Finding the BALANCE of LIFE
Finding the balance of life can be quite difficult.
If you ever feel burned out and overwhelmed you know exactly what I mean.
In this podcast, Travis shares the six sectors of living, providing insights and tips on how to roll through life in a more joyful and balanced way.
Hope you enjoy this inspiring episode!
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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of “The BE ULTIMATE Podcast.” Please note that this is direct from Travis speaking unscripted and unedited.]
Hey guys and welcome to Episode 29 and the BE ULTIMATE podcast.
We’re going to be talking about finding the balance of life, and this is a challenging one that I think a lot of us can relate to. We have a lot of things happening in our life or juggling a lot of balls, all at one time.
Some people believe that you can achieve work-life balance, and other people think that that’s a total myth. And we’ll explore a little bit about that, but I want to dive into, first, the six sectors of life. For me, this is how I just look at all the different dimensions of daily living.
So the first sector of life really relates to our career, and we want to ultimately find a career that we’re happy about. Right? Because we spend a lot of time in our job, going to work, in this career, and if we’re doing something that we don’t enjoy, then that’s going to affect us, and it’s going to affect these other sectors of life.
Now, again, I know a lot of you are listening, and you’re saying, “Well, Travis, how am I supposed to pay the bills?” and I’ve spoken to many students, and this question comes up all the time. Somebody who’s working at a bank or they’re working at a financial institute, and it’s not that they really get a lot of joy out of their career, but it’s a good job, and it pays well, and it allows them to buy a home, to travel the world. So all those are really, really positive things, so when I say to find a career that you’re joyful about, you have to take all that into account. It’s not just a black and a white thing.
But nowadays, there’s so much potential to really do what we love, and I’m living proof of this. I wasn’t super successful in the beginning. It took many years, but I loved all things yoga and meditation, and now yoga meditation and spirituality even– and it’s a big industry. There is a lot of potential.
It’s funny because I was at the grocery store last week, and I was standing in line with my son, and there’s a guy in another aisle looks over, and he shouts out at me. He says, “Hey, where are you working?” and I was a little taken aback because one, I didn’t recognize this guy. Two, I didn’t know if he was mistaking me for somebody else. And three, I don’t work [laughter]. I don’t really feel like I go to work. I don’t put on a suit and go to the office. I teach yoga and meditation, and even though it’s demanding, and it’s a lot, it’s not like it feels like I go to work. And I was like, “What do you mean, go to work? Where am I working?” and he says, “Where are you teaching?” And as soon as he said that, I knew that he wasn’t mistaking me for somebody else, and I told him where I was teaching, that my old studio had closed down, and that now I was at this new studio. But it was just kind of funny because I haven’t been asked that question in a really long time.
So we want to be in this career path that challenges us in a good way, that grows us, and ultimately, does it help other people? I love doing these podcasts, and right now, to be honest with you guys, I’m paying for this podcast. I have expenses that go with hiring my main man, Jason Reim to upload the videos to put it out on Apple Podcast, to create the blog and all that. I’m actually losing money, but I don’t really care because I feel a calling to do this because I want to help other people, and I’m fortunate where other areas of my life, I have income coming in, where that supports me. So it feels good to just be of service, and ultimately the more we give to others, the more that’s going to fill up our energetic cup. The spirit of generosity is really reciprocal.
Now, once you’re on your path, you want to think about what ways do you want to grow within your career, and I think this is really important because progress equals happiness. Progress equals happiness. And then, how do we progress?
Well, the only way we progress is by challenging ourselves, so we don’t ever want to be in a job or a career where we’re not being challenged anymore because then we’re not growing, and if we’re not growing, we’re not making progress. And if we’re not making progress, then we’re not going to be happy. We’re not going to be fired up. We’re just going to be trudging our way through our life and through the day.
Within our career, we want to have goals, and we want to think every day, every week, every month, every year, “How am I leveling up my career? How am I challenging myself? How am I igniting that growth?” And when we do that and we have that mentality, then we feel alive every day. We don’t know if maybe the challenge that we face– maybe we fail. Maybe we flounder. Maybe we make mistakes. But just like we would tell a small child, this is the process of growth, and when we fall, we learn from that. When we make mistakes, we learn from that. When we fail, we learn from that.
