Healthier Work

What’s the best way to live? 

65+ hour weeks, long commutes, and the never ending pot of coffee might be ideas conjured up by the career driven working folks out there, with weekends being a hustle of catching up on DVR and trying to squeeze a couple of workouts in.  A healthier pace and place to do our work and live our lives doesn’t have to be a pipe dream.  In fact, there’s quite a bit of research out there to support the notions of healthy work/life/energy initiatives (like this one, and more recently, this one from Gallup).  For many of us, chasing the dream of balance sets us off spinning rather than anchors us down.  I know I’ve been there. 

Who wants to be off-balance?

Striking balance personally, professionally, and spiritually is something that we at Talerico Group take really seriously when serving our clients.  There’s an energy that must be managed when it comes to taking care of ourselves (personally)—our relationships and bodies matter.   Managing professional expectations responsibly and effectively of course impacts the bottom line and has value.  But managing our energy, and consistently finding a healthy headspace matters too.  Who wants to be a burned-out soul? 

Looking at ways to engage on all fronts and be situated in a healthier work place, pace, and lead with promising possibilities in mind makes everyone better.  We think that some consideration of these 5 areas might help you as much as they have helped us:

5 Thoughts to Strike Balance

worldclass strengths.jpg

1.       Lead with Strengths.

Research proves that when people lead with strengths, they have greater productivity.  When entire organizations lean on peoples’ strengths, they see a 19% increase in sales and a 73% lower turnover.  Leading with strengths makes people better, more confident, and more engaged.  We use CliftonStrengths to help people understand what their unique strengths look like for them, and are staffed with two Gallup-Certified Strengths Coaches.

 2.       Understand Boundaries.

There’s a great temptation in work to feel the need to achieve everything, become all things, and consent to anything.  Dr. Henry Cloud, co-author of the famous “Boundaries” series, helps us understand this better by writing, “Boundaries are where our identity comes from.  Boundaries define what is me and what is not me.  Our work is part of our identity in that it taps our particular giftedness and the exercise of those gifts in the community” (Book 1, p. 213).  When we lose who we are because what we need to be, our work, life, and self, suffers.  Understanding what core values we ascribe to, and what we will not violate makes all the difference in the world.


This is me. Right now.

This is me. Right now.

3.       Own Your Stuff.

No body is perfect, nor should they be.  Where are your blindspots, and how do you deal with them?  Not sure, ask the person whom you have the greatest degree of conflict with and you’ll get some feedback.


4.       Communicate.  Communicate.  And then, over-communicate.

So, what DOES matter to you?  Where do your values and responsibilities land you?  Practice articulating this—even if it is in the mirror or to a trusted friend, colleague, or coach.  In speaking these things, you gain power to advocate for self (and others) when boundaries are being tested and when the balance is off-kilter.  Focus on concrete solutions, S.M.A.R.T. goals (see this old blog post for more), and don’t forget to take care seriously.

5.       Care.

You matter.  Your mental health matters.  Your physical health matters.  Your professional health matters.  And you are worth it.  Self-care isn’t about the avoidance of responsibilities and holing up in a room watching Dirty Dancing (no judgments), it’s about recognizing that when the things you need most to be at your best aren’t there, course corrections are needed.  Not sure what that might look like?  A professional coach can help you uncover that and plan a strategy around safeguarding it.


I had to figure this out on my own, and my hunch is that you might have to too.  Think about it.  Talk with colleagues and peers.  Encourage these conversations and take care of yourself, and each other.

Recommended reading:

BOUNDARIES, Cloud & Townsend
OFF BALANCE, Matthew Kelly
IT’S ABOUT TIME, R.Shawn McBride & Shannon J. Gregg

Holly McIlwain is the director of Leadership Development Practice, freelance writer, the mother of two, and the master of the perfect chocolate Keto chip cookie. 
She can be reached at 412-347-6517 or by emailing