5 Ways to Achieve Work Life Balance

5 Ways to Achieve Work-Life Balance

September 2017


Featured Speakers


Emily Stringer, Manager, Executive Advisory Services at MBO Partners

Featured Speaker:

Jae Ellard, Author and Founder of Simple Intentions

00:05  Introduction of the event, MBO Partners, and the speaker

04:26  Jae Ellard’s story 

10:43  How Simple Intentions™ started and what it is

12:48   The first truth about work-life balance: You can define work-life balance however you want

19:26 The second truth about work-life balance: You will be in and out of balance your entire life

22:02  The third truth about work-life balance: Balance has nothing to do with work

38:36  The fourth truth about work-life balance: Creating balance is free

42:15   The fifth truth about work life-balance: The choice is yours to create balance each day

44:34  Q&A

56:30  Closing remarks

Work-life balance has everything to do with life and nothing to do with work. It does not matter which words we use to describe this balance. Most people share a similar desire to create joy and meaningful engagements across the roles, relationships, and responsibilities that make up life, but our current habits, perceptions, and beliefs often get us stuck in habitual patterns and ideas. 

In this exclusive webinar titled, “5 Ways to Achieve Work-Life Balance,” Jae Ellard, Author and Founder of Simple Intentions, explored the global truths about work-life balance. She introduced possibilities to get unstuck from habitual patterns and ideas, highlighted fresh perspectives on work-life balance, and engaged with participants to explore their personal relationship with balance. 

This Q&A-style discussion covered:

  • What work-life balance is
  • The conversations on having to make work-life balance possible
  • The fact that how we define the balance in work-life balance is our choice
  • How we can create work-life balance

Are you interested in attending the next webinar in the Professional Development series? View our upcoming events.

[00:00:05] Emily Stringer Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar, The Five Truths about Work-Life Balance, featuring Jae Ellard of simple intentions. We'll get started here in about 60 seconds. I'll give everyone a couple of quick breaths to sit down, get settled in. And at 1:01 on the dot, we will start promptly.

[00:00:54] Emily Stringer Good afternoon for those of you who are just now trickling in, thank you all for joining us for today's webinar, The Five Truths about Work-Life Balance, featuring Jae Ellard of Simple Intentions. Jae, next slide, please. A bit about me, my name is Emily Stringer, and I'll be moderating today's webinar. Some background on me, I've been with MBO partners for just over 7 years. I work as a consultant services adviser here, and I respond to the request of independent contractors who are curious about MBO service offerings. This is done through consultation appointments where we learn more about you and your background and your needs and determine if MBO's services are a right fit for you in your business of one. Jae, next slide. MBO's mission statement is to make it easy for independent consultants and their clients to work together for a high level overview. We offer a complete, all inclusive business operating platform for independent consultants. We take care of the administrative items that are typically outsourced to several different vendors, like incorporation, contract review, liability coverage, invoicing, expense review, tax processing, your withholdings and your payroll, and access to tax efficient portable benefits. Jae, next slide, please. Now, some housekeeping items on today's webinar set-up. First and foremost, you can see all of the controls listed here. Secondly, we will be emailing a slide deck and a recorded copy of the entire webinar to all registrants within the next week, last we will be taking questions throughout the presentation and they will be addressed at the end of the presentation. Any questions that we do not get to will be answered via email after today's presentation. Jae, next slide, please, if you would like to follow along with this presentation on Twitter, use #MBOWeb, to submit your questions and comments @MBOPartners. Next slide, please. At this time, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Jae Ellard. Jae has spent the last decade teaching thousands of people in over 50 countries the skills of awareness in the workplace. As the founder of Simple Intentions, a conscious content company and the author of 7 books and over 200 articles on the topic of awareness, she's an expert and thought leader on how to be more present and balanced in all areas of life. The awareness framework was born after Jae collapsed from stress related adrenal fatigue in 2008. She mashed together complex ideas founded in neuroscience, communication theory, behavioral science, executive coaching in Eastern Philosophy into a simple structure to help people learn and apply the skills of awareness. This framework has been implemented at multinational corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Expedia, Pearson Education and other leading companies. Jae, at this time, I'll turn it over to you for today's interactive presentation.

