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 


Fast Forward Friday

Well OK. I’m a little slow on the fast forward part, but you have to admit I’m within tolerance since it’s still Friday – and it might even be pre-noon. So Happy Friday!

Last Friday (yes, a bit late to the party) my accountability partner, Coach Kim, and I finally got together to strategize about our goals for 2016. Strategize sounds a lot more audacious than simply “talk” right? So we got met at our central office (the local Biggby) to strategize about what we hope – make that PLAN, to accomplish this year. This is our second year of bonding as friends and partners in keeping each other on track with our desires to complete the tasks God has for us to do. What I love about the Bible is that there’s a verse for everything.

This is technically the 4th week of January and so far my goals are skittering, not thriving. 1Thessalonians 5:24 is a pretty good argument for pesky little voices that speak doubt instead of confidence. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” Before I wrote my goals, I prayed and asked God what he wanted me to accomplish this year. God his faithful, he will do it – and I have to do my part too.IMG_0044

Goals aren’t the focus though. The real focus is on what we do moment to moment, day to day to someday say, “I did it. I did what I said I would do.” There are numerous goal setting methods and planners that are excellent tools to help achieve our goals. But the reality is, none of those tools will work without our own effort and without God’s blessing and approval. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

Planning is good. Working toward completing things that will achieve our goals is good. God will do his part and we must do ours. Yesterday, my mind was building a mountain of all the things I could be doing if I wasn’t confined to a moving vehicle for six hours. I almost let the enemy of my soul rob me of my highest priority goal for this year. Peace. My goals for this year are stated in a way that will lead to a life of P.E.A.C.E. I’ll share them if anyone is interested, but you have to know that I had no peace while I fretted about Task Mountain.

There’s a verse in Philippians that says, “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious for anything …. I was becoming anxious. In the moments that I could unwind and just enjoy the time away from Task Mountain, my mind was racing ahead, Fast Forward Friday to what I had no control over. The rest of that passage in Philippians 4 says instead of fretting, doubting, debating, and worrying, stop it! Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, tell God what you need, ask him for what you want. This was a gift of time – free to renew my mind and stop dwelling on what I couldn’t do, and focus on what I could do.

Maybe you’re overwhelmed right now. In this moment, there is just too much. Believe me. Every person who breathes knows that feeling. Can I share something with you? Stop where you are and give your mountain to God. I promise you that even though the tasks won’t evaporate like magic, neither will you fear avalanche. You know back in ancient days before machinery and technology, men and women did some pretty amazing things. How did they do it? The God we have today is the same God back in the days of Moses. Exodus 35:31 “He has filled him with the Spirit of God—with skill, with understanding, with knowledge, and in all kinds of work, “

peaceRemember when I said I love that the Bible has something to say in every situation? Here’s hope for every situation, even for what you need to get done or want to finish today. “Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.”  2 Corinthians 8:11

Fast Forward Friday, the all-out effort to end this week looking back with a feeling of accomplishment. We all love that feeling, don’t we? But if you didn’t get it all done, look for the joy in unsuspected places. You might have given the gift of your time, offered help to a neighbor, comforted a hurting friend, spent extra time praying for others, or invested in relationships. 2 Corinthians 12:19 says it beautifully, “We are speaking in Christ before God, and everything we do, dear friends, is to build you up.”

Our lives intersect with so many people, what we do affects another, our relationships matter, what we do makes a difference. We are accountable whether it’s a formal pact or not. Our most important relationship is with God and our highest degree of accountability is to him. How would our lives be different if every day we asked God, “How well did I do in living my life for you today? Did I do what you wanted me to do?”

Just something I was thinking about.

The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith – Book Summary

When I picked up this book and began reading, I learned, within two pages, something I had never thought of before. Ask anyone what their long term goals are and, almost always, one of them will be, to make a difference. What I found out in the first few pages of this book, is that we make a difference by not giving up; by refusing to quit. Regardless of current conditions, tragedies of the past, or skepticism of the future, Hyrum Smith writes with convincing clarity, that we can have a positive impact in our world and be a catalyst to make a difference. We can’t quit. We must not give up. A summary of the entire book can be read at:

Where do the gaps come in? Beliefs, Values, and Time.the 3 Gaps book cover

The Beliefs Gap: What we believe to be true and what is actually true

The Values Gap:  What we say we value, but what we truly value shows up in how we spend our time

The Time Gap: What we plan to do in a day and what we actually get done in a day

Read the book summary here:

Do you want to make a difference? This book might be the foundation you need to make it happen.

You can buy this book now at Barnes & Noble.

Organize Tomorrow Today – book report

Organize Tomorrow Today: 8 Ways to Retrain Your Mind to Optimize Performance at Work and in LifeOrganize tomorrow
by Dr. Jason Selk, Tom Bartow, Matthew Rudy

Have you ever taken a class or even garnered best practices for productivity from articles and books, but they didn’t seem to help? The authors of this book tackle productivity issues in a much more logical way. Skill mastery is achieved through repetitions, one step at a time. That might not be new, but how we get to mastery level could be. We learn that lining up a set of skills we want to improve and bombarding ourselves with compulsions to master all of them, is a recipe for failure. This program works on the premise of choosing one thing at a time and being accountable for that one thing until conquered. The authors explain the concept of channel capacity and how so many professionals try to change too many things too quickly. They over-stuff their channel capacity.

2016 is getting close. This would be a good year to try a new tactic to mastering some new skills.  You can read a full report on the book here.


