Work-Life Balance Brilliance by Denise R. Green: book summary

Have you ever thought of hiring a life coach? Have you ever wondered what you could achieve if you had an accountability partner? Maybe you’ve tried the novel approach to creating different results than the trajectory you are on right now. If you are self-motivated at all, this book could be the recipe for positive momentum in finding what works for you. One glance at the book cover should clue you in to what the author thinks of work-life balance. In fact, the title of the book is, Work-Life Balance Brilliance and isn’t that really what we want from our lives and from our work?

I usually don’t copy chapter titles into a book summary, but in this case, the chapter titles are like opening the doors and giving you a full spectrum view of why this book functions like a personal coach. Burnout versus Brilliance, Tame Your Thoughts, Reinvent Your Outer Self, Nurture Brilliant Relationships, Manage Your Relationship with “Stuff”, Brilliant Sleep., How Not to Change, How to Choose the Right Goal, How to Change for Good, How to Say No with Grace, Not Guilt. Now you can see why I wanted to reveal the chapter titles before mentioning what is so fascinating and magnetic about this book.  From the outset, I had a feeling there was a meaningful purpose behind the writing of this book that I could identify with and Denise Green described it. “I’m on a mission to help people light the spark within them that may feel like it’s been nearly snuffed out due to the demands of life.” Does that sound anything like your dilemma? Here’s your next book.    Work-Life Balance Brilliance  

This book, with the chapters listed above, can best be described as a tool for knowing yourself and understanding inspirations and aspirations within and how your relationships and interactions are key in creating brilliance. The author identifies the four realms of Whole Life Integrations which she calls Brillance. Then through stories and instructive dialog, she coaches you through the steps to create that work-like brilliance.

I am a huge advocate of being careful with thoughts because thoughts drive actions. I was impressed with the content of the chapter, Tame Your Thoughts. Green doesn’t just rely on dialog to teach the methods of controlling thought. She offers a 6-step upgrade tool that I would call guided self-reflection. Then she offers advice on how to make your release from negative thoughts really stick.

Some strong points of this book are in the toolkits integrated with each chapter. Story is interesting, and case studies are evidence that somewhere along the line the principles taught in the book worked for someone. All you have to do is read through some of the action items to know that, if put into practice, many of your niggling aspirations could become your reality. By implementing some of the basic ideas suggested could bolster your confidence and give you an edge toward balance which you will redefine as brilliance. You don’t have to change everything. The changes will be dictated by what you discover about yourself and about relationships as you work through the pages of the book and guidance received by using the focus-inciting questions.

When I read a book like this one, I have a tendency to choose a favorite chapter. Manage Your Relationship With “Stuff” was a surprise. It is a powerful game-changer. Rarely have I read a book like this one that so aptly presents the tethers that hold us back like our ‘stuff’. Denise Green points out that we have two limitations that are huge. Time – we get 24 hours every day. Period. Physical – we operate with imperfect bodies that need to be taken care of – sleep is one thing most of us need more of. Note: we get 24 hours every day. Period. The author remarks that “This Brilliance realm (relationship with stuff) includes our relationship to our spaces, possessions, technology, and time.”  Certainly, every reader can identify with the components we all deal with every day and how we allow them to affect our world makes this book invaluable to creating a brilliant life. Do you need ideas for managing your time, designing a winning pattern for your day, working productively in your environment, managing technology? How about reducing your exposure to toxic energy? The toolkit consists of worksheets to help you replace those components that are not serving you.

Remember sleep? Some of us are more familiar with the lack of it. The chapter titled Brilliant Sleep is – well – brilliant. Whether you suffer from legitimate insomnia or sleep deprivation brought on by environmental or physical or activity conditions, the best practices for sleep hygiene in this chapter are priceless. Yes, we all know the trick of going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every day. We know to restrict caffeine in the afternoon. We might, on the advice of a physician, take melatonin. We might invest in a book that sends us to sleep because it provides absolutely no spark of interest. If you want to sleep and have forgotten what it feels like to get adequate sleep, you aren’t alone. The tips in this book are plentiful.

The final chapters of the book are based on putting legs on what you learned in the first part of the book. What do you want to change? What goals do you have? Are they the right goals for how you envision your work-life brilliance future? I remember hearing someone say that we invest ten months planning a two-week vacation and about ten minutes planning our future existence. That’s probably not truly accurate, but isn’t it true that we have goals, but may not know if they are the right goals until we get there and realize they aren’t?

This book, like a life coach, walks through the realms of life and helps you create a vision for your best life, set the right goals, determine how you will get there, and make wise choices of what you will do and what you will not. The author concludes with what I think of as the magic three. I mean if there was a bit of magic in all this.  Green says in her final address to readers, “If I were forced to describe achieving work-life brilliance in a few steps, those steps would include Assess, Choose, Change.”

