Friday, March 30, 2012

Balancing Life Emotionally: Cancel the Soap Opera!

As a guest, I was observing a fireside chat of women who were discussing the emotional roller coaster of life. Each had their own story of distress, and some shared how the downturn had changed the ride up. That was the best part, of course. However, one participant spoke to the point that she felt balance of life was boring and lacked emotional luster.

Well, it was all I could do to sit quietly and listen as this highly educated woman elaborated. Obviously, I disagree. She defined balance as that flatline of not feeling life.
In my own and others’ observations of life, calm is good. When bad drama does not enter my day, that is success. I do admit I know those who relish in daily drama and even create it when life is riding along smoothly. Truly, I don't think they even know they consciously do that, but simply, that is where their comfort zone lies.

Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting that anyone swallow their emotions or not embrace the feelings of what is happening, good or bad. I'm just asking – do you have a drama queen in your life? Or do you create drama? Self-made drama is draining and stress-inducing – who needs that? Take a step back and ask yourself why – and then take action to reduce it. Maybe just being conscious of this issue will raise awareness for you. 

One great real world example is the best competitive athletes. They want to win and when they don't, they resolve their emotions with dignity and grace and more devotion to their sport.

So, as a competitive spirit in life, find your mentor, look for their example of balance, accept what happens in your life and find the positive. Address the tough game but be wise enough to recognize and enjoy a day of balanced peace.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shoot for the Moon - Bring Back a Few Stars

Big dreams, big hopes, big plans, big hair, big Texas (ok, I’m in Texas, small joke) . . . but big dreams can become reality. How do we balance those dreams with reality which will balance our lives and work?
  1. Plan realistically. This means research your passion and find a place in that dream that spells out y-o-u! If you have five children, you may not want to plan on a dream career that leads you away from home a lot – at least until the kids are out on their own! If your dream career is being a teacher and the schedules coordinate as your children are at school, then that is realistic. Here are a few ideas on how to find your dream career.
  2. Time frame has to be right. You are 30 years old and decide to be a professional athlete. That’s not much of a reality due to the timeline. But playing on a recreational team IS realistic at the age of 30. Get it?
  3. Look around and see how your dreams affect those around you. Can your dreams feed your family? Work within your financial means? You want to be a star? The “starving artist” or “starving musician” is not a great plan if you are the breadwinner. I know, I was a musician, and sometimes being a star is being a super talent in your profession.
  4. Make a plan and stick with it. If your plan is on target, then hang in there. Yes, it is a grind most times (for years) to be an “overnight success” in any industry.
  5. Be happy. That is, be happy in your choice. No buyer’s regret or looking back after you have dug in. Being happy is a choice.
Shooting for the moon is a great target, and if you do make it, congratulations! But if you happen to miss the target but bring back a few stars, well, that’s a great thing, too.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Balancing Work and Life from the Home Office

When I was researching this concept two years ago, I found it began in other countries and very common. The U.S. just started entertaining this concept for real. And, there are many reasons, but I am going to shoot for the reason being we are a very structured country. OK, just guessing…

But onto the subject at hand, can life be more balanced by working from the home? And how does that work?

A recent conversation with a married 30-ish career woman, wife and mother of a three-year-old, revealed it was a great idea. Before, she spent so much time preparing for the day, arranging schedules, finding a back-up sitter when the little guy was sick, etc., that her productivity at work was lacking. However, the simple routine now goes like this: 

  1. Get the three-year-old ready for preschool, prep breakfast and out the door with Dad.  He drops him off on the way to work.
  2. She goes into her office, works until noon, takes a walk/lunch break, returns to working at her computer and on the phone until husband and child return home. She also has time now in the afternoon break to prepare a bit of supper for the evening. 
  3. By working from home, she is more productive at work and less stressed at home. It’s a good balance for her – and her family.
It does seem like a good plan. My only caution: carve out face time with clients or bosses as we would not want the slogan “out of sight, out of mind” to create an invisible employee.

Working from home can be a success but only with that one reoccurring word: discipline. Be sure to weigh the potential benefits and challenges if you’re contemplating the switch.