[00:04:26] Jae Ellard Thank you so much. I really appreciate that introduction. As mentioned, my name is Jae Ellard and I'm an author and expert on work-life balance and awareness of a skill, which is a rather odd thing as you will soon learn. I don't really believe in work-life balance, and it's a rather strange thing to become an author and expert in. A better way to describe my work is I'm an expert in behaviors we choose that create imbalance, disengagement and disconnection in our life. So how does one have an expertise in this area? Like to tell you a story around how that came to be? To give you some more context before we get into the 5 truths about work-life balance, which is the title of this presentation.

[00:05:10] My story began on a hot summer night, not in Seattle, Washington, because we don't have many of those there. And that is where my company is based. It was a hot summer night at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida, the first time I collapsed from stress and exhaustion as a direct result of the hours I was working and the pressure I was under there managing the median for the top executives at Microsoft Corp. for an internal sales event. Now, I said the first time, which implies and confirms there was a second time, only the second time, it was a few days later back in Seattle. Only that time there were no paramedics and no humiliating ride in this little golf cart that they put me in at the arena when they drove me past my colleagues and peers. The second time, it was just a trusted vendor, a trusted independent consultant, like many of you on the phone who picked me up off the floor and drove me back to my house and kind of propped me up against my door. At that point, I decided it was probably a good idea to go see my doctor, my general practitioner. So I went to see my doctor. My doctor confirmed what the paramedics had guessed in Florida, and that was that my body was experiencing something called adrenal fatigue, which meant my body had too much stress hormone in it. And at that moment, it's only choice was to just shut itself down. My doctor's medical advice to me was for me to quit my job. Yeah, really, that was his medical advice to me, that I quit my job. Now, I knew at that moment that was the wrong conversation to be having, but I didn't know what the right conversation was to be having. So I took that guidance and I took a 2-week vacation, if you can call it that, 2-week time off to heal my body and really process what has happened and what my doctor has said to me. And I kept thinking over and over again, like, how in the world did I end up in this position? How did I end up here? I'm a smart woman. I have a master's degree in communication management. The executives at this giant company trust me to make him look good on these big screens around the world. Like how did I not see this coming? I kept thinking about this question and 2 things occurred to me. The first was, it felt really good. I was getting a very positive payoff for living the life I was living. I felt valuable. I felt successful. I felt needed. I felt as if I had finally arrived, that I was successful. And I had reached the idea of what success looks like and what I'd been working so hard to achieve. And I was getting a very positive payoff for living the life I was living. So that made sense. The second thing that occurred to me in the biggest aha moment was up until that moment in my doctor's office, I realized I had never had a conversation about work-life balance, stress management or mindfulness in my life with anyone. I'm a fourth generation entrepreneur, so we weren't sitting around talking about work-life balance or stress management around the dinner table growing up. It wasn't a conversation I had at any point in school in either high school or college, graduate school, and it certainly wasn't a conversation that was being had at corporations that I was working at before Microsoft and that Microsoft. So it began to make sense how it ended up in that situation, because it didn't occur to me that there might be a different choice or a different way of being.