There is no magic, but if you’re looking for help in reinventing your life, this book can bring magical results.

This book summary was first published at BizCatalyst360.com.  https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/work-life-brilliance/ 

Beyond Books: BKPedia digital subscription

What’s your favorite part of going to a Chinese restaurant? Right. The fortune cookie that sort of ties up the meal when the tiny paper message is pulled from its cracked shell. Whoever is gathered around the table reads their fortune and everyone gets to decide if it fits or if that cookie belonged on someone else’s table. Recently, my fortune was tailor made for me. “Treat yourself to a good book for a needed rest and escape.” I have the perfect solution, instant gratification, because I have a BKPedia subscription.  This means I have hundreds or books available to read anytime, anyplace.  Berrett-Koehler publishers has collections of their own publications as well as content from The Center for Creative Leadership and AMACOM available to read electronically or as a printable PDF. BKPedia is the mecca for avid readers.

The very first thing I noticed when I scrolled down the page on the website [http://bkconnection.bkpedia.com/] was the collection of authors I have already come to admire through their books. Here are just a few whose books I can rave about honestly because I read their book and liked it enough to write a book report. See if any of these names stand out: Ken Blanchard, Jesse Lyn Stoner, Peter Block, Cheryl Bachelder, Jennifer Kahnweiler, Marshall Goldsmith, Devora Zack, Fred Miller Chip Bell, and too many others to list. Believe me – this digital subscription is valuable.Capture

Besides books there are also articles and case studies written by experts in the business, economics, and leadership communities. Here’s something you don’t see often. Along with each book, there are observations and thoughts to apply more of what the author is teaching. Many of the authors can be contacted by email to discuss subjects from their book in more detail. I’ve read books where the author provides contact information in their book and have taken advantage of that offer many times in the past. The advantages of dialog with an expert in a field I’m passionate about is something I appreciate.

If you visit BKPedia at http://bkconnection.bkpedia.com/ you can sign up for a trial subscription and if you love top selling books on leadership, organizational development, team building, and management this is an opportunity to try risk free. That’s what I did. I have access to two collections adding up to over 300 titles, Advances in Leadership and Management and Organizational Change and Innovation, so there is no way I’ll run out of excellent books to fill my quiver. The first book I laid eyes on in the very long list of titles was A Peacock in the Land of Penguins. That has been on my reading list for over a year and I was able to access the book in a matter of seconds.

Start with a free trial to see how easy it is to find books, read on your computer, tablet, or phone. I don’t know if all books are downloadable as PDFs but the ones I looked at have that feature. BKPedia is a valuable resource with instant access to feed my addiction to lifelong learning. Something for everyone who leads or follows in organizations or at home.

Here’s the link to the BKPedia website to sign up for your free trial. http://bkconnection.bkpedia.com/

Kids With Benefits

I was talking with a friend yesterday who has children the ages of my youngest grandchildren as we talked I realized how blessed my life has been because of children. First my own, now grandchildren. As I write this, I look around and the evidence of children surrounds me. The pile of family pictures I’m choosing from to create a collage for the Annual Anderson News You’ll Never Use newsletter, a calendar open to December messy with planned family events – a movie, concert, kids program, Christmas Eve. The family room still shows signs of a well-played out Sunday afternoon – a blanket fort (mostly collapsed), Barbie houses set up neighborhood style with the wardrobe and itty bitty shoes tossed all over (just like a real life bedroom). Kids create a lot of work. Kids also create a lot of joy.

On my phone, I have stored hundreds of pictures – most of them kids and grandkids. I also have cherished text messages – “love you”. I am neither a perfect parent, nor a perfect grandparent, but should I ever question my value as a grandparent or parent, I carry the written proof around with me 18 hours out of every day. Kids provide unconditional love, are forgiving and supportive.

I pay real money for great report cards. The truth is, the report cards would be great even without the incentive, but this is my way of wrapping my arms around each child and saying “I’m so proud of you!” in a tangible way. Education is important and being able to read well is one path to guaranteed success.  The monetary bonus is miniscule in comparison to the future it represents. Kids are the future.  Whether through education or life experience it’s our responsibility as parents and grandparents to prepare kids to make wise decisions and lead knowledgeable, productive lives. I also love to go overboard just a little at Christmas and choose gifts I know will be the source of happiness for many months after the season has passed. Kids are expensive and worth every penny.Christmas 2012

I never thought much about the verses in the Bible about children.  You know the ones about children being a heritage from the Lord; and blessed are the parents who have their quiver full; and a little child shall lead them.  What I have learned though is that kids come to us packaged with the same emotional, physical, and spiritual needs that we, as adults have. They need encouragement, love, acceptance, and they need physical comforts – and a few extravagances too.  Whether you have your own children or not, there is a child in your life who needs you. You might be an aunt, an uncle, a distant cousin, a childless neighbor – your experience with kids might be just what you watch out your window or listen in on parents talking at work. Maybe you don’t even like kids.  I’m not sure how that happens, since you were once a kid yourself. But let’s get beyond that.

