once or twice … a year) , then let me gently welcome you into the tribe of those still trying to find the Sweet Spot.
And, Heaven knows, your finances are NOT helping. If anything, those important financial tasks that never get done — because there are more urgent items on your to-do list — are hurling themselves upon the growing guilt-inducing pile of unfinished business. You are left feeling inadequate, and wondering if Calvin and Hobbes were right.
Dr. Carter presents compelling research indicating that our society’s busyness is the antidote to our effectiveness. She points out “The Chinese symbol for busy is composed ot two characters: heart and killing. In other words, busyness is devastating to our soul.”
It’s easy to SAY that, of course, but how do we structure our lives and our finances to be able to get everything done without hurting our souls? Stay tuned. For the next few weeks, I will post a series on Finding Your Financial Sweet Spot as I apply Carter’s teachings to the money side of life. The Sweet Spot is a terrific resource for those struggling to find that midpoint of work/life balance while increasing your overall sense of peace.
Looking for more peace in your life? Apply for a complimentary financial coaching session!
Looking to feel better about yourself, and maybe a laugh? Click here to read Maybe We Need a Stupid Fund