There’s a big theme common among most of the entrepreneurs and business owners who’ve graced the Brilliant Thoughts’ podcast: the importance of finding your rhythm. Although ritual, repetition and sustained practice are all undeniably important, author Touré Roberts says that balance is even more essential.
“It takes a certain rhythm and flow to get the type of breakthroughs you want in any area of your life, and that’s wonderful,” explains Roberts in a recent conversation with Brilliant Thoughts’ host Tristan Ahumada. “The only thing is, sometimes when you get locked into a rhythm you miss the scenery, and it’s the scenery that ultimately undergirds your life, which feeds you energy and gives you everything that you need.”
If you’ve been living on autopilot, feeling unbalanced or struggling to connect with those most important to you, it’s time to read Roberts’ latest book, Balance. A refreshing take on entrepreneurship, Balance reminds us that no endeavor, business or relationship is as successful as it could be until we love ourselves.
Every person has two different bests.
Each person has two bests: one based on where they are currently at and one based on when they are balanced. To illustrate this concept, Roberts explains how when he was about halfway through writing Balance, he sent the manuscript to his agent. To his surprise and disappointment, she said it wasn’t his best work, to which he was initially defensive.
“But she was right,” Roberts admits to Ahumada. “She had seen me when I was at the top of my game, when I was aligned, when I was in my flow, and so she was right—that wasn’t my best now, it was the best based on where I was.”
To manifest his best, Roberts knew he needed to reset, to stop and rest. This was a painful insight at first, because we live in a culture that says stopping means you’re not being productive. However, the reality is that if you stop and give yourself what you actually need, you’ll be even more productive.
Balance isn’t an action—it’s a place.
Most people believe that balance is a discipline, but Roberts doesn’t agree. To him, it’s a state of being, a place where his thoughts, body and spirit are rejuvenated. It’s also a place of abundance from which everything you touch will thrive.
“I like to put it this way: You can do all things well, but you just can’t do all things well at the same time,” he says. “If you’re in this state of balance, then you will be sensitive enough to know what to pour into and when to pour into it.”
Entrepreneurs typically worry about whether they’ll be able to get something started, not whether they’ll be able to stop it once it’s going. This can present a huge challenge to finding and maintaining balance.
“I’ve discovered that what is more difficult, oftentimes, than getting off the ground is actually stopping and slowing down,” says Roberts. “It takes faith, you have to believe that you can stop and your world will not come crashing down, particularly if you’re stopping for the right reasons, like family and marriage.”
But how do you develop that kind of guiding faith? It starts with getting to know yourself.
Identify your deep-seeded needs and desires.
Soul awareness is self-awareness that is taken a step further. Rather than the awareness of our actions, it is understanding our deepest needs and desires. Roberts believes that if you don’t know what your soul desires, you’re going to try to satisfy your spirit’s longings with surface-level things, which never works. To learn what you truly want, you need to silence the noise.
“Life is so noisy, and the problem is that noisy has become normal,” says Roberts. “And stillness feels weird.”
When silence and stillness are uncomfortable, many people rush to fill their free time with distraction, whether in the form of technology, work, social activities or pathological busyness. However, settling into that calm, quiet place is exactly how you start getting to know the full, authentic you.
Don’t let the noise of night tell you who you are.
Noise isn’t always external. Sometimes the loudest noise comes from within, in the form of unwanted negative self-talk. Roberts says that one of the most harmful lies our inner voice tells us is that we’re not enough. For people prone to anxiety and worry, these thoughts are generally more prevalent at night.
“None of us can keep a negative, self-defeating thought from coming our way,” says Roberts. “But we can take control over the thoughts that we allow to stay, to remain.”
In other words, you may not be able to stop negative self-talk from popping up in your mind as you try to relax, but you can choose not to ruminate on certain thoughts. For Roberts, one of the most effective ways to counteract harmful thought patterns is by feeding his self-acceptance with affirming “I am” statements.
“I don’t go to sleep at night without affirming myself into a place of gratitude, into a place of self value, giving myself a head start on the onslaught of negative thoughts that may attempt to come at night,” he explains. “You have to make a habit of telling yourself who you are before the noise of night does it for you.”
Understand that being alone is a blessing, not a curse.
The word “alone” is derived from the Middle English words “all oon,” meaning “all one.” Although there’s nothing inherently negative in this meaning, we tend to pity people who we see sitting by themselves and feel compelled to invite them into the larger group. Roberts thinks our distaste for alone time poses some distinct challenges.
“There are certain things that can only happen for you and in you when you are alone,” says Roberts. “I believe it starts with perspective, and the other thing is curiosity… being curious about you, believing that there is something uniquely, inherently beautiful in you, and that it has to do with what you like and what you enjoy, your passion and your thoughts.”
When we look at ourselves with wonder and fascination, we start to understand who we really are, becoming our true, full selves. We accept that we’re more than our current situation and start to believe life has better things in store for us.
“I believe that when you become all of yourself, you’re better positioned to give yourself to a new career, to a new entrepreneurial pursuit or to a new individual, but you have to know who you are,” says Roberts. “Be comfortable with who you are and become all of who you are: all oon, all one.”
Learn more about Roberts, where to buy his books and how to attend upcoming speaking events when you visit The Balance Book website.