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Strike a Balance

What do you need to do to have a thriving career and a fulfilling personal life?

By Mike Lindstrom

Many of us struggle to thrive in our careers and maintain our personal lives. But there is so much going on that it’s just hard to balance everything. How do you go about establishing a work/life balance that keeps your business thriving and your personal life fulfilled?

Work smarter, not harder
Dan McAlone, a top producer for seven years at Guardian Life Insurance, wanted to strike that balance. McAlone, who is married and a father of three boys, told me, “I know my sales results are there and as they increase, I have to be more consciously aware of my units of time.” He needed to create balanced goals and learn how to work smarter (not harder) so that he could have both outstanding sales results and quality time with his family.

What did I recommend to McAlone? Here are some tips that I suggest to advisors who wish to establish a work/life balance:

Change your focus. Dedicate more time to important things, such as daily personal fitness, date nights with your spouse, true quality time with your children and calling old friends on the phone just to say hello.

Chalk out a business plan. Write a detailed “life plan” or a “business plan for your life” that includes goals encompassing everything—from fitness goals to family goals to annual personal growth goals. With your life plan neatly laid out, you can schedule your life around what makes you successful and happy. Be sure to spend equal amounts of time each day doing something that advances both your personal and professional goals.

Have a mantra. Ask yourself daily or weekly, “What have I done to contribute to others’ lives?” Focusing on how your actions contribute to the lives of others (your family, friends and associates) keeps your emotional tank full and offers an honest assessment of how you’re “showing up” in life.

Take charge. Make sure you take at least five steps each week in the five most important areas of your life: health, family, career/business, finance and spirituality. To maintain consistent balance, write down what you will do in each area at the beginning of every week. For example, you can devote 15 minutes Sunday night to mapping your weekly balance action items.

Be present. Pay attention when you are listening to your clients and prospects. Invest in a journal so that you can get into the habit of listening, writing things down and retaining what you hear from your clients or prospects.

Be real. When communicating and relating with people, be genuine. Be real with them, remove the ego talk and be conscious of how many times you say “I” and “me.”

Don’t be rigid. Stop planning every minute of every day and inject a little relaxation and enjoyment into your schedule. If you can’t get out of those menial commitments, add more that you will enjoy.

Create a support system. Seek accountability partners in your life to stay consistent and focused. You may have a parent, a family member or a friend who can act in this role.

Mike Lindstrom is a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based coach who takes on a limited number of coaching clients, corporate consulting and keynote speaking events. Contact him at

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