The Wall

I hit a wall. The Wall. The wall I didn’t think actually existed. Currently, I work full-time as an administrator in a teacher preparation program at a private university in Southern California. I am entering year two of my doctoral program, which means reading, writing, and reading some more. I also just began my first term as an Adjunct Professor, teaching Graduate level courses. I write a leadership blog and have a side business as a Notary Public Signing Agent,  Plus, I am a wife, mother, and Nana to five amazing grandchildren.  I’ve reached my capacity.  There isn’t anything left.

I’ve hit The Wall.

Technology allows us to work around the clock. We answer email at midnight, write reports in the early morning hours, and take conference calls in our pjs. The lines between work and life have merged so closely we can’t determine where one ends and the other begins. Creating work-life balance is not just a goal; it’s a necessity.  Experts agree that stress from the never-ending workday can damage relationships, health and overall happiness.1

Every person must determine their own method for balancing career and home.  The Wall will be different for every individual and every family.  These tips may help you find the balance that’s right for you.

  1. Unplug – It’s important to find time to unplug – move away from the phone and the computer. If you have a chance to eat a meal with your family, turn off your phone and eat. When watching your daughter’s soccer game, turn off your phone and cheer. When out on a date with your spouse or significant other, turn off your phone and engage. Relationships will always be more important than careers. Give your family the same attention you give your clients.
  2. Move Your Body – This is a message I need to give myself. We find ourselves locked in our offices and at our desks too many hours each day. Get up and move! If you can get to the gym, that’s great. If not, take a walk. Recently, my spouse and I have started taking short – very short – walks around the neighborhood after dinner. This allows time for us to reconnect, moves our muscles a little bit, and even allows us to get to know our neighbors better.
  3. Schedule Downtime – Sometimes it’s necessary to actually schedule time to relax. Schedule time each week to recharge and reconnect. Put it on your calendar and guard it as much as any other important appointment. Date night at your favorite restaurant, movie night at home, a massage, or just thirty minutes with a good book – put something on the schedule every week.

Every person’s wall is different. Understanding when you’ve reached your capacity is critical to achieving balance between home and career.  Protect your life from the sneak attacks trying to steal your work-life balance.

Guard the Wall



1 Deborah Jian Lee, Oct. 20, 2014, Tips for Better Work-Life Balance Forbes Magazine

Self Assessment

I’m often asked about the qualities of a great leader.

The truth is these qualities may look different in different people. Leadership isn’t a list of character traits and skills you can put on and take off like clothes.  

Great leadership begins by knowing who you are, what you want to be, and being willing to do what it takes to get there.  It’s developed by intentional focus on developing leadership qualities needed to be transformational.

There are excellent self assessment tools for guiding you on this journey.  Some of these tools may be familiar to you; however, when the results are reviewed together in light of your leadership development, the experience can be powerful.  Together, these tools provide a roadmap for your leadership journey.

  • Emotional Intelligence (Travis Bradberry) – You have likely read a myriad of literature on the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace.  Current hiring practices often give greater focus to EI than to work experience and education.  Bradberry’s easy-to-read book provides a good overview of the significance of emotional intelligence, as well as a self-assessment tool.   The assessment allows you to make an honest examination of your life personally and professionally and make the adjustments needed to grow as a person and a leader.
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0 (Gallup) – The StrengthsFinders assessment reveals one’s natural talents and abilities – the areas of “strength” that make a person stand out from everyone else.  This assessment will provide you with rankings for the 34 strengths themes as they present themselves in your life.  Most leaders focus on understanding and applying their top five strengths within their work life.  
  • Transformational Leadership Skills Inventory (Larick and White) – This assessment may be a bit more difficult to find.  Developed by educational researchers in 2012, it measures leadership characteristics through the four domains of problem-solving and decision-making, character and integrity, personal and interpersonal skills, and communication.  Other options for assessing leadership skills are appropriate and acceptable if the TLSi is not available in your area.  It is most important that the leadership skills inventory assesses transformational leadership in areas similar to the four domains described above.

Leadership is risky.  Failure is possible.  

But growth as a leader depends upon a willingness to accept the challenge to step outside your comfort zone and take that risk. Your growth as a leader will provide personal fulfillment and satisfaction.  

Even more important, your growth will allow you to better meet the needs of those you lead.

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