[00:08:50] And then I started realizing that I had surrounded myself and I was working with and for many people who were living the exact same life, so it makes sense, I didn't see a different possibility. So this is the point in the story where everyone likes to think so I quit my job and I wrote a book and I started traveling around the world talking to people about work-life balance. So not what happened. What happened was I just went back to work. That's it, I just went back to work and I became obsessed with this topic, trying to learn as much as I could about how I had ended up in that situation and been surprised by. I got really deep into the physiology of the body and the neuroscience of the brain and really wanted to understand how it's possible to reach this breaking point and kind of be surprised by it. I've been practicing yoga for a good decade before this experience, and I got much deeper into my mindfulness studies. I got deeper into meditation and they started stocking as many leadership experts as I could who would talk to me, who were doing this in a different way, who were appearing to have both balance and success, who were practicing with presence and deeper levels of engagement. And then what happened was as I started making these small, different choices in my life or how it was showing up, I became even more successful in that the more intentional I became about work and the slower I was working, the more I was speeding up and in the right direction. Then leaders would ask me, they're like, hey, you're the lady that collapsed. Could you come talk to our team? You seem to have figured something out. And it was then that I realized. There was such a need to begin to have a different conversation in workplaces about the impact of our behavior and why we're doing what we're doing. It was at that time I eventually left my full time job as an employee to found my company called Simple Intentions.

[00:10:52] Now, that hot summer night that collapsed was 10 years ago this July. And I started my company 9 years ago. Since then, I've authored 7 books on the topic. I have an 8th book coming out in March. I've had the incredible honor and privilege to speak in over 50 different countries on this topic to companies like Microsoft, Facebook, Expedia, Amazon, Pearson and many others that have had thousands of conversations with people about what work-life balance means and what it doesn't mean. And what I've learned through all these conversations is there are 5 universal themes or 5 universal truths. That began to emerge from country to country and company to company, and these I call the 5 truths about work-life balance, and that's what I want to share with you today, are the 5 truths about work-life balance. A few ground rules for how we're going to have this conversation as you're listening to this content. I want to ask you to hold this guilt free judgment free space, because many of us have done many of the things that might come up today. And you're going to go through them again. And that's ok. What we're trying to create is the awareness around our behavior and the way we choose behaviors that support us and when we choose the behaviors that sabotage us. So all we're doing is having a conversation. I want you to stay in this kind of guilt free judgment free place as we delve into this topic. The other thing, as mentioned is if you have questions, please go ahead and put them in the question box and will stop as you have them and address them. I want this to be as interactive as possible. And then there are a couple there's a whole slide that we have. And a couple of interactive questions that I want you to take a couple of moments to reflect on a few questions. So those are some ground rules for how we're going to have this conversation. There's no question off limits. So please ask any questions that you have whenever you have them and we'll get to those.

[00:12:42] With that, I want to go ahead and jump into the first truth about work-life balance. And the first truth about work-life balance is, you can define work life balance, however you want. There are a lot of ways to talk about this concept, but only one way that feels right for you so go ahead, call it work-life, a new thing. It doesn't matter, you can call it work-life balance, you can call it work-life, harmony, you can call it choice, integration, flexibility, blurr. Each company has their own way of addressing this and calling them as consultants, you might work for different companies that call it different things, and employees react differently to the different words. It doesn't matter. What I've learned over a decade of doing this work, as most people share a similar desire, is to create easy joy, meaningful engagement between the interconnected roles, responsibilities and relationships that make up their life. And there are as many ways as there are people on the planet to describe living a balanced life looks like because each person has their own idea of what is comfortable, tolerable and acceptable. So there's no right or wrong way to define balance. It is what it is for you and for you alone.

[00:14:01] So now, I want to take a minute and have you reflect on this question: Balance to me is... When I work with people most often I'm like, oh my God, I'm so out of balance and so out of balance. And I ask them, what is balance mean to you? And they are like, oh, my God, I don't know. I just know I don't have it. So part of the equation is defining what balance actually means to you, because then it becomes so much easier to know when you're in it or when you're out of it. So in the chat window, if you could, I would love it if you could just share what that means to you. If you feel comfortable or ask a question about this at this point, what is balancing to you? Any words that come up?

 [00:14:57] Emily Stringer Jae, I just got a good one. Someone chimed in, a mindful choice to live life and work. Noble idea, right?

