The Big Debate of Work-Life Balance

The Big Debate of Work-Life Balance

There is a big debate about whether someone really can achieve work- life balance. I think it’s all in your perspective. How about you?

Work-life balance is not a destination; it’s not something that you achieve and then you are done. Instead, life balance is a series of adjustments that you make all through the day everyday that either move you toward or away from balance.

The key is to increase your awareness when making these decisions. Instead of making them instinctively, determine in the moment if the decision will move you toward balance.

Something as simple as being aware of the decisions you make and actions you take will naturally cause you to move more toward a life of balance.

So how about you? Do you think you can create life balance with your choices and actions?

To your success and happiness
Corinne McElroy

The Power of Negative Thinking

The Power of Negative Thinking


When something traumatic happens in our life – we lose our top client, our job, discover that we are sick, or separate from our spouse we are often told to focus what we have left. The common wisdom is that thinking about the good things will help us avoid the depression that may follow an event like this. While this works to some degree, new research suggests that thinking about what life would be like if we subtracted one of the “things we have left” may actually make us feel much better.

Before reading further, test it out. What would your life be like if you had never met your spouse? What if you had never gotten the job you think most fondly about? What if you woke up tomorrow and discovered you were blind? Simply by traveling down this mental path of negative thought, we discover new reasons to appreciate the things we have, and we experience more pleasure in these things.

The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology recently published four studies that all prove the power of negative thinking. In one, people who reminisced about how they met their partner reported a lesser degree of satisfaction in their relationship than those asked to imagine what their life would be like if they never met their partner in the first place. In others, students were asked to either write about a positive event of their choice and how it changed their life, or choose a positive event and write about their life as though it had never happened. The students who imagined that the event never happened also reported greater degrees of happiness and satisfaction with their life than those who simply wrote about the event. The implications of this research are amazing. It suggests that we are taking the long way to happiness by thinking “positively” and that simply subtracting the elements of our life we are grateful for leads us to become more joyful and appreciative about our life.

It is all too easy to become depressed about the future of our business or our jobs these days. The economic crisis has been dragging on for too long and the instinct to either fret about the future or dream about the past can be overpowering. By making this information a part of our work life we can find a path to follow what will lead us to the future success we dream of and hope for. Imagine what your business would be like without a key employee, or what your life would be like if you never took the risk of starting your own business. How about that key client that helped change your business model? By focusing on those things we would hate to live without in our work life, we gain invaluable and potentially surprising insight into the directions we need to be moving toward in these tough economic times.

Call to Action:
What are you most grateful for in life? Discover the appreciation you feel by mentally subtracting that one thing from your life. You can do this in your journal or in an email to me.

Letting Go Of The Expert

When I first encountered this concept of letting go of the expert, I thought: That is crazy, I’ve educated myself and worked hard to become an expert, why would I let it go?!

Perhaps the most understandable way to start this discussion is to discover what is an expert. Webster’s defines an expert as: A person with a high degree of knowledge or skill in a particular area. Some synonyms: master, proficient, and whiz. The suggestion is that you have arrived, and your work is done. OK, that sounds pretty good, so why do I want to let go of that?

Let’s also look at the reverse of expert as in a learner and a discoverer. Learner: again Webster’s definitions: To gain knowledge or mastery of by study. Discoverer: to obtain knowledge or awareness of something not known before, as through observation, study listening.

So why let go? Because letting go could lighten your workload, reduce your stress and responsibilities and open the door to incredible discoveries and personal and professional growth for yourself and your team.  Are you interested?

Here are some ideas that have been shared with me. After all, I am not the expert. I, too, am in the learning process. Review the concepts and choose what works for you. There is no right answer only exploration into possibility.

Consider these options:
When we present ourselves in the world as an expert, whether it be at home: as a parent or spouse, or at work: as a manager, we are opening a communication channel, one that most often is one way. It is up to us the expert: to distribute the information in a way it can be heard and understood, weigh the consequences, to make the decisions, get cooperation or accomplish the tasks ourselves, set a timeline, determine what is success and take the credit for success and or the failure. Whew! Granted, we are basing our efforts on time-tested expertise, this is a good thing, and there are times that this is the best method, as well as the best use of our time, energy and resources. There is little room for growth for the expert or the team in this situation as the task is to disseminate expertise in an effort to create the outcome upon which we have decided.

When we present ourselves as a learner or discoverer we also open the channel for communication, and in this instance, the communication is more likely to be two-way. We listen, ask questions and receive input from various sources. We have the chance to make changes based upon the input we have encountered. We may discover a better method or process through this discovery. We will probably get a more thorough buy-in by our team if they have some input to the process and outcome. We are not necessarily alone in determining what is considered success, neither are we totally responsible for the tasks at hand or the outcome. The result can be a workload spread over several more willing members, less stress, and an excellent opportunity for both personal and professional growth. As a learner we can add to our pool of knowledge, and potentially grow through the experience of collaboration.

True, you no longer have total control of what the actual outcome may look like, and it could possibly be even better than you could imagine. And the trade off may be worth it: If you gain time to work on other projects, what if your team is more motivated with their role of contribution and accomplishes more, if the atmosphere in the office improves with their added input, almost anything is possible. Your team is also given the opportunity for personal and professional growth so they can potentially contribute even more in the future.

Here is a simple example of how I learned to let go of being the expert and the effect on my quality of life.

I dislike doing dishes; as a matter of fact other than eating brussel sprouts it is my least favorite task in life. My husband promised that if I did the cooking, which I love, he would do the dishes. Wow! He continued to explain that his Mom taught him how to do dishes and that she always said he was terrific at it! Double WOW! So the bargain was made. I cooked and he did the dishes.

What I immediately discovered is that if I stand at my place of expert and review his work, he doesn’t do it the way I would do it myself. I began to approach Michael on this subject of his expertise. Then I stopped myself and thought: If I get to be the expert here, I also get to do the dishes. If I become the discoverer and encourager, I get to have half an hour of quiet time for myself after the dinner hour.

The next time I visited with my Mother-in- Law, I mentioned what a great dishwasher Michael is and thanked her for teaching him so well. She winked at me and I realized she had always had that half hour of quiet time. We chatted and smiled while Michael did the dishes.

Coaching Challenge:

Look at your world and ask yourself if there are times when being the expert is holding you or your team back? Pick a situation and become the discoverer and learner and smile!