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This article was written by Clay Staires, Tulsa Leadership Trainer, Motivational Speaker & Founder of Tulsa’s #1 Leadership Program, The Leadership Initiative

These Notes coincide with the visual presentation Getting Your Life Back In Balance. You may want to use this presentation to help you walk through the notes.

I can’t say everything. Today, there will be a lot left unsaid. Please take this encouragement towards personal development as just an introductory speech. A quick “fly by”, meant to raise questions and encourage a desire to go further. This is not an exhaustive discussion.

So, is anyone here busy? Is anyone here “crazy busy”? Is there anyone here that has felt at one time or another that your life was simply out of balance? Like there was just way too much of one thing and not enough of the other? What do you think is the conclusion that most people come up with when they are in this position? Would you like to feel in balance?


Almost half (48%) of employees surveyed feel pulled between responsibilities at work and at home.

External Pressures:






What do you have “inside of you” that is balancing out these external pressures?

How can you develop an internal “Push Back” or “Resolve” that will keep you from getting knocked of course or squeezed to death by all the external pressures?

That is what todays talk is all about. Developing this internal pushback that will allow you to obtain and retain BALANCE I YOUR LIFE!

It doesn’t necessarily come just from leaving one thing so you can do another. That could actually lead to imbalance in the other direction. No, the answer is to be able to do BOTH on a daily basis… Internal and External!

Seven Keys To Getting Balance Back In Your Life!

1. Believe there’s something more! Something to counter the weight of work!

Have you given up? Is it possible that there’s more to life than what you are currently experiencing? Have you settled into a way of thinking that says, “This is just how it is and I better just get used to it”? Without hope that it could be different, you can easily fall into the trap of settling for the status quo! Most people do! They just get into the flow of “daily management” of their lives and forget that they were actually moving towards something before they got trapped by the “I’m fine, hypnosis”.

After 15 years of teaching school – salary, tenure, retirement, benefits, “security”…

I made the leap to corporate leadership. (I was 37 years old!)

After 10 years of C-Level Leadership – established, salary, benefits, reputation with company,

I made the leap! I believed there was more for me to do! Not that teaching was wrong (or lesser than). Not that C-level leadership was wrong. I simply believed there was more for me to do, to experience. So I made the leap, because I didn’t feel like I could continue to grow into my full design while remaining in those positions. (I was 47 years old!)

For me, I felt I had reached a ceiling and I didn’t want to get stuck at that level of impacting the earth. I wanted more, and I BELIEVED there was more!

Take a moment to think of an area where you may have slipped into thinking that “I just better get used to this”. Work, Family, Marriage, Friends, Finances? How has that thinking effected your energy and performance?



2. Allow for open space and time in your schedule

67% of employees surveyed feel they have no time for their kids.

63% of employees surveyed feel they have no time for their spouse.

55% of employees surveyed feel they have no time for themselves.

“I just don’t have enough time right now!” This is the ultimate killer of dreams! “I’ll just have to get to it later!” This is called procrastination and it will always lead to a broken heart. At best it produces “differed” success, and at worst it produces hollow hopes because it lacks deliberate follow through.

Growth (change) takes time and space. And its space that has to be cleared of all the distracting (weeds) in your life. I’m not saying that your job is a “distraction” or a “weed” in your life. But if we’re not intentional about remaining on the growth path, the job, family, entertainment… can all become distractions that keep us from completing our full impact on the earth. Not just “some” impact, but our full impact!

Planting a garden, you have to “clear a space” first and prepare it for planting of new ideas and new activities. No space, no growth!

“I just don’t have enough time!” This consistent mentality will inhibit growth and balance in your life. You MUST BE DELIBERATE WITH YOUR TIME! I guarantee that if you don’t intentionally fill it, external forces will take over! It’s not that they’re all bad. You just want to make sure they are external forces that you have deliberately chosen!

I find this often with my Corporate clients that desire change in their organization. They feel out of control. They cry out for change, but as we begin to walk through the steps for “automatic growth”, I often find that they haven’t taken the time to implement the steps! It’s not that they refuse to do them, they just can’t seem to make them FIT amidst all the chaos they are trying to maintain so they can keep their company in the black!

