ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition - August 2000

Issue Highlight - Homeward Bound
--- Peter Block offers some practical reccomendations about how to create balance and harmony in your life.
These recommendations are guaranteed to work or your time back."

In This Issue...
The Economics of Choice
Children: A Blessing or a Lucky Taxbreak
Welcome to the Wild West
The Struggle to Have It All

Peter Block Column
Day In The Life Stories
Views for a Change

Heard on the Street
Letters to the Editor

Views For A Change

Consultant Q&A

Joan Goldsmith Responds:

  The continual search for a life that combines the joys of family, the vitality of career and the fulfillment of community service is familiar to most of us. I know it is for me. As a trainer, coach and consultant for leaders, I have three suggestions to offer for balancing the demands of a complex life and for meeting opportunities offered by success.

  1. We are born into families with expectations and attitudes toward work and achievement. From infancy, family patterns program our expectations for achievements and expressions of ourselves. Unfortunately, few of us take the time to peel back the layers of family history dictating who we should be and how we should live and work. The first piece of advice I have is that we make explicit and understand the legacy we have inherited from our families of origin so we can choose who we want to be and how we want to live our lives. Once we feel in control of who we are, where we are headed and how we are going to get there, we will be able to start fashioning a balanced life.

  2. Balance is not only an end, it is a means of achieving success. It produces a less anxious, effective processing of experience and a smoother flow of experience. Research indicates that successful leaders balance their needs, energies and ambitions with those of family members and friends. As they create a balanced relationship with themselves, they are more successful in recruiting others to work on their behalf. Thus, the problems we face become less pressing when others join us in solving them. Being driven by what we should do or achieve throws us out of sync with our own natural pace, the flow of events and the natural rhythms of relationships. The root cause of stress is our lack of balance in meeting our own needs. When we find peace from meditation, moments of quiet thought, and release with laughter we find balance in ourselves, and can solve problems with equanimity and accomplishment.

  3. There are no models for how to balance career, family, friends, community service, exercise, relaxation, spirituality, citizenship, cultural life, hobbies, travel and more. The danger is thinking we can resolve these conflicting demands by ourselves. The struggle to figure it out, create a game plan and achieve balance requires support. Our families, colleagues, community members and e-mail buddies are helpmates who can offer assistance, and are probably searching for similar balance in their own lives. Those who succeed in achieving balance do so with the support of significant others in their lives.

  My hope is that each of us recognizes who we truly are, finds inner peace with support during times of stress, and creates new ways of operating as a nurtured member of our family, team and community as we discover new sources of inner peace and equilibrium.

JOAN GOLDSMITH has been a management consultant, coach, trainer and educator for the past 30 years, specializing in leadership development, organizational change, conflict resolution and team building. Formerly a member of the Harvard Graduate School of Education faculty, Goldsmith is coauthor of "Thank God It's Monday! 14 Values to Humanize the Way We Work."

H. James Harrington Responds
Question for the Consultants

August 2000 NFC Homepage


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