Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Next 5 Years

Where were you 5 year ago? It seems like another lifetime to me. It was when I made a choice that impacted and enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined at the time. It was 5 years ago this month that I left the comfort and security of my full-time corporate communication job to start a consulting company focused on work-life balance.

Many people thought I was nuts, (some still do) some wanted to quit with me and others watched with curiosity to see what would happen. Turns out companies care more about their employees that what many employees might think or feel. Turns out, people at all levels have a lot to say on this topic and the conversations show no signs of slowing down.

Over the last 5 years I’ve noticed many things that I’ve made an attempt to capture in a think paper: From China to Chile: The Challenges, Triggers, and Choices about Work-Life Balance. Spoiler alert – work-life balance has nothing to do with the number of hours you work, your family structure or your gender.

I’m grateful beyond words to have had the fortune to facilitate conversations on the topic in 20 countries and reach another 10 virtually. These conversations and countless other in cafes, bars and airport lounges around the world have shaped this paper and deepened my awareness on the real issues humans face when it comes to seeking balance.

Thank you to every person in my workshops, (and strangers on planes who sat next to me) for having the courage to be honest with themselves and me about what balance mean to them and what life would be like if they had it.

Here is to 2018 and thousands more conversations on the real issues surrounding the topic.

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Work-Life Balance: Beyond A Woman’s Issue

Sheryl Sandberg chief operating officer of Facebook and author of the new book Lean In is making waves on the topic of work-life balance and women in the workplace. As an author and expert on work-life balance I’m grateful to see the issues getting media time in a new way. If I’m being truthful, I feel mixed about her messages.

Don’t get me wrong –I love the conversation she is creating about women and ambition. I absolutely agree and support her message and can identify with many times in my life where I didn’t lean in – where I sat back and watched; only now seeing that I was just as worthy as anyone else in the room to have a seat (and voice) at the table.

My mixed feelings come from some of the comments about work-life balance coming out of the conversation. I fear the topic is being dragged back to the 1970’s when it was perceived as a working woman’s issue. It is not, it is a human issue.

I have worked with men and women in over 30 counties and I know first-hand the struggles to balance life is not gender specific. Men and women might use different words to describe the pressures and emotions they are felling, but the outcome is the same – men and women both struggle with the choices and tradeoffs they feel are required to “make it” in the modern working world.

Sheryl thank you for bringing the conversation back in to the spotlight. Now let’s take it to the next level and talk about it as a human issue. It’s time to open our eyes to the impact work-life balance is having on countries, companies and individuals around the world.

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Text or no Text

Why do you text someone and when is it ok text? Really, why do you choose to send a text over calling, sending an e-mail or in some cases saying nothing at all?

Texting is so fast and easy many times it’s hard to resist firing off a quick idea or thought, (or an update on arrival time) when in reality, it’s not necessary or the right tool to deliver the message. Five years ago would you have called someone to say “parking now”?

Our relationship with our mobile devices is getting more and more complicated, we use it to call, e-mail, Skype, and text we work from it and run the rest our life from it. So when using it for 2-way communication one can assume there is a conscious choice to use a specific method to match the message.

When it comes to texting, I’ve found people all over the map with why and when they use it and the choice isn’t very conscious at all. For example, I’ve been noticing my own texting habits. A few times I sent texts with messages I’m not sure I’d say to face-to-face and I sent texts to avoid conversations. I also sent texts for context on location and timing and some to make people feel good. And when I made the effort to think about it there were many texts I didn’t send at all that became e-mails or conversations and some things I didn’t share at all. What I learned for me is if I can’t say to someone – I will not text it.

Coming back to the beginning – why do you text someone and when is it ok text? (There is not right or wrong answer – only what is right for you.)

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