Is Your Work-Life in Balance?

Gillian Goerzen started off her Work-Life Balance presentation by changing the title of the workshop. She crossed out the word “WORK”, making it “life balance.” She said, “that is the problem that most of us have: we place too much emphasis on the ‘work’ part of our lives.” She quoted the fact that a shocking 1 in 3 people claim to be a ‘workaholic.’ They seem to proudly speak about how busy they are as a sort of ‘badge of honour.’

In keeping ourselves so busy, though, we often lose sight of how this affects the other aspects of our lives. When work takes up so much of our focus, what other areas are suffering? She gave a vivid example used by Brian Dyson, former CEO of Coca Cola: Consider a juggler with 5 balls representing the Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit aspects of your life. All the balls are glass, except the Work ball which is rubber. If the glass balls are dropped, they are harmed, chipped or broken. The work ball on the other hand keeps bouncing back! The message received was that (a) there will always be more work to take on regardless how much we achieve, and (b) if we are only focusing on the work aspect of our lives, how is this affecting our overall happiness and satisfaction?

Gillian made the presentation fun for us. She had us standing, balancing on one leg with our eyes open and then shut, and being pushed from one side. Doing this, we were able to maintain our balance. However, when being pushed from both sides, there was a real sense of imbalance. Like in life in general, a few outside influences doesn’t upset our equilibrium, but when we have things coming at us from all sides, we can quickly find ourselves feeling out of control.

Using a workshop format, Gillian led us through her handout where we identified different aspects of our life (body, mind and spirit) and identified components where we need some work. She focused our attention on getting in touch with how we feel when we are “in balance” and “out of balance.” We readily recognized similar challenges such as over-scheduling, fatigue, financial stress, family obligations or illnesses, lack of initiative to exercise, for instance.

Once we recognized our personal challenges, we set about finding an action plan to work on. She said, “this could involve setting new ‘rules’ for ourselves, such as spending the first hour of each day on ‘me’ time. Writing down our intentions, sharing them with others to hold us accountable and setting a realistic timeframe to accomplish our goals are techniques to ensure success.” To avoid being overwhelmed with making major changes all at once, she suggested that it is best to focus on one improvement aspect at a time until it becomes a new, learned habit, and then to tackle another change.

As Director of Development for LifeWorks Health Solutions, Gillian has the opportunity to provide presentations to large and small corporate groups. Her goal is to help participants assess their individual needs and define health and wellness in their own terms – with the corporate environment in mind. As an organization, LifeWorks Health Solutions provides turn-key fitness and wellness solutions to corporations of all sizes across Canada. Whether an organization is looking for remote solutions with no facility or for an on-site program, LifeWorks provides innovative solutions including needs analysis, facility design, ongoing online or onsite fitness programming, wellness services, educational sessions and team building.

Gillian invited everyone at the session to subscribe, at no charge, to the LifeWorks weekly blog that offers Weekly Wellness Challenges. I just did, as one of my personal follow-up action plans. This week’s wellness challenge seemed very appropriate: Set your New Year’s Resolution TODAY. What’s the best time to get started on a new track? Now — before the temptations of the Holiday Season pull us further from our goals!

Thanks, Gillian, for helping us to recognize some personal roadblocks in our day-to-day lives and inspiring us to find ways to balance the important aspects of our lives that will give us greater happiness and fulfillment! For more information on LifeWorks Health Solutions please visit: To subscribe to the Weekly Wellness Challenge, visit: