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 


Who will you live your life for?

Let’s be clear. I have no ambition toward wealth, no aspirations to lead a company from the corner suite. I have no yearning to live in a million dollar home or drive a $65,000 car. When I dream big, I don’t dream of a 6-figure income and a budget to fly around the world choosing where to stop for lunch and where to sleep at night.  When I dream big, all the characters on my storyboard fit and all the pieces have a place.  When I dream big I dream of success, not measured by the numbers on my W-2 or my name engraved on an office door, but success measured by God’s standard compared to my obedience.  Have you ever wondered why our 21st century lives couldn’t have little compartments where we could meet with God, you know; one on one to talk things through.  We could hand Him our ideas with a black marker and have him cross off the things that would shift us from his perfect will.  Our experience with choices often create a dilemma. This Or That Way Directions On A SignpostIt seems that Joshua was given wise counsel in Joshua 1:7  ““Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”  Maybe back in those days there were fewer choices and the 10 Commandments built sufficient boundaries – or not.  Joshua was serious about his divine call and like me and like you his desire was to fulfill his God given purpose. For Joshua, it was to      be a confrontational commander, a tough leader with a military mindset. He had no margin for error.  When he dreamed big, he had to see victory in the future of the Israelites.  That was success for Joshua – that is not success for me, and probably not for you.

Have you wondered, maybe not today, but at some time if you are living the life God designed for you? When making decisions isn’t it difficult to know for sure how your list would look if you could hand it to God with that black marker and ask Him to draw you a map – with steps to success clearly marked? I downloaded the book Simply Rich, the latest book by Rich DeVos. The front cover description expresses “Rich DeVos helped create one of the world’s biggest companies— Amway— and did it from the ground up, with little but his deep faith in God to guide his decisions and keep his hopes alive.” I’ve read the history of the Amway Corporation many times. In 1969 a friend of my dad came to talk about jumping into becoming an Amway distributor, but since this meant being ‘yoked’ with a business, he wanted a second opinion about his venture. The story included the meager beginnings, the triumphs and defeats, but most important the testimonies of two men who acted out of their devotion and dedication to God.

I don’t know any member of the DeVos family or the VanAndel family. I know from reading two other books by Rich DeVos, ‘Believe‘ and ‘Hope From My Heart‘ that in cultivation of their business and in the development of their families, they chose a godly path. Because of their many cycles of start, stop, switch, start over do you think there were many cries to God for wisdom and guidance? Do you think there were pleas for God to draw a map of his will?  I do too. Do you think they read this New Testament verse multiple times?  Hebrews 10:36 “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised”.

In West Michigan especially, but in all parts of the world the abundant blessing of God on the Amway Corporation is evident. There are benefactors that exist only because two men followed the leading of God to His divine definition of success for their organization.  I am thankful for the Christian character of Rich DeVos and the late Jay VanAndel.  I’m thankful for their unparalleled generosity. I’m thankful that they recognized their divine purpose and were determined to be successful according to God’s standards.

What can we do to be successful according to God’s standards?  Envision for a moment, handing over that that paper and marker to God. At the top of the list … Seek the Lord your God.  Deuteronomy 4:29 “But if from there you  seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  What else? 2458-1013-A2503I’ve spent more than my fair share of suggesting to God that he had me mixed up with someone else. I’m sure I’ve exhausted God’s patience with endless what-if hypotheses and why-not speculations. I’m relatively certain this verse in Romans was intended for me. Romans 9:20-21But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”  Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”  

God exercises patience and is long suffering because he isn’t just loving, He is love. God knows the heart of each of his children. When we question, when we dream, when we endeavor, when we conscientiously pray for direction from above, God shines a light on the path so we can stay the course or get back on track.  This promise is a comfort to people like me who live immersed in questions.  Isaiah 42:16I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

In the final analysis, this verse spoke volumes to me this morning in my quiet time.  It’s a good question.  Who am I serving? Galatians 1:10  “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Faith or Fact?

I remember the first time I ever heard the term ‘poster child’. I was 10 years old, sitting in the living room with my mom and her friend waiting for Sunday dinner to be ready. They were discussing a picture on the back of a magazine where Easter Seals presented their poster child, encumbered by leg braces, and supported by metal crutches.  Since then I’ve come to hear different nuances of that term ‘Poster Child”.  They are the ‘Poster Child’ for discord, ‘Poster Child’ for medical mystery, ‘Poster Child’ for anger, ‘Poster Child’ for drama. I never hear ‘Poster Child’ for optimism, ‘Poster Child’ for human service, ‘Poster Child’ for – well anything good.

