One big concern for many of the professionals who seek out coaching is how to balance, or integrate, their personal and work lives, whether they’re running a business, creating a business or working in a demanding job.

What continually intrigues me are the stories we tell around this particular topic. At its heart, this is about actively designing your life and work. Or not.

Small business owners and the self-employed tell me they need to hustle all the time just to keep things moving. Busy professionals in demanding jobs tell me they must work 60+ hour weeks to make a dent and meet workplace expectations.

And too many people tell me that taking care of what they know they need is a luxury.

There are many assumptions we’re making that might lead us to those conclusions. But they’re not the only choices we have.

Be open to the idea that there are plenty of people who are choosing a different way.

It’s a matter of honoring what’s right for you. Knowing what your real priorities are and why. Committing to your non-negotiables. Questioning your assumptions. Doing things differently to get a different result.

With that in mind, here are 3 practical, proven — and cost-free — ways to create some new rules for yourself.

Change your mind. It’s near impossible to achieve the thing that you have convinced yourself is impossible. If you don’t believe that you can have a joyful, fulfilling life and work that feeds you instead of drains you, well, then you’re just not going to have that. Plain and simple.

If you believe the conventional wisdom about “balance” being unachievable, then you won’t be doing much to achieve it, will you? If you believe there’s not another way to work, even though this one is killing your soul, you won’t hear (or implement) ways to change that. If you believe that working to burnout levels is how one gets ahead, you’ll fall back to that behavior.

Your first step is simple. Start within.

Adopt a mindset and beliefs that support what you want to achieve, not ones that cut you off at the knees before you even begin.

Look for the evidence to support this new thinking, and trust me, you will find it.

Own your priorities. This world we live in is like one giant supermarket. It’s filled with choices that nourish us and choices that will eventually deplete us. Smart choices are based in knowing what our priorities are. If we prioritize a balanced, healthy diet, for example, we’ll fill our shopping basket in one way. If we’re mindlessly following the crowd, we’ll fill it another way. If we’re numbing out and making excuses for not feeling the way we want to feel, we’ll fill it yet another way.

How are you filling the basket of your life? Are you grounded in your own personal definition of success and filling your time accordingly?

Sometimes this means making decisions that disappoint others, changing your game plan or letting go of what you’ve been told you “should” do. It absolutely requires getting clear on what you what you crave for yourself, your family and your career.

Start small. Identify 3–5 small, realistic and meaningful tweaks that you can make right away. (Go on, do this right now.)

Maybe it’s…

  • adding 2 workouts a week to your calendar
  • carving out an hour a week for strategic thinking
  • better understanding your strengths so you can put them to work
  • technology-free time
  • eating a healthy breakfast
  • getting a good night’s sleep

For example, I schedule one hour, three days a week to write. That’s achievable, stress-free, and it moves my work forward. Sometimes, I do much more, but pressuring myself to write every day when I have other priorities just creates unnecessary drama.

Now, put these items into your calendar. Once you’re in the new groove, add a couple more. Test your way to what feels nourishing and fulfilling. It will evolve with you, but I promise you’ll see results.

Originally published at

Originally published at