30 Jun

5 Tips for Work / Life Balance (whether you work for pay or not)

“Balance” means something different to everyone.  But we all know how it feels.  And have you noticed that when you feel it, parenting (and everything) is so much easier? 
 

Balance RocksTo me, “balance” does not mean having equal amounts of things.  Rather, it means having as much of something as you need, in order to feel a sense of peace, fulfillment, and general well-being.
 

For example, some people need lots of challenging work; others need just a little.  Some people need lots of social time; others need plenty of alone time.
 

Your recipe for “balance” is unique to you.  What does your recipe call for, and in what amounts?  What “ingredients” have you been short on?  And what ingredients have you been adding, simply because that’s what someone else’s recipe calls for?
 

I would love to help you get clear on what’s in YOUR recipe.  Contact me to explore coaching.
 

In the mean time, here are 5 tips to get you closer to “just right.”

 
1. Let go of perfection.  Someone once said, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” Well, I don’t agree! There are some things that are worth doing very, very well. But not everything. Some things are worth doing “good enough.” When we put pressure on ourselves to do everything well, it takes up an awful lot of time and energy, and there’s little left for other priorities.  (What’s more, perfectionism is a leading cause of anxiety in both children and adults.)
 

As a person, letting go of perfection may mean stopping yourself from re-reading your email for the 5th time to make sure it’s perfectly said.  As a parent, it may mean frozen pizza for dinner some nights so that you have time to play with your kids or read a book for pleasure. As a professional, it may mean that you delegate to someone more junior even though you know you could do it better.
 

2.  Ask for help.  If you feel like you’re doing too much of the work (in your home, team, community, etc.) it’s probably because you are.  Ask for help!  It may be true that your partner/direct report/child/mother/nanny/etc. will not do it as well as you will . . . Maybe that’s OK!  (see tip #1 above.) It may be true that everyone else is also busy. . . They can tell you if so.  Or maybe you are assuming that others don’t want to, or can’t help. . . They may surprise you (especially your kids.)
 

When you ask for help, you are not only freeing up your own time, but you are also giving others an opportunity to learn and grow, to be helpful themselves, and you are sending them a message that you believe they are capable.
 

3.  Do less.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  You are talented, competent and capable of doing a lot of great things.  You want to be thoughtful, helpful, productive and kind.  When there’s something to be done, you may feel like you should jump in and do it.  Well, not necessarily!
 

When you say “yes” to something, recognize that you are saying “no” to something else.  What are you saying “no” to?  You might be saying “no” to much needed alone time, exercise, conversation and connection with loved ones, or sleep.  Do you really want to make that trade-off?  Sometimes the answer will be yes.  The point is to be conscious of the trade-off.
 

4.  Ask for what you need.  This sounds so simple but I assure you, for many, it is not!  I see client after client who knows what s/he needs, but is afraid to ask.  Why not just ask?  Of course you’ll want to ask tactfully, but don’t be afraid to be human, have needs, and make them known.
 

For example, if you want to work out during the work day, let your boss know and negotiate a win-win.  If you need some time alone in the evening to read or take a bath, ask your partner, “Hey Honey, this is something that would really help me feel like a balanced human being.  Will you please _____ so that I can do that?”   You might just get what you ask for.
 

5.  Let go of guilt.  Very often, busy parents don’t take care of their own needs because they feel guilty doing so.  But if you often feel exhausted, pushed to your limits, irritable and resentful, it’s a good sign that your guilt is not serving you.  It’s taken me a loooooooong time to appreciate this fact, but I now whole-heartedly believe that self-care is your most powerful lever for balance.  This includes sleep, exercise, and even plain old pleasure.
 

I know, in the chaos of getting through the day, it’s incredibly hard to prioritize yourself.  However, chronically sacrificing your own needs for those of others will leave you depleted and resentful.  The airlines tell you to “put your own oxygen mask on first” for a very good reason:  you can’t care for others if you’re dead (metaphorically, of course!)  So how do you make time for self care?  Re-read the top 4 tips!
 

I know you’ve already figured out a lot about how to achieve balance.  Please share your ideas for everyone (including me) in the comment section here!
 

