WORK-LIFE BALANCE: HOW TO GET THE MOST IN EVERY MOMENT
I recently provided the below answers to questions posed to me by Cobb InFocus magazine on work-life balance. Enjoy!
1. What is the work-life balance to you? Is it really achievable?
Work-life balance differs for everyone based on business goals, personality, and relationships. Yet if I don’t find the balance, I quickly find the burnout. This burnout creates stress, anger and tension which creates a huge spillover effect in other areas of our lives. For me, work-life balance involves deliberately setting times for different activities. It involves being aware of where my energy and focus is going, a need and desire to shift it, then deciding when and how to shift it. A helpful key for me is to remember that no matter what I am doing, I want to be present and mindful. If I am involved in work, I intend to be present and focused on my work. When I am doing something other than work, either by myself or with friends and family, I intend to be present to enjoy that moment in the fullest. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but that’s where I’m headed.
Achieving a work-life balance is achievable with awareness and effort. Finding it involves making equal time and space for both and being present where we are. Somehow many of us just aren’t present anymore. Our minds and thoughts are in one place, while our bodies are in another. And then we wonder why we are so stressed out.
2. What keeps people from being able to balance their work and the rest of their lives?
People frequently can’t find the balance because they’ve created a story in their mind that work is more “important” than life. For most people, I think just time slips away. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with work-related thoughts and sometimes it takes a real effort to turn off the work mind and turn on the play mind. I call it the “time to make the donuts” mentality from the old Dunkin Donuts commercial. But if there is a story we’ve created making work more important than life, it becomes more difficult to get there. Here’s a key: Change the story. Put work in perspective. Keep in mind the huge cost to not having a work-life balance. Those costs play out in poor mental, emotional and physical health, lost money and opportunity, and most of all, distant and sometimes lost relationships with those we love. Being out of balance kills people, kills relationships, kills joy, and kills opportunities for a higher quality of life. What is not having a work-life balance costing you? Do the math. In a way, it’s really a business decision. Do you really want to pay the price?
3. What do you do/offer to help keep Cobb healthy and happy?
I love coaching! As a certified life and relationship coach and the Coach on the Square in Marietta, I help people change their stories about areas of life challenging them. Many times we get stuck in dealing with work-life balance, business situations, dating and love relationships, divorce, career transitions and other situations. From my 27 years in the military, my life experience and my love for helping people “figure it out”, I’m able to help people 1) discover the value of living empowered in every area of their life, 2) learn how to deliberately create their life and relationship experience, and 3) teach them skills and insights on how to connect and communicate with others around them. As a motivational and keynote speaker, I inspire audiences, clubs, groups, organizations and business/corporations to raise the bar on what they want and give them tools on how to get it. What I really enjoy the most is seeing someone get unstuck, turned around and taking steps in a new direction they never felt capable of taking. Helping people get results in situations important to them is what I live for.
4. What are some options and avenues Cobb residents should take advantage of?
Cobb County is full of so many gifted and talented people who are available to help residents live happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. Many of the traditional services continue to provide valuable services and products. Since I’m a coach, I encourage Cobb residents to look for “coaches” as a potential resource to compliment the traditional services provided. There are coaches out there doing great work in nearly every area such as business, holistic, health, nutrition, life, relationship, parenting, personal training, etc. Google “coach” the next time you are looking for a potential resource. I think you’ll be pleased with the wide range of skills and services provided by “coaches” in Cobb County.
5. Give us your best advice on how to stay happy, balanced and healthy in work and life.
It’s a mind-set like everything else we face. Change your mindset. Decide what you truly value in life and about life. If you lost your job, what would have left? How do you want to move through life? Going up river or down? Trust me when I say you want to go downstream by getting in the flow of life. Putting work in its proper perspective is the first step. Deciding on specific things to do and when to do them is the second. Finally, and most importantly, be present in your life spaces and enjoy the value that comes as a human “being” instead of a human “doing.” Take baby steps. Enroll your loved ones in your quest to be more available to life and what it brings. Start small if you have to, but start today. Begin with 15 minutes or an hour of doing something you enjoy, that makes you smile, laugh, or relax, then move up from there. There is enough work to go around and keep you busy forever. You can never do it all anyway.
Finally, in the words of the infamous Ferris Bueller, ““Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”