I’ve spent some time contemplating a ‘Poster Child’ designation, wondering what I could do to earn that designation.  On April 7, 1986 the Los Angeles Times published a requirement for choosing the Easter Seals Poster Child. They need a special talent described as “a regular, delightful kid,” 6 to 12 years old, who has another, far more elusive talent–the ability to be happy and whole despite a physical disability.”  There are no negative connotations in that description, in fact, it is the antithesis of negative. Here’s what I discovered. Faith. I want to be the Poster Child for Faith. How hard can it be, right?

Don’t I believe Proverbs 3:5-6? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Faith works well when the path is straight, and plans are falling into place. But what if plans fall, and fall really hard? Suddenly I realize that wasn’t faith; that was fact. The road ahead is visible, the path is straight, I can see it. Hebrews 11:1 says “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will Blocks Spelling Faith Falling Over As Symbol for Lack Of Trustactually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

I love it when I have a clear view of the future. I get enthused about projects that come with a plan. I’m motivated by forward progress. How about you? Do you give a little cheer when you check that task off your list? Or even better – when you throw the list away. Don’t we gain optimism and incentive from verses like Psalm 20:4 “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” I know I do. I’m all over that one! And I have no problem reminding God that he promised to do that. And God has no problem reminding me that the desires of my heart must first align with His. You know. Like Psalm 40:8 “I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”

When the road gets rocky and that once smooth path becomes a precarious obstacle course and there is nothing but brambles ahead, where is my faith then? Do I trust? Or do I find myself pulling out the ledger and noting the facts, the visible evidence of God’s blessings? Do I relinquish my faith? Or do I relinquish control and take the advice of Hebrews 4:7? “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.”

I realize after much soul searching and introspection, that what my heart demands is authentic faith that needs no physical evidence that God is with me not just in the good times, but also the bad. What God promised me in the light is life navigated smoothly along visible, well maintained tracks, a few curves, a few hills, but not much deviation from plan. When the dark times come, when it’s impossible to predict why or what or how, when life feels like a train wreck, I have to keep believing. What God promised me in the light is still true in the dark.

Joshua 23:14 “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”

To be a Poster Child is a reward – a man-made, humanly designated reward. What my soul craves is not to be a Poster Child of Faith for human recognition, but to have a faith that pleases God.   Hebrews 11:6 “It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”

So how about it. What do you want to be the ‘Poster Child’ for?

Downhearted? No!

Are we downhearted, no, no, no –  Are we downhearted, no, no, no – Troubles may come and troubles may go, but we’ll trust in Jesus … I remember standing up in children’s church at the age of 8 surrounded by other kid’s singing with our outside voices, boisterous and in no particular key. Singing and shouting – Are we downhearted?  No! No! No!   But sometimes we are downhearted.  It’s easy to sing the words, belt them out for all the world to hear, but rumbling deep inside is a source of discontent that doesn’t stop when we hear the music.  What we know at age 8 about being downhearted, is little comparison to how that translates into realities of adulthood.  Right?

That’s only partially right.  This is why.  Doesn’t life experience teach us that life is a series of good and bad, mountain top joy and pummeled defeat, troubles come and troubles go? How often do we prayerfully claim what Jeremiah says in chapter 32: 27 ““I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” I have countless times gone to the Lord and pointed out to him that I can’t change this circumstance, but “God, you can. Nothing is too hard for you.” Does that sound familiar?
At that point, my fretting should be over. When I pray, “God, please take this.” I should be at peace and let go of the tenacious grasp on whatever it is that’s robbing my energy and blinding me from noticing everything else that’s good in my life.  Time to trek back to the ultimate living document – the ‘thankful list’.  If you don’t have a thankful list, there are many benefits to having one.  When I forget about the blessings in my life, I am reminded of them when I read my thankful list.  I’m not sure how I came up with that idea back in the winter of 2003, but I remember I was leading a Bible study at the time and when we were in Isaiah, I was prompted to start writing down everything I was thankful for because when I was deeply discouraged, I needed the reminder that even though everything seemed to be working against me for that time, I had many more things to be thankful for.  The ‘thankful list’ replaces negative thoughts and renews my mind so I can think of good things.

Here are a few encouraging words for today. If you are in the dungeon of defeat, or scaling the top of the mountain remember that no matter what, no matter where, life is best when God is there.  I’m going to skip thought Isaiah 58 – hang on while we learn that God is with us. “your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you,  and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard…. you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame….. then you will find your joy in the Lord.” And Isaiah 60: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples,  but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.

He is with you ,,,, God is with you,