By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC
Our consulting and coachingclients are telling us thatmaintaining a balancebetween professional and personallife is their top challenge, concernand priority. Standing room only isthe order of the day in our Life onBalance speaking presentations tobar and other professional associations.
Lives out of balance result in stresswith numerous mental and physicalnegative consequences. Medicalconsequences can include:
Stress is one of the emotions thatinclude both fear and anxiety. It isthe emotion that results from thedesire to terminate, escape from oravoid a real or imagined, current orimminent, negatively reinforcingevent. Stress is in the eye of thebeholder. 80 percent of the effect ofa stressor is our perception of it asdeterring us from achievement of agoal. The critical test for a situationachieving stressor status is whetherthe individual feels out of control.
You can prevent stressors fromoccurring or stop them once theybegin by increasing CONTROL.
In Martin Seligman’s book -Learned Optimism, the authoradvises that people learn to becomehelpless. When people have no controlover their environment theygive up trying to exert control.Optimism is associated with highmotivation, success, achievement,and mental health. Pessimism isassociates with opposite traits.Seligman suggests the followingmodel for obtaining control:
In general, if you expect bad things- bad things tend to happen – if youexpect good things – good thingstend to happen. Focus on positiveemotions.
Unless stress is effectively managed- your personal and professional lifewill be out of balance.
Learning to manage stress in yourlife is much more difficult thanmany imagine. It requires conscientiousawareness of stressors in yourlife and efforts at developing copingskills.
Typical causes of stress include:
Your stress management strategy should begin by identifying stressors in your life. Here are some self-assessmentquestions that you should ask yourself using the following self-assessment scale:
Rate yourself on the following scale by assigning a numerical rating according to the following key:
1 – Never 2 – Seldom 3 – Sometimes 4 – Most of the Time 5 – Always
Average Score = Add up the numeric score on each response and divide by 56.
TIP #1: Take notes and note ideas and improvement areas as your complete the self-assessment questionnaire.
TIP #2: Prepare an action plan with completion timetables identified. Self-accountability should be designed into the plan.
TIP #3: Implement the plan. Work on one goal or behavior at a time until each behavior becomes a habit. Then move on to the next.
TIP #4: Appoint someone with nagging rights to help keep you on track. Hire a coach if necessary.
TIP #5: Follow-up and review.
Good luck on your journey to life on balance and staying energized and productive.
John W. Olmstead, Jr., MBA, Ph.D., CMC, is a Certified Management Consultant and the president of Olmstead & Associates, LegalManagement Consultants and Life On Balance. Both firms are based in St. Louis, Missouri. Olmstead & Associates helps law and otherprofessional service firms change and reinvent their practices. The firm provides practice management, coaching, marketing, and technologyconsulting services. Their coaching program provides attorneys and staff with one-on-one coaching to help them get “unstuck” andmove forward, reinventing both themselves and their law practices. Life On Balance helps clients improve work-life balance andimprove overall quality of work and life. Work-life coaching, consulting, and speaking services are provided. Founded in 1984, Olmstead& Associates serves clients across the United States ranging in size from 100 professionals to firms with solo practitioners. Dr. Olmsteadis the Editor-in-Chief of “The Lawyers Competitive Edge: The Journal of Law Office Economics and Management,” published by WestGroup. He also serves as a member of the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) Research Committee. Dr. Olmstead may be contacted via e-mailat firstname.lastname@example.org.Additional articles and information is availableat the firm’s web site: www.olmsteadassoc.com and www.lifeonbalance.com.
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