That’s the important thing.
So on some level, there is no failure. There is no falling when we’re learning from that. And it’s okay, within our career, to get to do that, and to be in an environment, hopefully, where we can do that. So that’s the first sector, is your career.
The second sector is your finances, your financial situation. Now, I know for myself certain periods in my life, when my finances have been off, when I’ve been in debt, when I’ve owed a lot of money. Taxes, bills, medical bills, stuff for the kids, the family, just piling up. Saving up for college– and when your finances are not functioning properly, you are in a state of stress. And unfortunately, in the world and our country, it seems like the middle class is dwindling more. More and more people are slipping into financial stress. And when you’re financially stressed, these other sectors of your life are also going to suffer. That’s why it’s really important to take a step back and to be aware of all these six dimensions of our life because if one is failing, then they’re all going to be failing. And we want to energetically do what we can to make sure that we’re firing on all cylinders.
So if you’re in debt, you have to work your way to get out of debt. I’ve been there before. The first couple of years of my career as a yoga teacher, I had lived off credit cards. A little ashamed to say that, but I did. I was racking up credit card debt, and it wasn’t pretty. And I hustled more and more. I started to make more money as a yoga instructor, and I would go to Bank of America, and I would bring cash because I was getting paid in cash through donation yoga, and I would throw down as much money as I could to just pay off that debt, pay off that debt. And it took probably two years, but every time I went and paid off that debt, I just felt better. I felt lighter. I felt a psychic weight being lifted off, and that day, when I finally paid it off, I was so happy. I think I called my mom, and I was like, “I paid off this credit card!!!” That felt so good.
Now, Tony Robbins has a great book called, I believe, MONEY Master the Game, and I highly recommend that you guys read this book. It will cover all things financial. And in this book, he not only addresses the importance of getting out of debt, but he also talks about hiring a fiduciary adviser. This is somebody that can help you financially plan, manage your wealth, build your wealth, and do it in a way that’s moral because there’s a lot of financial people out there that are incentivized to sell you stuff that probably isn’t in your best interest. So it’s very important that you find a fiduciary adviser.
Also, never live beyond your means. This is tough. Especially those of you that live here, in the United States, you know we’re always going and spending more money than we have. We go get a nicer car than we can afford. We go buy a nicer home than we can afford. We are always living beyond our means. And I remember, early on in my career, a mentor told me– he said, “Travis, whatever you do, never live beyond your means. I made this mistake.” And because of that, he is kind of trapped in this situation where he has to travel a lot, and work a lot, and work to sustain his living.
So it was something that I really took to heart, and that’s why I still live in an apartment right now. My wife and I, we don’t own a home. Owning a home in Los Angeles is a lot of money. One day, we’ll get there. It’s at the top of our list, but we’re not going to do it until the time is right.
Now, you want to make sure, as well – and you see this in all the financial books – to pay yourself 10% before you pay anybody or anything else. And as you’ll learn in that Tony Robbins book, MONEY Master the Game, the 10% is going into an account that’s basically for your retirement. So later on in your future, you want to make sure that you have plenty of money. So your fiduciary adviser will help you set up this account that has compounded interest, and a lot of times this involves index stock funds, and without getting into the nitty-gritty of that, basically, these will yield you, on average, 8% interest per year, which is much better than anything else that you’re going to do. And if you go into high-risk stocks, and there’s a high risk that you’ll lose that money, whereas this is a safe bet.
You’re taking 10% of your income, and you’re pumping that into this account that’s creating compounded interest, and that’s how you’re building your wealth. Our daughter’s 14 years old, and I’m already teaching her about this. We’re going to set up an account. She’s already going to start putting money into that account, so she learns about the power of interest. She’s going to do more than 10%. She’s going to do like 40 or 50. So if you’re able to put more into that, the more the better. And eventually, you get to this place where you’re financially free, and you can really go do the things that you want to do.