This is the Christmas season. Take the opportunity to participate in the life and encouragement of a child. Here are some ways – please pick one and be a star in the life of a child. Local area toy donations, say ‘yes’ to one charity fund raiser, Salvation Army Red Kettle donation sites, Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, Goodwill, in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area there is Kids Food Basket, Mel Trotter Mission, In The Image, and many others.

See kids for who they are – young people, just like you, only updated to today’s version. We’re all used to updated versions of everything else, aren’t we?

Beyond Procrastination: How to Stop Postponing your Life (Book Review)

What is holding you back? Is it possible you’re delaying the greatness in your life because of hurdles and barriers?  This book, Beyond Procrastination, can help you. Your path might not be clear, but your future is waiting. Let’s get started NOW!  http://bizcatalyst360.com/beyond-procrastination-how-to-stop-postponing-your-life/

beyond procrastination book cover

Hello! And then … What comes after that?

Last night a new Twitter follower sent me a direct message. Before I tell you what it said, you have to understand that I have yet to receive a direct message that was not asking me to buy their product or hire them to change my life. This one was different.

Social media is a big part of my life. In today’s vernacular it would be called my platform, but to me, social media is simply the vehicle I use to bring attention to my friends who need customers for their businesses, or to promote organizations whose values I respect, or congratulate achievements, publically express thanks, wish a happy birthday. Most of all, social media is the one method I use to instantly encourage one person or a hundred. It’s free, it’s quick, and it’s always sincere.

Since I have your attention – you’re reading this aren’t you? I think you’ll agree that social media opens up avenues of expression that didn’t exist even 20 years ago. For good or for bad, social media is our modern megaphone with the benefit of indelible sky writing.  (Now you know why they call it the cloud.) If you say it, write it, record it – it sticks. There’s a verse in 2 Corinthians 5 where Paul says “We make it our aim to always please God.” There was no internet back then, but the Bible doesn’t morph with the times. Our goal should be for every act to be pleasing to God.

When someone follows you on Twitter, it’s common courtesy to follow back. I’m extremely picky about who I follow because once I connect with them, their values feed right into my information stream through quotes, articles and photos they post. True, I can block them, but why invite the first offensive post to begin with? When someone follows me, I read through some of their tweets and if they pass inspection I reply with my cyber style Hello. “Thanks for following. Treat yourself to joy every day!” It might sound crazy to you but it makes perfect sense to me. Hello – let me encourage you.

So yesterday I followed back and said “Thanks for following. Treat yourself to joy every day!” Within minutes I received a direct message: I appreciate the Follow. If I may ask, would you share your mission statement? Many thanks!

In 140 characters or less, could I describe my mission? It brought to mind this passage in 2Corinthians 6:4-7 (CEV) Paul is talking, but it explains so well what is on my own heart. “But in everything and in every way we show that we truly are God’s servants. We have always been patient, though we have had a lot of trouble, suffering, and hard times … We have worked hard and have gone without sleep or food. But we have kept ourselves pure and have been understanding, patient, and kind. The Holy Spirit has been with us, our love is real, we speak the truth, and God’s power has worked in us. In all our struggles we have said and done only what is right.”

“If I may ask, would you share your mission statement?” Hello. And yes, yes I can share my mission statement.  “To use my gift of encouragement, to share God’s love, and make a difference in the world.”

When you meet someone for the first time or for the millionth time, what comes after Hello?

You are now entering the mission field!

Can we start over at the gateway to summer?  In June, didn’t we all feel like we were on a mission to enjoy the days of summer?  How successfully did that mission progress? The countdown has begun. Mom’s everywhere are on the fence with this one.  On one side, the return to structure, a time to wake and a time to sleep. On the other side, the return to structure, a time to wake and a time to sleep. See the dilemma?  These days preceding the start of school are evaporating.  When entering a store I want to wrap a tarp around the displays of schools supplies to hold back the reality that summer is nearly over. How can it be that August is so quickly slipping away when there are so many activities still waiting to transpire? ERGH! Can we go back to June, please, when we were just embarking on our mission?  I know what the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” but can’t we stretch this season out a lot longer?

