The Art of Strengths Coaching

E is for Equilibrium, Enjoyment And Extreme Experiences

There are many ways to live life. One approach is to balance equilibrium, enjoyment and extreme experiences.

Many people enjoy having a sense of equilibrium. They like to do the familiar things in life that enable them to return to a steady state. This helps them to relax and rejuvenate themselves.

Different people do this in different ways. They may sleep, spend time with their loved ones, follow familiar habits or do other activities. Doing these things gives them a sense of order and control in their lives.

Many people love to do the things they enjoy. They may love to exercise, cook, walk the dog, paint, nurture their garden or do other pleasurable activities. They enjoy doing things that give them positive energy. This gives them the strength to tackle other challenges in life.

Many people enjoy pursuing their version of extreme activities. These can vary, depending on the person. One person’s extreme experience can be another person’s regular way of life.

Some people may do adrenaline driven activities – such as marathons, mountain climbing or zip wire rides. Some may immerse themselves in deep emotional or creative experiences. They then enjoy a sense of flow, focus and fulfilment.

Let’s explore the ways in which people focus on equilibrium, enjoyment and extreme experiences. You will, of course, take these steps in your own way.

Equilibrium

People like to feel in control. One way they do this is by trying to achieve a state of equilibrium. This is particularly the case after experiencing a shock.

A person may begin to heal themselves by spending time in their version of a sanctuary. They may sleep, listen to music, spend time with loved ones or do other things that help them to regain a steady state.

After regaining their strength they may move out of their sanctuary and start shaping their future. This calls for focusing on what they can control rather than worrying about what they can’t control.

A person may set an achievable specific goal, move into action and get a success. This may give them the confidence to tackle other challenges and continue to shape their future.

People enjoy having a feeling of equilibrium in their daily lives. They often achieve this by following regular patterns. They may get up at the same time, follow similar rituals and do familiar things during the day.

They like to have a feeling of predictability. This provides them with the platform for dealing with the challenges and the unpredictable events they meet in life.

Peak performers often channel their version of OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Discipline rather than Disorder. They follow certain daily rituals that become automatic and which they don’t have to think about. This releases their decision-making capacity to tackle other issues.

A person may also follow certain rituals to achieve equilibrium before tackling challenges. They may do deep breathing to calm themselves. Sometimes they may also mentally rehearse what they are going to do. They then feel more able to do their best in a particular situation.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things you do to get a feeling of equilibrium in your life. 

Describe the specific benefits of doing these things.

 

Enjoyment 

What are the things you enjoy doing? What are the things that give you positive energy – even when you think about them? What is the kind of work you find satisfying? How can you do more of these things?

During the past fifty years I have worked with many dedicated people who started out by doing work they loved. They often combined both playfulness and seriousness when embarking on a particular path.

They were passionate about the work they were doing. It felt almost like playing, but not in a frivolous way. It involved throwing themselves into an activity they loved, being creative and applying their talents to achieve a goal.

Such people felt fully alive when pursuing this activity, even though it meant doing grunt work as well as great work. They then translated their playfulness – or their passion – into professionalism and peak performance.

Some people maintain this approach throughout their careers. They keep finding stimulating challenges, doing satisfying work and achieving their picture of success.

Some people forget their playfulness, however, and start seeing work as a grind. They numb themselves to feeling down and keep delivering ever increasing targets in their work.

Different people choose different ways to deal with this challenge. One approach is for them to go back to doing the things they enjoy in their personal and professional life.

One person began this process by drawing their calendar for the next month. They then started filling out the weeks by first putting in the things that would give them positive energy.

This included blocking out time for the family, exercising, spending time with stimulating customers and doing creative projects. They then added the other tasks they needed to do.

They began building their schedule this way around and, paradoxically, found it made them more effective in their work. Previously they had tried to squeeze the enjoyable activities into any free spaces they had left over during the week.

Let’s return to your own life and work. You may enjoy being with your loved ones, playing music, gardening, visiting art galleries or learning about certain topics. You may enjoy encouraging people, doing creative projects, working with certain kinds of customers, building successful prototypes or doing other activities.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things that you enjoy doing.

Describe the specific benefits of doing these things.

Extreme Experiences 

People love to feel alive. Some enjoy their versions of extreme activities. These can vary, depending on the individual. One person’s extreme experience can be another person’s regular way of life.

Some people love to absorb themselves in emotional experiences. They may enjoy sharing adventures with people, seeing other cultures or visiting places where they experience a sense of wonder.

Some people love to throw themselves in doing creative projects. They love the daily ritual of immersing themselves in writing, gardening or other activities. They may then enjoy a sense of flow, focus and fulfilment.

Some people love to do adrenaline driven activities. They may enjoy climbing, being on stage, performing to large audiences or competing in triathlons. They love to do stimulating activities in which they can stretch themselves. This often brings a sense of achievement.

People love to learn, develop and make sense of life. Sometimes this means going through the process of absorption, adventure and achievement.

Many people like extreme experiences, but too many challenges at once can overload their system. Individuals sometimes need time to reflect, re-centre and refocus. They may then be ready to embark on their next adventure.

There are many ways to live life. One approach is to balance equilibrium, enjoyment and extreme experiences. Different people balance these feelings in different ways.

Let’s return to your own life and work. What are your versions of extreme experiences? You may enjoy these feelings when being creative, tackling specific challenges or exploring new ideas. You can feel alive when parachute jumping, deep sea diving, skiing or doing other activities.

If you wish, try tackling the final exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things you do to get your version of extreme experiences in life. 

Describe the specific benefits of doing these things.

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