Last year, we had an opportunity to go teach our students in the prison and the state of Maine. We live on the West Coast. They’re on the East Coast. And usually we’ll link that trip to going and teaching at a studio, but our gig at the studio, it fell through. But we still went, and we, on our own dime, went and spent time, two days, with teaching in the prison. It was all our own money. I will say that they paid for our lodging when we got there, but we paid for our airfare. We had to stay in Portland, Maine one night, and we had to rent a car. All those things, we paid, but we were happy to pay for it because we had the money. And no, we’re not swimming in money, but we’re becoming more and more financially free. And this frees you up to really put your energy towards things that are important to you and things that matter, like charity and being of service and all those other things.
There’s another great book that I’d like to recommend on this topic called The Soul of Money. It talks a lot about how money is just a tool, and when we bring soul to this tool, it can really be an energy that helps to uplift and help a lot of other people. And I think about the Melinda and the Bill Gates Foundation and then just how much of their money that they donated to their foundation and the kind of impact that they’re able to have because they built wealth. And this is why I put out to our students, and I put out to you, don’t ever be shy about making money, even if you’re a spiritual person.
There’s nothing wrong with abundance, spirituality of joy, of health, and of money because ultimately, then you can take that, like Melinda and Bill Gates, and you can really help a lot of people out.
The number three sector of life is our relationships, and our relationships is where the gold of life is. And sometimes, certain stages of our life, we could care less about our relationships. We care more about money and career and our finances. But I know for myself, when I had my near-death, near-drowning experience in Kauai and I thought I was going to die, I didn’t think about my money. I didn’t think about my finances. I didn’t think about anything material. It was the last thing on my mind, in my heart. The only thing that I thought about was all the people that I loved in my life and all the people that had loved me. I thought about my relationships, and that’s not exclusive to just me.
There’s been millions and millions of people that have had near-death experiences that have reported this same exact thing. Relationships are the greatest spiritual practice.
How many times have you been with your intimate beloved or your child or a parent or a close family member, and stuff comes up, right? Because they reflect back to us our own stuff, so our relationships are the perfect place to practice feeding those benevolent qualities within us, so that then we can take that out of our close inner circle and into the world.
So when we have challenges, and we have arguments, and we have fights, we learn from that. We learn from that if we’re aware of that. So our relationships are our greatest spiritual practice, and relationships can be not just your family, but also your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors, your community members, people that maybe you encounter, as well, on social media. And just thinking about, “Hey, this is a very important sector of my life, is my relationships–” and if I’m just focused on my career or my finances, and one day I finally become a millionaire– but then I became wealthy, and I’m able to buy all this stuff, but I don’t have anybody to share it with, so none of it matters.
This whole talk is really about growing within your life in a way that is balanced and that there is a way. There is a path where you can have it all.
Now, what we’ll talk about a little bit later, is that sometimes you got to allocate more energy towards one thing at certain times of your life, certain phases of your career, but you still can have it all, and that you never want to get to a place where you’re so imbalanced, for a long period of time, longer than a couple of weeks, where you’re just putting all your energy into one thing because then, everything else is going to suffer.
The fourth sector of life is about your health. Now, look, if your health goes down the drain, everything else goes down the drain. If you’re not healthy, everything else suffers. This is why we say your health is your greatest wealth.
Some people, they put all their priorities into amassing a lot of money, and they drive a fancy sports car, and their body is out of shape, and they’re probably struggling with chronic disease, and they’re not looking after themselves, and they’ve gotten their priorities wrong. We got to invest our energy into our health. We want our energy to be so strong, it lifts up all the other sectors of life.
So when you’re thinking about your health, in addition to eating good quality food and drinking good quality beverage, you want to think about how are you exercising because you can exercise four hours a day, and that’s imbalance. That could do more harm, so you can always have too much of a good thing. You want to do it in a balanced way that’s sustainable for the long term.
