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6 Steps to Achieving Work-Life Balance

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6 Steps to Achieving Work-Life Balance

I know something about you. Your life is messed up. You aren’t where you thought you would be by now. You expected something very different than your current reality. I know this because you’re still reading. If your life was all sunshine and tropical beaches then you would have blown right past this article.

I know something else about you. Down deep shines a glimmer of hope. A flickering flame of belief that you can still have the life you wanted. Don’t let it die. The life you dream of is out there, but you have to make it happen. What does it take?

Here are 6 simple steps that will allow you to achieve the work life balance you so desperately seek:

1. Discover what you love

Work life balance means doing more of what you love and less of what you hate. In any career there will be tasks that you don’t love, but overall you should be spending most of your time doing things that are both fun and challenging. You’ll never have balance doing something that isn’t your passion.

“The truest drive comes from doing what you love.” – Peter Diamandis

2. Find the right type of work

Discovering what you love is about finding what makes you happy. Finding the right type of work is how you apply that to real life. Many people are perfectly content working a normal job in a field that brings them joy. I see this all the time in teachers, nurses, and leaders of companies. But for others a job is too restrictive. If that’s you then congratulations! You live in the age of the freelancer, consultant and virtual assistant. Organizations around the world pay millions of people every day to solve their problems, without hiring them as employees. I have a friend who recently started doing voice overs for commercials and other types of gigs. Now she does voice over work full time while travelling the country with her husband and young daughter.

 

3. Make a plan

Do you really know what you want in work life balance? Take some time to think through how you want to spend each day. For a normal job, do you like 9-5 for 5 days per week? Would you prefer working 10 hours a day and taking every Friday off? Does the idea of telecommuting excite you? For freelancers and consultants you must control your schedule or it will control you. Figure out exactly when and how you want to do what you love.

 

4. Hold yourself accountable

It’s really easy to slip back into a routine. Work life balance isn’t something you set up then just let happen. Keeping careful watch on how you spend your time and what you are doing will make you happier. Don’t be fooled into thinking that life is more fun lived randomly. Self-managed structure allows for freedom. Keep an eye on your daily life so that it remains yours.

“Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.” – Margaret Thatcher

5. Don’t compromise

If you are like me you’ve lived most of your life by default. Your friends and family believe that’s normal. When you step out and start making conscious changes there will be pushback. Stay the course. Do what is right for you and those you love. Don’t give up management of your life to those who can’t even manage their own.

 

6. Give first place to the most important things

Are you married or is there a highly significant person in your life? Do you have children? Sometimes I think work life balance is backwards. We should call it Life Work balance. The people you love most should come before any business or work. Isn’t the point of work life balance to do what you enjoy most? Then make sure spending time with the people you care for comes first. Let the passion for your dream be fueled by the desire to be with the people you love so very much.

 

Perhaps the best advice I can give you is to take responsibility for your work life balance. No one else knows what truly makes you happy and only you can take the steps to reach that goal. Don’t let what you’ve always done keep you from doing what you really want.

A paycheck, even a very large paycheck, isn’t worth being miserable for the rest of your life. Be the person you were created to be and spend your life doing what you love.The life you dream of is out there, but you have to make it happen.

Are you doing what you love? If so, tell me what you are doing and why it is so fulfilling in the comment section below!

I help people develop amazing relationships and love what they do every day. I'm a writer, speaker and coach and you can read my articles on great sites such as the Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, the Good Men Project and Lifehack. Happiness in life and passion in your work are my goals. Meet me at TroyStoneking.com and Troy Stoneking on Facebook.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Tony Ciccolella

    Jul 20, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    I left the hustle and bustle corporate lifestyle of a successful headhunter to start my own sports agency. I currently represent 30 professional baseball players and now have the freedom not only help and enrich the lives of these players living their childhood dreams but as you say doing what I love….watching baseball and spending time with my family…I’ve been truly blessed

  2. Jenn Mullen

    Nov 19, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    This is a great article! Most of which I know already, but never commit to making work-life balance happen. I am currently working for a major health insurer in the state of Massachusetts and am in an investigative role. That being said, my role is very high-pressure and there’s never enough hours in the day to do everything. As we all know, healthcare fraud is rampant and that’s why I wanted to flip the coin and be on the proactive side of healthcare. Last May, I began schooling to become a certified health coach. I already have a part time partnership with a company that is looks at healthcare this way and thought it would be the perfect route to go. This coming May, I will be graduating and will be starting to take on clients and moving more toward my passion. I will be flipping my view to life-work balance. Thanks so much for this advice!

    • Troy Stoneking

      Nov 29, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      Thank you for the kind words Jenn! I’m so excited that you are going to become a certified health coach and follow your passion. We need you!!! I’m also glad you are taking control and going to make it life-work balance. 🙂 You are very welcome, I’m here to help.

  3. Alexis

    Nov 11, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I left the Oil & Gas world of Houston (after 16 years of the 8-5) to start my consulting business last January. What freedom it has been! I am actually living my priorities, instead of wishing I had more time to take care of my priorities (children, friends, running, etc.). GREAT article!

    • Troy Stoneking

      Nov 15, 2015 at 3:39 am

      Great job stepping out Alexis, your courage is inspiring! Thank you for the kind words.

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

There’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you don’t have the stuff to make it all happen. Not now and not ever. You feel like a failure…it’s holding you back and you don’t know how to deal with it. Well you could do yourself a favor and start dealing with it by doing the following things:

1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

In fact, it’s very likely that you’re already doing, learning and succeeding at WAY more than most other people are. But for entrepreneurs, somehow, that never seems to be enough. You don’t just want to be successful after a few years of hard work (which is normal). You want to be successful after only a few months. Because you’re special…or at least you think you are…

Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

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Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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