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Archive for April, 2017

A Life in the Balance

By now we know the litany.

Overworked, unfulfilled professionals struggle to find equilibrium in their lives.

For many, the office has become a black hole of time–a never-ending assembly line of professional demands.

We know about the divorce rate (or empty marriages), the missed school plays, the vacations on which the spouse and children are accompanied by the cell phone and laptop.

We see the toll these pressures put on people’s health and emotional well being.


Not all adults buy into the notion of having to make a choice between having a career or having a life.

Some attempt finding other organizations in the same field with more “family friendly” values.  No more late nights.

Humane schedules.

For some, this works.

For others, the disintegration continues.


The explanations are predictable:

“I have to work this much–everyone else does.”

“With the money they’re paying me, they expect me to be here.”

“I’m working hard now so that in a few years I can relax.”

“I have to work this much to preserve the lifestyle I’ve created.”


Some cannot or will not take it.

They quit.

Quit their job.

Change careers.

“I’ll do something else for a living.”

“Maybe I’ll make less money but at least I’ll have a life!”

Sometimes it works.



How we love the notion that we can change the problems within by changing the externals in our lives.

That’s not the problem.

We are the problem.

Individually and collectively, we are the problem.


Over the past thirty-five years I’ve watched hundreds of people struggle to find the balance they long for in their lives.

Let me share with you what successful ones know:


They believe balance is possible.

If you live your life according to what others deem possible, you’ll never accomplish anything.

Believing your life can be more than it is is the first step to changing it.

Being crystal clear about what you want is also important.

(When you are totally committed to what you want in your life and why you want it, you will often figure out how to do it.)


They take what they believe in seriously, but don’t take themselves too seriously.

People have important jobs, but most of us are not curing cancer, halting climate change, ending world hunger or establishing world peace today.

The smart ones know the work is not going anywhere and they go home.

They do not make work the centerpiece of their identity.

They keep their sense of humor which allows them to have perspective.

This in turn allows them to focus on what is really important in their lives.


They understand the pitfalls of the careers they choose.

A job where everyone puts in ten-hour days or longer may leave you exhausted for the other people in your life.

A job where you’re on call all the time makes planning difficult.

Work that includes a lot of travel can turn your spouse into a modified single parent.

These types of jobs are a balanced person’s nightmare.

If you are in a culture that won’t allow some flexibility, you may need to consider another oraganization or even a career change.


They focus on what is important. 

What would you rather have–a new job or a new family?

Many professionals have seen their marriages fall apart because they spent time in the office that should have been spent at home.

In addition, longitudinal studies indicate few children escape without some emotional damage when their parents divorce.

And what about your physical and emotional health?

No place is worth getting sick or constantly stressed over.

No place.

If the smart ones find themselves working in an environment that taxes them beyond their physical abilities, they leave.


They put their time where they say their values are. 

No comment.


They are willing to trade time for money.

A smaller organization with less pressure and less money may be the answer.

Less money means less stuff.

That’s okay.

You’re not taking it with you.

You never saw a hearse pulling a U-Haul.


They believe in the concept of “enough.” 

They know how to leave the office (That’s enough for today.).

They don’t try to be perfect (The job I just finished is “good enough.”).

These feelings allow them more timeand energy for non work-related activities.


They stop trying to have it all.

You probably don’t want it all anyway.

Focus on what is important in your life.

If the house was on fire, what’s the one possession you would grab?

(If you said your laptop or cell phone, I hope it’s because they contain pictures of your loved ones.)


The Point

Balance comes about when you adhere to these basic life principles:


  • Relationships are more important than money, power or prestige.
  • The parts of life we do not attend to are really not as important as we say they are.
  • The areas of our lives that we ignore will get worse and eventually die.


Tough words about a tough subject. 

Think about what has been written here.

Invest your time wisely. 

You have a life in the balance.

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CTS Consulting, Inc

3126 Berkshire Road

Baltimore, Maryland 21214

phone 410-444-5857

cell 443-286-2488