In fact, when they look at the people in the blue zones – these are the people that are living over 100 years, typically, and this is places like Costa Rica, Loma Linda, California, Greece, Italy, Japan – one of the big things is that they’re moving their body, but they’re not doing it in an extreme way. They’re not running marathons. They’re not doing CrossFit four hours a day. They’re hiking up mountains, playing soccer. They’re moving their body. They’re weeding in the garden.
Now, what I propose to you, when you’re thinking about your health regimen, is that you incorporate the four pillars of fitness in some way.
The four pillars of fitness are strength, balance, flexibility, and stamina.
Strength, balance, flexibility, and stamina. For example, if you’re a runner– and I love to run. If I’m just running, that’s great for my stamina. It’s horrible for my flexibility. It’s good for my lower body strength, but it’s not good for upper body strength. It’s not good for abdominal strength, and it’s not really that great for balance. There’s a little bit of balance, but not the type of balance I’m talking about.
So you’re really predominantly focusing just on one of the four pillars of fitness. This is why it’s important to cross-train. This is why I like to box. This is why, every now and then, I like to do a kettlebell workout.
But hands down, the best form of exercise on the planet is yoga because it incorporates strength, balance, flexibility, and cardio.
Now, there’s a lot of different types of yoga out there, and obviously, if you go to a gentle yoga class or Yin yoga class or restorative class or beginners’ class, no, there’s not going to be cardio, or there’s not going to be strength. It’s more going to be flexibility and balance and really good for your nervous system.
When we’re looking at this through the framework of a yoga class, what I’m talking about is a power yoga class. And this is what’s great about power yoga, and this is why I teach power yoga because it has all four pillars. So make sure that you’re hitting all those four pillars, so that your health is as strong as it can be and so that you can manage stress. If you’re not able to manage stress properly, then, again, all these other factors of your life are going to diminish and suffer.
Number five is spirituality, and what this really alludes to is that we need to have time within our day, within our life, where we are connecting to that force that’s bigger than our own limited self. And this can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For some of you, it may mean going to church. Others of you, it may mean going to temple. Some of you, it may mean going out into nature. Some of you, it may mean meditating at home.
It can mean whatever you want it to be, but the point is that we have to move beyond ourselves. We have to move beyond this cage of what we call the ego. Dr. Wayne Dyer used to say ego stands for edging God out. So we move beyond our ego. We move beyond how we feel limited and separated and disconnected from this beautiful, magnificent world and universe that we are a part of. And when we connect back into that, we are inspired.
And by the way, inspired means to be in spirit, and that’s why I love when I hear from you guys, when I hear that you’re inspired from these podcasts because I’m thinking, in the back of my head, “All right. This person’s inspired,” but also, “They’re in spirit,” and if they’re in spirit, they’re moving through life. They’re moving through their job and their finances and their relationships and their health, and they are switched on.
It’s the opposite of being dead and dry and cynical and jaded and negative. That’s no way to live. So to be able to connect to the divine– and in the yoga literature they call this– it’s Ishvara Pranidhana. It’s one of the niyamas, one of the lifestyle qualities that we really want to live with. Every day, how am I connecting to the divine, to my higher power?
6) Personal Development
And then, the last, sixth sector, is personal development. Personal development’s very important. It comes back to challenging yourself, having progress in your life, and it’s an important part of this BE ULTIMATE podcast.
In fact, all of these six sectors are topics that, typically, I try and address on a regular basis.
What do you want to learn? Maybe it’s learning a new language. Maybe it’s learning a new instrument. Maybe you want to learn a new art technique. Maybe you want to learn how to cook [laughter]. I’m laughing because that’s probably something I could benefit from.
I hate the idea of cooking, but there’s also a part of me that would, through the growth mindset, I probably would love it and learn a lot from it, and I did, on my last meditation retreat. They had me, every morning, not cooking, but cutting the veggies, and I learned to love it. I really, really did.
So what is your soul, what is your heart saying to you? “Hey. Let’s explore this. Let’s do this,” and you’ve just been making excuses. You’ve been like, “I don’t have the time,” “Well, how am I going to get this in?” “I don’t know where to go,” and these are just excuses, and I bet if you signed up for that art class or that foreign language class or you went online – now you can go online and learn this stuff – even if it’s 20 or 30 minutes a day, and you start doing this, I bet it will wake you up in a more joyful, powerful way.