[00:15:08] Jae Ellard Yeah, and to be aware, I like the mindful choice. The part is being intentional about the choice you're making, because most of you probably on the call as consultants, really love what you do. And you've chosen this type of work because you want to create a type of balance in your life that works for you so you can have the opportunity to be fulfilled professionally, beautifully and personally. And it's the intentionality of why I'm making the choices I'm making to allow that space to occur and not being at the effect of, oh, my gosh, I've made this choice, what's happening? But to be the one driving the choice and being mindful or intentional about the choices you're making.

[00:15:49] Emily Stringer Yes. And Mindful keeps rolling in, living mindfully in the present moment.

[00:15:55] Jae Ellard Yeah, mindfully. Mindfully. What does that mean? That's such a big popular thing right now. Mind you, you've seen it on the covers of magazines everywhere. There's a lot of conferences and events to talk about mindfulness. What does mindfulness really mean? Well, there are a lot of elements that make up mindfulness as a whole, and what I specialize in is awareness as a skill, awareness as a business skill and awareness as a business skill starts with, what does balance mean, what am I intentionally choosing or not choosing? And so when you look at the mindfulness field, if you will, awareness is one skill, compassion is another skill, kindness is another skill, discernment is another skill. There's all sorts of these skills that are part of this mindfulness moment. And my belief is that awareness is the cornerstone skill from which all of mindfulness is coming from. And it starts with the ability to see the world and how you show up in it, awareness. The ability to see the world and how you show up in it. And that is how we create a mindful life or mindful choices by our ability to see the world and how we show up in it. And as that applies to balance, if you don't know what balance is to you, how are you going to know when you're in it and how are you going to know when you're out of it?

[00:17:17] Emily Stringer Absolutely, and Jae, another one that we got living life on my terms to the extent that it does not impact me professionally.

[00:17:26] Jae Ellard Yes, and that's how, again, the skill of awareness, that's how when does it impact you? Like when is that point of impact? Is it a headache and a stomach ache? Is it repeated sleepless nights? Is it muscle aches? Is it? so there's a lot of body things or is it because I am working on a toxic team that's not allowing me to produce my best in a creative way, because of the way the team functions, like where is that limit? And if we don't have the scale of awareness to know where that limit is, that's when we start heading down this imbalanced path that leads to disconnection and disengagement. But it's the trick because it's as simple as seeing it, but then once you see it, then we have to move the action around it. So seeing it in itself is incredibly difficult. The next step is then to move to action to put the boundary of the limit around. This is starting to impact my productivity, my efficiency or my happiness.

[00:18:25] Emily Stringer Yes, and Jae, I think someone just hit the nail on the head with what they chimed in, being calm, confident, positive and present.

[00:18:34] Jae Ellard Yes, right, and I always want to flip a present first, because when you're present, that's going to allow you to be calm, confident. And what was the other one? And so when we're present, that's when we're more open to have these other skills come to the forefront. And when we're multitasking or disconnected or distracted, we're only halfway engaging in whatever it is we're doing. And so no wonder we fell out of balance in those times, because if you're not fully present. Again, linking this all back to this mindfulness movement.

[00:19:16] Emily Stringer Yes, Jae, I think this is great advice and great conversation for us to be having before we move on to the second truth.

