Is “Balance” Bogus?

It is time we talked about BALANCE. I’m SO excited about this one, y’all. Lucy Liora Wang is a wife, dog-mommy, and an ex-accountant turned newborn photographer located in Burbank, California. I had the opportunity to connect with Lucy a few months back via a mutual Facebook group. I knew right away that Lucy was passionate about life, Jesus, and her work. So, I asked her to guest blog about that very subject. In this guest post, Lucy tells us how she balances her business, faith, and relationships. Here it goes:

Lucy Wang

To Amanda’s loyal readers, I have a confession to make. I may be the very least qualified person to talk about balance. In fact, I’ve never felt like a bigger fraud than at this moment, sitting in this Starbucks in Burbank, sun-filled, and next to two producers who are passionately debating about how to train up the next generation of efficient film-makers (whatever that means). Anyway, I digress.

But see, not really. The two men next to me clearly know what they’re talking about. They’re trained (both USC graduates), experienced (talked a ton about projects they worked on, God’s Not Dead), and they’ve developed a deep conviction about what the industry currently lacks and of which it desperately needs (exaggerated gesturing, periodically raised voices, and completely oblivious to all those around them who are obviously eavesdropping, ie: me). I, on the other hand, went to NYU for accountancy, changed careers just two years ago, and am daily treading water in my budding newborn photography business.

Balance? HA!

But see, again. I do have something to say on the topic of balancing your business, faith, and relationships because in my adult life and certainly in the last 2 years, I’ve learned that accomplishing such a skillset, nay, taking steps to accomplishing such a skillset is essential to “success” (whatever that word means to you). It is crucial to progress towards balance in order to establish sanity and dare I say it… happiness.

I’m by no means a master.

In fact, I called myself a fraud. I don’t know how to avoid extremes. There, I said it. Ecclesiastes 7:18 always challenged me and so did Matt 6. I always operated on 100% capacity, not avoiding extremes, mostly because I always worried about tomorrow and therefore would run myself to the ground preparing for it; preparing against it. I’m the biggest plan B if there ever was one.

Having recognized my short comings very early in life, I’ve spent considerable time, energy, therapy, meditation, meditation, charting, journaling, prayer, prayer, and lots of extra prayer to become just a hair better in achieving more balance in my life. So far, I’ve identified 3 main points that could provide helpful to you as well. Does it sound like a sermon yet?

1. Put God first.

This means different things to different people but as a woman of faith this is what it means to me. After the elaborate process of waking up, I have a quiet time with God. This time is for me to read my Bible which sets up an entire mindset and “heart” set to approach my day plus all that I encounter in my business and relationships. This time is for me to pray to God during which I praise Him, thank Him, but also lay out all my anxieties and fears before Him. I tell him my deepest desires and all of my heart’s longing in both business and in life. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I complain, sometimes I complain then apologize, but most importantly… I’m always real. This time is NOT a checkbox and this time is NOT for anyone else;  except for God and me.

And then the magic of Philippians 4:7 happens. A peace rolls through me that prepares me for all the nonsense and setbacks and discouragement and unfairness and persecution and hurt (that comes from running a business and having relationships). I’m grateful for them but boy can they be real jerks sometimes.

2. Have a reasonable plan and stick to it.

Here’s a list form to further elaborate:

  1. Manage your calendar (on your phone/computer/paper planner) by yourself then prove it by showing it to a spouse or trusted friend. What you think you can take on is probably a gross overestimation. Listen when a loved one tells you to take off half the things you tasked yourself in a given day/week/month.
  2. Just say no. Saying “yes” too many times in a day inevitably means that you will have to say “no” to others. As a Christian woman, I can often attach unsubstantiated religious guilt to turning down projects/people/requests that I simply don’t have the time/space/energy/mental capacity to address at any given time. This is when it helps to study circumstances when Jesus said no! It’s both shocking and comforting to dissect when and why Jesus said no and to whom he said it. In order to accomplish his ultimate plan, he denied both himself and others.
  3. Reasonable planning includes planned rest day and/or rest activities. I can develop tremendous tunnel vision when I’m working. My husband often comments on how I become singularly minded when something catches my attention and time. Often, I find myself looking away from PhotoShop only to discover that it’s well past 4am. Personally, if it’s not in the calendar, it doesn’t happen and I’ve been more mindful to pencil in a whole day of rest (where I secretly spend  43% of that day doing work) or planned activities of froyo or boba outings with girlfriends and husband (where I’m forced to disconnect). I always return refreshed, recharged, and more productive than ever.

3. Embrace the unbalanced.

It’s really okay. You’re okay. I’m okay. We are and will be okay. Things might feel hectic for now and now might be the last 6 years but you are awesome and hard working and conscientious (you’re reading this blog aren’t you?) and that is enough. You are enough. No one is balanced and certainly not balanced all the time. That’s why there are a myriad of scriptures instructing us, reminding us to work away from the extreme.

Balance is altogether a subjective word. Someone might find my balance underachieving while another considers my day to be an eternal whirlwind. In an ever growing world of faux-transparency as portrayed by social media posts, we can feel more out of balance when comparing our lives and schedules to someone we wrongfully labeled as together/successful/balanced/zen.

Women are not zen. We are tiny, beautiful, fierce, fabulous volcanoes. We store tremendous potential energy which, when called upon, delivers the most impactful kinetic energy. We are delicate forces to be reckoned with.

We are doing just fine. You are doing just fine. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and anxious but go to God (the faith) and go to people (the relationship), then… and only thenwill  your workpiece (the business) will fall into place.  It takes hard work, grit, grace, patience, and an unending pursuit of knowledge along with a tenacity towards practice.

Bonus: Waste less time on social media.

There, I said it! My Achilles heel include but not limited to Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. For argument’s sake, let’s pick on Facebook for a minute. Lately, I’ve been catching myself refreshing Facebook incessantly throughout the day. Once the page refreshes, I begin a never-ending scroll exercise until I’m at last caught up with every unrelated news bit on my wall. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I use FB for business purposes and sometimes even because a particular relationship calls for it.

But if I were really honest… I need Facebook time pales in comparison to the amount of time I’m aimlessly wasting. If you’re like me then you can relate. I suggest you get accountable NOW. Set a timer 3 times a day (arbitrary number). Allow yourself 5-7 minutes of FB time then when the bell rings, close it out and stop yourself from logging on before the next scheduled social media time comes around. Na’mean?

I leave you, at last, with tremendous gratitude.

Thank you for listening to this fraud. Even if you just skimmed through, thank you. Thank you for being you, for being individually kind and determined. Thank you for contributing to this very exclusive club of women entrepreneurs. I hope our paths cross again, in one way or another. Until then, keep on keep’n on!

Yours,

Lucy from sunny Los Angeles but a true New Yorker at heart

 

Lucy WangMeet Lucy Liora Wang!

I’m Lucy, wife to a wonderfully big hearted, patient, generous, and hilarious electrical engineer, expectant doggy-mommy to our first baby, a Cavalier King Charles, an East-Coast transplant and New Yorker at heart, self-proclaimed iron chef, SYSK binge-listener, and crazy plant lady. You will most likely find me in the kitchen cooking for those I love. Otherwise, I might be tending to our indoor jungle, researching dog-training videos on Youtube, browsing the aisles at Trader Joe’s, or entertaining on my living room couch. I think the best way to get to know someone is at the dinner table, over a home-cooked meal or takeout, with glasses of red wine or a chilled bottle of sake – makes no difference!

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