Last year I had the privilege of inviting my mentor and business coach, Stephanie Collins, to speak at Natural Products Expo West 2011. Her interactive approach during her workshop that Saturday afternoon had far-reaching effects on the 30 some participants. Several attendees approached me after the workshop to tell me it was the best session that year, and they requested that I bring her back again this year.
Collins is the founder of JumpSpark Coaching & Consulting. She has spent nearly 20 years in the communications field as a coach, trainer, and organizational consultant. Collins helps entrepreneurs, business owners, and their teams achieve greater productivity, workplace effectiveness, improved communications, leadership development and life/work balance.
I recently sat down with Collins and asked her to give a preview of her workshop for those who did not get the opportunity to attend last year.
Why does work/life balance seem so unattainable to some of us?
"We get into patterns that actually can sabotage our own success," said Collins. "People like to remain comfortable and when people are out of balance they see what they desire and they see the change that they want to make, however it is sometimes uncomfortable to make that change. It can feel risky. Even though they want it and they know what they need to do for a healthy change, they continue stay in their comfort zone, even if it’s not very pleasant; it’s what they’re used to.”
Symptoms and risk of an imbalance
Collins readily names physical illness as a major symptom of being out of balance. “There are big signals we need to pay attention to," she said. "Generally people come to me waving a white flag, recognizing they can’t do this on their own, and they must change the way they do things. By the time they embrace that new direction, they may already be on a path leading towards broken relationships and stress that manifests itself in health issues. For many of us, these are two things that are hard to get back if we lose them. This includes a broken relationship with self; that can be very difficult to get back.”
If the symptoms Collins names above are ignored, we become at risk of increased health issues and a decrease in the quality of our relationships. But beyond these, we may also experience lowered productivity at work. We find that we’re not having fun anymore and we wonder if our lives have much meaning. “When our wheels are spinning but we’re not experiencing joy in some area of our life, we’ll always have trouble finding satisfaction," she said.
Business and life, intertwined
It is imperative that everyone pursues their own passion. Even if it isn’t your job, Collins said you need something life-sustaining to be productive and creative in the workplace. It is necessary to feel ownership of something.
“Nearly all of the professionals I work with think they don’t know what to do next, but when there is a discovery of a unique gift, the client and I co-create an action plan. If the client carries out the plan, I get to celebrate with them. I get to observe them as they get to the next level of greatness. It’s incredibly fulfilling and I love what I do.”
About the session
Collins conducts an exercise called The Abundance Formula, which can help identify an additional 30 hours each week that you probably already have to devote time to balance. It means giving up things that are energy suckers and replacing with energy-sustaining things. “Where your energy goes is a big clue to where you find energy and balance.”
- What are my governing values?
- Where am I spending my time? Where are the “time suckers?” What are the things that give me energy, and what are the “energy drainers?”
- What are your unique gifts (you might be surprised), and how can you pursue those gifts in life and work?
If you struggle to answer any of the above questions, you can benefit from attending Stephanie’s workshop on Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 4 p.m., Anaheim Marriott Platinum Ballroom 8.
Collins' clients have included leaders at IBM, Sun Microsystems, Sybase, and national foundations, as well as small business owners and entrepreneurs. A Communications graduate of Emerson College in Boston, she is a certified coach through the Coaches Training Institute (a designation bestowed on less than 10 percent of coaches worldwide) and the International Coaches Federation.