BackTrack to OnTrack

You, Lord God, will keep in perfect peace  those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 

I couple weeks ago, I posted an acronym I use to remind me that what I want in my life is Peace. Choosing P.E.A.C.E. is based on this verse, Romans 14:19 “Let us make every effort to pursue the things which lead to peace and do those things to edify and build up one another.”  At the end of this post, are the values engendered in that acronym.  Yesterday I had one of those days … Monday? Spring Fever? Unproductive – and worse, totally off track from PEACE. This verse in James 1:8 has totally invaded my conscience. “Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” I don’t want to be double-minded or unstable, but in that moment – well? Sunday night our pastor reminded us that to live a successful life, we have to keep the main thing, the main thing. I was looking for a sample of my work to send to someone and in the process found a post dated July 11, 2012 from a friend who dared to publicly report on her goals and progress … on Facebook, Twitter, and who knows how many social media sites! Publicly stated, publicly rated.   I’m not sure why I saved her post, but it has to be one of those orchestrated maneuvers known only to God, because that spoke to me. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, because it is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:22-24 What does it mean to work at ‘it’ with all my heart because it is the Lord I am serving?

Sometimes I forget that God is who I am honoring or disappointing with the choices I make. If I let Him in, God speaks to me over the rattle of ticker tape pouring through the task engine. Do you ever feel like that? About the time you feel accomplished enough to slow down, that task engine starts cranking like a turbine. By definition a turbine is a machine driven by pressure. Sound familiar? Pressure to do more, add a few more items to the list, push a few things off to the side and rearrange priorities? What would God say about my commitment to ‘keep the main thing, the main thing’? God is a God of peace and He wants that for us.

It wasn’t by chance that I saved that post titled in huge letters:  PUSHING FORWARD – A Goal/Progress Update

God knew I would be struggling today. He knew I would have said yes too many times to the unimportant while the important were left clinging to the slippery slope while I navigated and realigned with ‘the main thing’.  I’m reminded over and over that God is the God of order not of chaos. Isaiah 45:18 says this “For the Lord is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos. “I am the Lord,” he says, “and there is no other.””

So instead of tackling the mess I’ve made with my off-track voyage into chaos, why am I blogging? Because of the last E in P.E.A.C.E. and because the post written 2 years ago by Joanne Sher, which I unearthed, helped bring me back to center today. And remember that ‘main thing’? The main thing is discipleship and what is discipleship?  Well – I can’t cover that in under 600 words, but I can say that of the many responsibilities, teaching, supporting, and encouraging are among those acts found in the disciples’ job description.

If you had the formula for keeping the main thing, the main thing, wouldn’t you share it? Yes, of course you would. Let’s hit just the highlights of 1 Thessalonians 5, but you can read it all for yourself. “And live peacefully with each other. We urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid; be tender with the weak. Be patient with everyone. Always try to do good to each other. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances. Hold on to the good. Stay away from every kind of evil. May the God of peace make you holy. God will make this happen because He called you and He is faithful. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

I love that, don’t you? I’m ready to back track to get on track.  Ready? Let’s get out there.

Plan B Before Dawn

OK everybody up! Rise and shine! Good Morning to you…. Is  this going to be a great day?  YES! How do I know that?  Because God made it and I’ve decided to make it a good one.  It’s before dawn and I’m already working on Plan B; as I write this, it’s barely 5:00 am.  Plan A – a friend and I were heading outdoors to walk and talk together, just like old times … and I woke up to just like old times … rain! Bonnie, Brenda, and I used to walk in the morning before work. Tim called us the Walkie-Talkies and I guess he was right. For an hour we walked and talked – If you need a therapist, try the daily walkie-talkie club.  It’s free and effective.

I was at a Hallmark store a few weeks ago and read the inscription on a card or calendar created by Blue Mountain Arts.  “Life is all about how you handle Plan B”  How many times in a week do we say “Well that didn’t work!” and have to move on to the next idea – Plan B or maybe Plan C or H.  I’m thinking the fact that there are so many versions of a plan is biblical.  Psalm 94:11 “The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.” So what do you think?

How do we handle things that get in our way of ‘the plan’.  Remember Job?  He was a wealthy man.  He must have had a lofty Plan A, then losing out on that, he moved on. Who knows how many letters he passed B, C, D.  Notice in Job 17: 11-12 though, he was already deep in his loss and still look what he says “My days have passed, my plans are shattered.  Yet the desires of my heart  turn night into day; in the face of the darkness light is near.” Do you think Job had a positive attitude?

If you read Psalms you will notice the many laments of David over choices he made – Plan A, Plan B, Plan C … but still he was called a man after God’s own heart.  1 Chronicles 29:19-20 is a comforting passage about how David acknowledged God’s leading. ““All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the Lord’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.” David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” How many plans did it take for David to realize the “Lord’s hand”? A lifetime. During a time of battle, David comes through with his prayer for his people in Psalm 20.  Psalm 20:1-5 “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress… May he give you the desire of your heart and allow you to fulfill your purpose. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. Do you think David needed to be flexible and refuse to become defeated? In fact, David had to be the leader and the cheerleader.

There are days when attitude is everything.  It makes a difference in how we progress through our day.  Do you ever wonder why the Bible covers so many topics and do you ever wonder how we get so many practical snippets of wisdom from a few strung together passages? I’m going to take a wild guess that part of that answer is found in Romans 15:4-6 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  What do you think?  Could today be the day that you find encouragement to go on? You find settle on finding that sliver of hope maybe in Plan H?  Here’s a beautiful passage I came across this morning.  I hope you know it comes from my heart, aimed at yours. Psalm 122:8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.”  Attitude, my friends.