By Colleen Kettenhofen


“If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change.”
~ John A. Simone


Leadership and life balance has been a hot topic for some time now. Employers are waking up to the notion that for people to perform well they have to feel well.

How do you do that? Here are 8 essentials for creating balance:

1. Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have. We’ve all heard this before but do you practice it? There will always be someone worse off than you – whether they’re facing a financial crisis, health problems, grief and loss, or something else. If you know someone like this, think of one thing you could do to help them.

For example, there’s someone at my church who recently lost his father. A group of us decided to take food to the family. Helping someone gets your mind off your problems. And it makes you grateful for what you do have. You start focusing on the positive. As Denis Waitley says, “You are either the captive or the captain of your thoughts.”

2. Feed your strengths, starve your weaknesses. Researchers note the average person has 50,000 thoughts a day. Most of those thoughts are negative. Your mind is like a computer or the crew on a ship. What orders you give it will determine what you get.

What you dwell on becomes your destiny. What you focus on the longest becomes the strongest. Spend as much time as possible in a job, or in your life in general, in areas that utilize your strengths. Work doesn’t have to be a four-letter word!

3. Practice self-control, self-discipline and a strong work ethic. This is a paradox, but doing the things you like least first helps in creating balance. Practicing good work habits, especially early in the day frees up time later on for doing things you enjoy. And you feel more deserving.

The most successful people are those willing to do what others don’t want to do. They’ve mastered the challenge of overcoming procrastination. Live by the motto, “Just do it,” not by the tongue-in-cheek saying I saw on a t-shirt recently which said, “Just do it-tomorrow”.”

4. Decide what really matters. Make a list of those activities and individuals that put a spring in your step. What gives you energy and makes you laugh?

For example, for me spending time with certain friends is always fun because they’re hilarious. I always have belly-aching laughs when I’m with them. Take it from a 20 year cancer survivor, study after study illustrates that laughter is the best medicine. Conversely, what detracts from your life and drags you down? Start phasing those things out of your life.

5. Focus on having fun. No matter busy and stressful your days, schedule some time for fun. In creating balance, what makes you happy? For instance, in the hot Arizona summers I often take my dogs on day trips to Flagstaff. Being at 7,000 feet in the pines helps me “fill the well.” There’s nothing like crisp mountain air and the smell of the pines to make me forget the cares of the world. What helps you forget the cares of the world? Go out and do that!

6. Spend time in silence. Make an effort to get more sleep. Studies have shown getting enough sleep helps reduce cravings for carbs and sweets. Temporarily turn off your cell phone, Blackberry, TV or car stereo. Before bed spend quiet time in prayer or meditation.

7. People-pleasers: You know who you are. Learn to say no. Or, if there’s something you must do, ask for support from others. Don’t try and do it all yourself. Sometimes you have no choice but to do everything on your own, but other times you really can garner support from other people in your life. Learn to recognize the difference.

8. Concentrate single-mindedly on one task until it’s complete. Stop multitasking. Sometimes when you try to do 10 things at once, you end the day feeling that you haven’t accomplished anything.

Lastly, research points to the fact that survivors of emotional, physical, or circumstantial difficulties practice eight things: strong spiritual belief, sense of humor, strong support system, a connection to nature, goals, proper nutrition, openness to new ideas, and get sufficient rest and exercise. In creating balance, which of these can you create today?

“Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life – learn some and think some, and draw and paint and sing and dance, and play and work every day some.” ~ Robert Fulgham

Colleen Kettenhofen is an award-winning speaker, author, media veteran, and devoted animal lover who has presented keynotes and seminars before thousands in 48 U.S. states and five foreign countries. She has conducted more than 1,100 programs on leadership, dealing with difficult people, presentation skills, and change/stress management. Colleen is the author of “Secrets Your Boss Isn’t Telling You,” as well as the creator of 10 unique audio programs. For more information, or to schedule Colleen Kettenhofen for speaking, coaching, or consulting visit Or call (971) 212-0479.