You can also go to seminars or do a training. Do a yoga teacher training or a mindfulness teacher training. There’s so many great trainings.
This is a very important factor within my life. I’m always investing time, energy, and money into becoming a better teacher because then, I know when I learn this stuff and I acquire this information, I can pass it on to you guys. I can pass it on to my podcast listeners. I can pass it on to my students, and that makes me feel good, so I want to keep learning.
I’m always seeking opportunities to develop personally, and as I mentioned a little bit earlier, I just started boxing again. And just this morning, I was boxing, and my trainer was calling out these combinations, and it was hard, and it was messy, and it was ugly. And by the end of it, I’m just flailing my hands and my arms, and it wasn’t pretty, but that’s okay.
This is how we learn. This is how we grow. And I leave that session, and I’m walking out of there at 9 AM in the morning after doing an hour workout, and I just feel so alive. It’s so good. And then that translates and to everything else that I do.
So those are the six sectors: career, financials, relationships, health, spirituality, and personal development. And you can look at these six sectors like the six spokes of a wheel, and if any one of those spokes is broken, then the whole wheel is going to be broken, and you’re going to have a bumpy ride.
But when all six sectors are intact, and you have those spokes, then the wheel is functioning properly, and now you’re rolling through your life with more joy, more balance, and more sustainability.
Look, you can put all your energy into your career and your finances, and 10, 20 years from now, you’ll achieve all your goals in those sectors, but I bet you, you’re not going to be healthy. You’re not going to have a lot of loved ones around you. You’re not going to feel spiritually charged, and you didn’t really personally develop because you just focused on one thing.
Then, you are going to be looking back, and you’re going to be like, “Man, I did this all wrong.” And I don’t want you to make that mistake. I want you to think about the long run, not the short-term, but in the long run, so that when you do get to the top of the mountain, when you do achieve those goals, you have the career of your dreams. You are financially free. Your body is healthy, fit, and strong. You’re spiritually alive. You’ve been learning new things along the way. You’ve been working that growth mindset, and that’s the ticket!
Now, last thing I just want to put out there, people talk about the work-life balance, and they say it’s completely a myth. And my reply to that is, because what they’re thinking about is balancing out hours. Instead of thinking about balancing out the quantity of hours, I propose to you to think about the quality of energy that you’re putting into something.
Let me give you an example. If you have a job, chances are you’re working at your job 8, 9 hours a day. Right? That’s a lot of hours. So of course, you’re going to be at your job more than you are working on your health.
If you’re going to the gym for an hour, then yeah, you’re disproportionate with how much you’re spending in your job, and then how much you’re spending working out. And then, say you’re meditating for 20 minutes, and that’s your spirituality sector. Is that balanced on a quantity-of-hour level? No. Not at all.
But instead of looking at it through that paradigm, look at it through the lens of putting quality energetic time into each one. So when you do meditate for 20 minutes, that’s great, and when you meditate, you meditate. All your energy is going into that. When you go to the gym, go to the gym, and just focus on that. Just focus on that. And then, when you put quality energetic time into each one of those six sectors, then you’re going to have that balance that I’m talking about.
One last tip is, try, if you need to, to mix some of these.
For example, I’ll meditate with my son, Bodhi. So when I’m meditating with my son, I’m feeding my relationship, and I’m also working on spirituality.
Or sometimes, I’ll go on a hike with my wife, Lauren, and I’m working on my relationship, and I’m also working on my health.
Or Lauren and I will travel somewhere, and we’ll go do a training together, so we’re working on personal development at the same time that we’re feeding our relationship. And this is a great way to knock out two birds with one stone. Or if you’re a vegetarian, feed two birds with one hand.
All right you guys. That’s it for the six sectors of life and how to find balance in your life.
Let’s finish now with the Be Ultimate prayer.
“May we bring strength where there is weakness.
May we bring courage where there is fear.
May we bring compassion where there is suffering.
And may we bring light where there is darkness.
May we be ultimate!”