Can you think of one or two times where you have desired to see growth, but you didn’t provide the “space” for it to happen? Maybe you could revisit that desire and this time commit to creating space for it?



3. Life Long Learning (outside of work)

This is ongoing learning that goes beyond your professional development. When was the last time your read a book for pleasure? How long did it take you to finish it?

When was the last time you read a book on personal growth? Did you learn? Were you challenged? Did you experience a pressure as you encounter new ways of thinking that conflicted with the old? How did you process this pressure?

When was the last time you had an outdoor adventure? (Scraping ice off your windows in the morning doesn’t count)

There are three steps to becoming a successful life long learner!

  1. Obtaining New Information – this is vital! This could be new information about an old problem or simply new information about a new desired topic. Contrary to popular belief, You CAN’T grow just by recycling your old mindset! The Barna Research Group did a multi year study with thousands of adults on the core belief systems and conclusions of how life works were developed in their lives. The concluded that for the vast majority, the beliefs and conclusions that they had when they were thirteen, were the beliefs and conclusions they would die with! Ah! This means that, the vast majority of people, stop learning about “the big picture” after the age of 13! From then on, it’s more about subject learning (schooling), than it is about personal growth and awareness. Stretching Experiences are the best tool to use for learning new things.
  1. Interpretation – Just because we read a new book doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to impact the way we think. Information alone won’t bring about personal growth. We must learn how to interpret what we are learning. Information with the wrong interpretation can lead to disaster! Who is helping you interpret your new information?
  1. Application – This is the final critical step in learning. You may have learned the right thing and interpreted it rightly, but if you misapply it, it could lead to some poor outcomes.

You can only think what you think! It’s impossible for you think anything but what you think. The only way for us to think new thoughts is if we allow an OUTSIDE SOURCE INFLUENCE our thinking. So, what outside sources are you intentionally allowing to influence your life? Media? Friends? Culture? Work? Mentors? This is where I put in a strong word of encouragement for mentors in your life AND TO BE A MENTOR FOR SOMEONE ELSE! Also, be sure to journal!

Take a second to think of something that you would like to learn about (Non work related!). Do you think you could take some steps this week to begin that learning process? Who is helping you interpret and apply your new information?


4. Allegiance to your core purpose (not just professional purpose)

This connects to Believing that you have a core purpose on this earth that goes beyond just going to work to make enough money to provide for a specific lifestyle for you and your family. That’s wonderful to do, but that in itself will not be enough to bring fulfillment over the long haul. It may work in the short term, but we all know the feeling of working hard for our money and getting the paycheck and wondering, “Is this all there is to my life?”

Knowing your Core Purpose is what allows you to make decisions along the way. If we don’t know our identity, then we’ll always be up for interpretation by work, culture, people and pressures. We’ll try to be something we feel pressured to be rather than to grow into the person we truly are with all our gifts and talents to offer our work and our community.

Once this Core Purpose is understood, you’ll have to fight for it! Almost daily, your core purpose will be attacked by the “urgent management” of todays to-do list! This doesn’t mean to-do lists are wrong or bad (in fact, they’re very important), you just want to make sure the things on the list are getting you where you want to go!

Have you ever experienced a very busy day (even crazy day), but at the end of it you look back and feel like you’ve accomplished very little? This is probably unavoidable at times, but you don’t want to make a habit out of it.

Aim for a target OF YOUR CHOOSING! The alternative is to aim for a target that someone else has determined for you (feeling out of control) or to aim at nothing (feeling lost or stuck).

Take a second to consider what one of your core purposes is? What activity gives you life and energy? What is something you could do for 5 hours straight and still have energy to keep going? That’s probably one of your core identities!


My Core: When I am doing these things, I feel like I am fulfilling my purpose on earth!

  1. Affect Change
  2. Empower & Equip
  3. Speak and Teach
  4. Connect and Network

My friend that’s a chemical engineer getting moved into a people manager position because he did such a great job in the lab! Bad idea! Depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, high BP, blood chemistry way off! He took the job because of the pay! He never considered his CORE PURPOSE!

