As I See It | Laura Hutyra | Director of Client Engagements

Balance SchmalanceShoot for Harmony Instead 

You know what has become an overrated and overused termBalance. Unless you’re referring to some athletic feat or physical activity, I think we’re all a little tired of hearing about how great balance is. 

…life balance 

…professional and personal life balance…  

…school and family balance 

 Can we all just admit that reaching this so-called equilibrium and perfect footing in life is nearly impossible? 


Despite it still feeling like the dog days of summer in Texas, kids are going back to school and businesses are picking back up. In a time that is typically transitional and a whirlwind for manyespecially for those of us in the nonprofit field who are preparing for a busy fundraising seasonit’s hard to not feel overwhelmedParents are worried about the health, well-being and quality of education for our children. There are also concerns about older family members, friends or patients under our care. Add in concerns about job stability, societal unrest and worthy fights for justice across the nation in the midst of a hyper-political season, and I think it’s safe to say that we’re all exhausted and perhaps unbalanced ...  

So, have a suggestion. Ditch the idea of balance. Replace it with a different concept altogether; one that I recently adopted myself: harmony. As much as I wish I could take credit for this novel conceptit was actually a professional acquaintance of mine who first introduced me. Take a look at the two definitions below and see the difference:  

Balance: A state in which different things occur in equal amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance.

Harmony: the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole; agreement or accord.

Stewart Friedman said it well: “Balance is a misguided metaphor because it conveys the idea that we have to give up the prospect of success in one part of our lives in order to have it in another part—one or the other. When we think this way, we’re likely to end up making more sacrifices than necessary.  If instead we pursue the prospect of harmony among the different parts of life—like the instruments in a jazz quartet trying to make good music—then the possibilities for well-being and high performance are much greater. 

A change of perspective

For me, harmony has become a much better endeavor in my life because my focus is on the peaceful wholeness of everything I must address on any given day. Rather than breaking up all of my responsibilities and interests, I can experience the whole of them. My personal life can, and in some cases, must be addressed during typical work hours, and vice versa. The same can be said for other priorities outside of our control at the moment, including school work and healthcare 

For me, ditching balance, and shooting for harmony has forced me to ignore the unrealistic goal of perfection and enjoy life happening all the time.  

Give it a try and see if harmony may be a better fit for you, too. 

About the Author

Laura Hutyra, CFRE, applies her deep knowledge of and extensive experience in fundraising in her role working closely with M. Gale consultants to oversee the work of all client engagements and deliverables. Her expertise in communications helps clients implement consistent and mission-focused messages throughout fundraising engagements. Prior to joining M. Gale Laura held development position with All Saints’ Episcopal School of Fort Worth, Hill School, and the Fort Worth Zoo. A native of Fort Worth, Laura is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Fort Worth Metro chapter and is a member of Leadership Fort Worth’s Leadership Class of 2020. 

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