What do you love most about summer? Is it vacation? Catching a few extra minutes (or maybe hours) of deck time? A chance to be outside till God turns the stars on? Running errands that have no obligated set time to be done? Downshifting a little, instead of feeling like every gear is programmed to shift on command? Opportunities to gather with friends for a few hours without wondering if you’ll be plowing snow all the way home? Sounds like a mission of a different variety, doesn’t it?

I love every season. In fact I love every day of the week. Some are more fun than others – like summer, like vacations. But then back to work and back to reality and back to ‘that’ mission field.  For some of us it’s a job, for others it’s schools, and for everyone it’s a place to be.  That place to be, no matter who we are is our mission field.  It’s that place where just by being in it we can make a difference. I read a lot, listen to podcasts and watch countless videos. The number of social media evangelists telling me what I have to do to be successful is overwhelming. Their mission field is vast compared to mine. But this one thing is true for me and it’s true for you, we all have a mission. We have a place to serve – a place to make a difference – a place to shine. Some of us take the scenic route, a crooked path, a mountainous trail, while others seem to know their mission like an internal compass stuck on true north.  For those who lack that pinpoint precision, we gain unparalleled experience from all the ups and downs, twists and turns while wandering.  The key is building a strong foundation of experience as we cross boundaries, then use what we’ve learned to help others and help ourselves too.  Our mission field might be small and familial or it might be diverse and seem foreign.  Most of us are not called to acts of prominence or fame but each of us is called to be a light right where we are.

My mission field at home and at work is my opportunity to make a difference.  It’s yours too. We don’t know the impact one small act of kindness will make.  Philippians 2:1-4 says: “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

What is your mission field? Does it feel like unknown territory?  The entire landscape of my day will be different from yours.  We know different people, we live in different places, what we do every day is different. We have a kaleidoscope of opportunities on our mission fields all needing just one thing to be effective.  Light!  The places where light makes the most difference is where there is no light.  Proverbs 13:9 says “The light of the righteous shines brightly.” We look toward the Light of the World to receive energy, contentment, and an unlimited supply of joy.  Colossians 3:23 reminds us that “Whatever we do, we are to work at it with all our heart, just like we are working for the Lord.” No matter where we live, work, go to school, or play, whatever gifts God has given each of us, we are responsible to Him to work at it with all our heart and be faithful.  1 Thessalonians 5:24 tells me if God calls me to do something he will be alongside me helping me do it. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

Leaving the gateway of the summer camp I attended, there was a sign that read “You are now entering the mission field.”  Back then I didn’t think about the significance of that simple statement. Now I recognize its truth. I could spend years looking for my mission, when all along I have been on my mission field, the place where every day I make a difference.  The question is, what kind of difference am I making?

Ready?  You are now entering the mission field. Let’s get out there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDjstImknnU

Perception

Do you remember Miss Minnie Pearl? I think my first recollection of her was back in the radio days of listening to the Grand Ole Opry but if that’s not it, I remember her from the television program Hee Haw. She wore plain house dresses, sensible tie-up shoes, and a straw hat with its price tag hanging off to one side.  She was an audacious comedian who could take an ordinary situation andRobin photo by Lori Edgington turn it into hilarity just by the way she phrased her sentence.  In one scene Miss Minnie was in a room with someone the audience couldn’t see and she was describing a compliment she had been given.  “He said I look like a fresh breath of spring.” Then quietly to herself so the audience can hear, Minnie admits, “What he really said was I look like the end of a long, hard winter.” You can laugh now.  That was funny.

That story has stuck with me for at least 25 years.  I’ve never forgotten it because while it was meant to be funny, and it was, there is also a solid truth contained in it.  Things are not always as they seem. Sometimes we say one thing and it’s interpreted incorrectly. What we perceive is not what was intended. There are few black and white circumstances, but there’s a lot of gray.  We have to ask forgiveness for, or be the forgiver of, misunderstandings.  A few days ago I wrote about being downhearted.  Psalm 42 reveals a downhearted David.  In other Psalms he was full of joy and in love with life.  Isn’t that how our life path is? Up and down, spiraling like a roller coaster.  This verse, about midway through that chapter in Psalms was like David stopped and took a breath from is sadness. Psalm 42:8 “By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.”

Even without having a face to face talk with David, I’m sure he spent a lot of time talking to God about his perception of things in his life.  He didn’t have TV or the Internet to influence his opinion. He couldn’t Google himself to see where he ranked on the popularity polls.  He didn’t own a smart phone with instant access to friends and enemies. Still he had perception.  I think David prayed a lot for God to give him a right attitude, proper perspective and for wisdom to be in his mind and heart.  We can pray for all of that too.  James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”  Reading further in James is this from the Message translation. James 3:17-18 “Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.”

Ready for today?  Our mission waits.  Let’s get out there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttKnLwwHlig