What Is the Secret to Life-Work Balance?

Several of my clients asked me variations of this question in the last couple of weeks. Two are working full time and starting a new business in the evenings. One is scrambling to keep up with the unexpected rapid growth of her business. Another wants to be a better father. Yet another is grieving a sudden loss and feels concerned about spending so little time in her business.

The answer is the same for all of them: this is the wrong question.

Balance rarely exists. Balance might happen for one second in time. The very next second, the teeter-totter will have tipped in one direction or the other. Sometimes dramatically so.

What they really want to know: how can I be effective at all I’m doing and feel good about it?

The answer is super simple. Be Present. Judge nothing.

When my clients are present at their day jobs, present with the kids before they go to bed and present with their businesses in the evening, they feel alive and fulfilled. When they judge nothing, they don’t feel pressure that starts them thinking about life-work balance.

When I become too focused on work without enough play, Jasmine, my Director of Play insists I become present to her and to playing. When I judge nothing, I do as I’m told!

When my client is present with each task involved in her rapidly growing business, she enjoys her work and success. When she judges nothing, she knows everything is fine as she takes time to go for a run.

When my client allocates time every day to spend with his son, he’s happy about being present with his kid. When he judges nothing, he’s happy to work a bit later into the evening.

When my client is present to and compassionate with herself about her grief, she accepts what is. When she judges nothing, she trusts things are working out with her business, knowing she’s doing the best she can right now.

So what about you?

When you think your life is out of balance because you’re spending too much time or not enough time at work, what might you become more present to? What might it be like to judge nothing? I’d love to hear from you . . .

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you”)

No Permission Needed

Confident Vulnerability changed my life. I learned this empowering way of being in my advanced StrengthsFinder® training a couple of years ago. Thank you DeAnna Murphy of Strengths Strategy!

Confident Vulnerability looks like this.

I know what I am. I know what I’m not. I’m comfortable, confident and non-judgmental with and embrace both. I am confident in my strengths and vulnerable about the needs of my strengths and my weaknesses. This also allows me to embrace what you are and what you are not without judgment.

Full disclosure: I am still working on doing all of this more consistently.

And, as I embraced confident vulnerability as a way of life, I quit trying to hide or apologize for my weaknesses. That then freed a bunch of energy to be more fully who I am without messing around in the areas of who I’m not.

And one day recently, it occurred to me that I do not need permission to be who I am, to do what I do, to live how I live, to explore what I feel drawn to explore.

And, neither do you.

How would the world shift if we all lived in confident vulnerability, full out, unapologetically?

What if we weren’t afraid of what people will think?

I do love doing my part.

Last week I was in San Diego attending the Ascend conference. Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not exactly the athletic type. Well, after hanging with my 12-year-old nephew Justin and 15-year-old niece Hailey, in the few minutes each evening in San Diego before it got dark, I engaged in my new sport.

Yes, I have a new sport.

Ann Strong Blog Post No Permission Needed

Four Square. Yes, the one little kids play. It’s never too late to start. I love this game. Who wants to come to the Land of Enchantment and join me?

No permission needed. Permission slips unnecessary as well!

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you”)

Who Is the Miraculous

I am a fierce, creative, powerful and grateful being
Who is the miraculous.

I am the strength, vision and vibration of my dream.

I allow the notion of unworthiness to drop away.
There is no such thing.
Worthiness is inherent by nature of existence.

I know the Divine.
I know my own Divinity.
I know Pure Potentiality
which I shape with my Divine authorship.

Spider Web

I know the miracle of me.
I know the way of magic.

I know my ability to hear and notice
when magic speaks.
I allow the magic to flow through me.

When I resist, second-guess or deny
my Divinity, my magic,
I thwart or block my natural, abundant flow.

When I align with and allow my Divinity,
all nature of magic and miracles
Unfold naturally and consistently.

I am the strength, vision and vibration of my dream.

I am a fierce, creative, powerful and grateful being
Who is the miraculous.

(Excerpted from my forthcoming book, “Strong from Within: Simple perceptions and practices for returning to the joy of you”)

Freedom from Our Innocently Self-Imposed Prisons

“What if everything in life was up for grabs and there were no givens?”
Michael Neill
From his brand new, hot-off-the-press book,
“The Space Within: Finding Your Way Back Home”

I am so excited because one of my mentors, Michael Neill, released his latest book yesterday. One of the reasons I have been a fan, follower and student of Michael’s for so long is because we are cut from the same cloth, belong to the same soul collective.

For years I have been working with myself and my clients to release us from our innocently self-imposed prisons. In Chapter 6 of The Space Within, Michael talks about dissolving the bars of our self-created cages.

The Space Within: Finding Your Way Back Home by Michael Neill

In Michael’s words:
” . . . all any of us are ever suffering from is our innocent misuse of the play dough of Thought. When we use it to create insecurity, worry, and fear, we live inside a cage with bars of our own making. But, like a child who gleefully creates and destroys animals and people and monsters and flowers every time they take their play dough out of its container, we’re free to change our mind and think differently about absolutely anything at absolutely any moment.

I don’t always remember this, and there are certainly times when my reality becomes very “real” to me and I feel the walls closing in on my self-created cage. But then a new thought comes along, and I’m once again reminded that I can roll up the bars of my cage into a lump of divinely neutral play dough, change my mind, and begin the game of creation all over again.”

My words:
When we get it, really get it, that our imprisonment comes from our own thinking rather than ANY external circumstances, we are free.

I was fortunate to read Victor Frankel’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, my junior year in high school. His first-hand account of life in four different Nazi death camps depicts how even in the most horrific circumstances during actual imprisonment, a person doesn’t need to be imprisoned.

His story was one of my first directional signals, pointing me toward becoming a business and life coach. I have come to recognize that I am here on this planet to inspire and urge me and you to be fully ourselves by freeing ourselves from our own innocently self-imposed prisons. And, I am so grateful to share a soul collective with Michael Neill and Victor Frankel.