Click here to get help finding your CORE PURPOSE


5. NO!” you need to know how and when to say no!

This connects directly to maintaining Allegiance to your Core Purpose. The goal isn’t to say NO to more things! The goal is to say “NO” to the things that don’t move you forward in your personal growth and development. These are the items that you will be most effective in being a part of and that won’t feel like a drain on your resources of time, treasure and talent.

Most of us will bend to the external pressures we feel and say “yes” out of a sense of obligation. If we lack an internal core purpose of identity, then you’re probably doomed to being controlled by this pressure on in to the future.

So when do you say No? It’s determined by your core identity!

When I am asked to do something that doesn’t allow me to do one or more of my core purposes, I will probably say NO. This applies to taking a job, making a move, starting a venture, accepting an invitation to be a part of something in the community or in my church. If it will allow me to do one or more of these four core things, then I will probably love doing it and not feel drained. So I’m more inclined to say Yes and be of much better service because I’m working in my CORE!

Take a quick moment to think of one or two areas where you probably need to say “No”. Now simply develop an exit strategy over the next 2-4 weeks. GET IN BALANCE!!


6. Care for and serve others

If all my time is filled with “ME”, I guarantee you will not find this “balance” you’re seeking! A key ingredient in your life balance is CARING FOR AND GIVING TO OTHERS. Voluntarily giving of yourself to benefit someone else! Like with saying NO, this has to be voluntary. You can’t be pressured into caring for others and receive the benefit of BALANCE. This has to altruistic. And this doesn’t necessarily include running your kids all over town to soccer practice!

I would strongly recommend that you decide on just ONE area to care for others outside of your own home and then set a goal of remaining consistent with it. Caring for others allows us to keep The Big Picture in sight. If we just continually focus on ourselves and our agendas, we can easily slip into a narrow-mindedness that will continue to knock us out of balance. In fact, many times when I come to the conclusion that all I need is a good vacation – time to get away and spend on me, I have found that a couple of hours spent selflessly caring for and meeting the needs of someone else have given me the refreshing perspective I so desperately needed. Coaching a team, volunteering at your kids school, feeding the homeless, collecting food or clothing for the less fortunate, mentoring a younger person in their personal growth… anything your can find where you are using your time, talent, treasure or touch to benefit someone else’s life is a key ingredient for BALANCE.

Take a quick moment to think of one or two areas where you can implement this into your life? My wife and I teach the college and career group at our church and have them over for dinner at our house one night a week. (It fits in our core purpose! Speak and Teach!)

Can you think of an opportunity that is within your sphere of influence right now that you could step into and help someone else on a consistent basis? I encourage you to take steps this week to position yourself to fill that need!



7. Expression of your passions (outside of work)

And finally, a key ingredient to find and maintain balance in your life is to have opportunities to express your passions! Art, cars, sports, writing, dance, playing an instrument… there are a ton of passions out there! The question is, “Which ones are yours?” You know, it’s not uncommon for me to work with a Life Coaching Client that is depressed and lost and cannot come up with an answer for the question, “What are you passionate about?” Obviously, I’m talking about healthy passions here! “I love beer!” Now slow down, Sparky!

If you are not allowing space in your life to engage in what ignites your passion, then you can easily find yourself cold and emotionless. Like a candle that has been blown out.

I once had a Life Coaching Client that had a passion for shapes and angles? No kidding! He would spend hours drawing designs on grid paper made up completely of straight lines. Not a single arc on the page! He Loved It. He even framed them and gave them as gifts. I never really understood it, but he loved it! He had a passion and he included this expression in his life.

This expression must come out from within you! It can’t just be going along with a group. It must be YOUR passion and it must be EXPRESSED!

So, what are you passionate about? Do you think it’s possible to take steps this week to include some expression of that passion? What would that look like?





BALANCE MUST BE DELIBERATE! It won’t happen on it’s own and it won’t happen just because you “want” it to happen. You have to engage and take ownership of your growth and balance!


What will you do this week? Write it down! Remember it all begins with a BELIEF that it’s possible to be in balance! Maybe that’s your first step?


Other websites for information on Life Balance –

Mind Tools




Clay Staires