Would you like some support in finding your balance? Contact me to set up a free 30-minute sample coaching session via phone.

 

Click here to subscribe to newsletter and blog

05 Jun

Transforming the Little Moments to Bring in the Light — a guest blog from Lisa Fuller

This month, I’m featuring a guest blog from my fellow Positive Discipline Associate and friend, Lisa Fuller.  I love this story, and hope you will, too.
 
Wouldn’t it be great to have a “before” and “after” parenting show?
 
Last month I traveled on swanky Virgin America and enjoyed the guilty pleasure of watching “What Not to Wear.” Are you like me? Loving the transformation of the frumpy working gal into the self-confident put together chick? (Hint: I’m a great candidate – waiting to be nominated).
 
I’m drawn to the details of improvement – the way a crowded, gloomy living room, rearranged with better light, pillows, and plants becomes a welcoming space for activity and life. Powerful.

Let’s bring this analogy home to my role as parent. Here’s a situation I’m sure you’ll relate to. Notice the before and after scenes – I’m the same, loving mom in each. The difference is, in the second scene, I have a deeper understanding of Positive Discipline and with a few tweaks, the interaction with my daughter is transformed at the core.

photo

The scene: I’m putting my 6 year-old, S, to bed and have just finished reading her a bedtime story.
 
Before:

S: Mom, I’m afraid.

Me: What are you afraid of? (a bit annoyed and really thinking “what could you possibly be afraid of?!”)

S: I’m scared to go to bed.

Me: There’s nothing to be scared of – you’re in your cozy bed and your family is home with you. (My annoyance is building.)

S: I’m still afraid.

Me: That’s silly cause you are perfectly safe. (I’m determined to leave and stop this conversation.)

As I leave the room a jumble of thoughts go through my mind:

  • What have I done to make her so insecure?
  • What’s wrong with her that she can’t simply go to sleep?
  • What’s her fear going to become as she gets older?
  • It’s simple, she hasn’t had enough hardship in her life – if she’d had more trials, like me, then she’d know what fear really is!

After (with a Positive Discipline approach):

S: Mom, I’m afraid.

Me: What are you afraid of?

S: I’m afraid to go to sleep. I’m afraid of all the normal stuff that people are afraid of.

Me: Where do you feel that in your body?

S: My heart. It’s like I have butterflies fluttering in my heart and frogs jumping in my stomach.

Me: Oh, that doesn’t sound good. (I place my hand on her heart).

S: Do you ever get scared?

Me: Yes. Remember last week when we were on the airplane and it was really bumpy and you were laughing and whooping it up? I was really afraid – I didn’t like how that felt AT ALL.

S: I was scared too but it was also fun and funny.

Me: People get scared of different things – I LOVE GOING TO BED.

I left the room, my daughter fell asleep. I wasn’t worried about her future. I felt close and connected to her.

Let’s look at some of the obvious differences in how I felt and acted in the two scenes.
 
BEFORE:

  • Worried
  • Fearful
  • Stuck in limited “role” of mom
  • Focus on how I’ve failed as a mom

AFTER:

  • Curious
  • Open
  • Interested in our shared human experience
  • Willing to share my vulnerability
  • In the present
  • Faith in my daughter to figure it out

While there’s no perfect way to parent, we can make small, subtle shifts that bring in the light to reveal our higher self. When we allow this to happen, we truly sparkle. The end result? An intimate moment of precious connection with our child. There’s nothing more beautiful than that.

 
We have much to learn from each other.
 
CONSIDERSHAREACT
 
In the comments below share what motivates you to go from scene 1 to 2?  What helps you sparkle?
 
Next time you’re in that #1 scenario, stop, breathe, connect, wait. Let us know what happens.
 
Lisa Fuller facilitates parenting classes in the East Bay and coaches parents one-on-one. She’s a compassionate listener, committed to empowering parents through Positive Discipline’s common sense principles. Lisa’s three children are 18, 14 and 7.  She’s an M.S.W., Certified Positive Discipline Trainer and Certified Professional Coach.  To learn more about Lisa, visit www.LisaFullerCoaching.com

IMG_4614_email