[00:19:24] Jae Ellard Yes, let's move on. So the second truth, pay for it. you will be in and out of balance your entire life. Hopefully this will be released to some of you. This is just the way the world works, right? Not a single one of us is going to change the laws of nature. What goes up must come down. And it's this simple. You're going to be in and out of balance your entire life. Your needs for balance will shift and change as your life changes. Things like new jobs, new relationships, new homes, roles, new hobbies, birth, death, health, your health and others' health. All these things are going to impact your needs for balance and your needs for balance are going to forever be evolving. You're a dynamic being living in a dynamic world. And your secret power is in recognizing and accepting that diamond is what you need right now, in this moment on This call today is very different from what you're going to need 6 months from now, 12 months from now, 2 years from now, 5 years from now, 10 years from now. What you need changes, and this is how I like to represent balance, you're going to be in and out of it your entire life. But when you know what it is that you're coming back to, if you think about your equilibrium as what's in between the red lines on this side, when you know what it is you're coming back to, when life circumstances shift and change around you, the pendulum feels much less dramatic. And so some of you might have roles in finance. Some of you might be working on product teams. Some of you might be getting married. Some of you might have new children or babies in your life. All these things are going to create a little bit of imbalance or disturbance in your equilibrium. And when you know it, balance means, you know, you can come back to it. And it says a lot less dramatic those times of the year when you have to put in extra hours or you're pushing to launch a product or you're having a big life change, like moving, for example. So you start feeling a lot less dramatic when you started to define what balance feels like for you. And once you've accepted that your name will change and you know what it is that you need, then it becomes much easier to have awareness, to start making choices that support your needs and then communicating with the important people in your life. You're just going to be in and out of your entire life, so acknowledging and accepting accountability for your needs, wants and values is your shortcut back to finding your center.

[00:22:03] Which brings us to the third truth about work-life balance, and this is the most complicated, hard truth there is about this topic. Balance has nothing to do with work. Not the type of work you do, the level you are at, the hours you put in, the hours you feel like you should be credited or even the job you have is paid, not paid, like being a student, a volunteer, raising children, running the household. We all have responsibilities that can be considered work, right, whether you get paid for what you do or not. More than that, balance has nothing, nothing to do with your gender, your family structure, your parental status, your religion, your education, your income or your geographic location. Work-life balance is not about any of these things. Specifically, it's mostly about the conversations we have, are the conversations we are not having. About how all of these things, as well as our feelings about these things. How it impacts our lives. Work-life balance has nothing to do with work. Most of the issues we attribute to being out of balance at work, our home can be tracked back to and resolved through a conversation. To be specific and authentic conversation, the kind we use, we actually really, really mean. And so it gets people stuck and in trouble and keeps us busy and disengaged and disconnected are all the conversations we're not having, the conversations we're not having with our bosses, with our business partners, with our customers, our clients, our friends or significant others, our children, and most importantly, the conversations we're not having with ourselves. It is possible that 99.9% of the time, these conversations we're not having are about the things, the triggers that are causing the imbalance in our life. And these triggers boil down to most times they boil down to your values and the boundaries or lack of boundaries that support and honor your values and all the relationships you are in. The relationship you have with your work, the relationship you have with others, in and out of work, and the relationship you have with yourself. 

[00:24:38] This is where this gets really, really tricky. If it's as simple as having these conversations, why are so many people, millions of people not having these conversations? The answers to both the question and, in most cases, it boils down to fear. Fear of rejection, fear of being perceived as less than, fear of failing, fear of asking for help. Fear of being different. Fear of actually being perceived as someone who shows up as being balanced and successful. Fear of actually figuring it out. And then, of course, there's also the guilt and the shame that clings to this topic of what if I appear to be balanced? So sometimes these conversations we avoid having about saying no and our fear boil down to our fear of saying no. So, saying no to someone at work or saying no to someone you love might let them down and no one wants to let anyone down, especially on purpose. And we're even, like, genetically wired to please the people around us because it's like hey, people we were alive. We stayed alive longer when the people around us were pleased. So this is some really deeply ingrained human behavior where we are wired to keep our tribe happy. So when we know we're going to intentionally disappoint someone physiologically, it's very discomforting to our body. And therefore, it becomes much easier, much easier to disappoint yourself than someone else. It's so much easier to say no to your own needs. And to knowingly disappoint someone. When you say yes to people, assignments, projects and roles that are in conflict with your values or you engage with people who don't support or even worse, disrespect your values or your boundaries, and when you say yes, when you're already at or beyond capacity, what you're doing is you're actually saying no to yourself and creating the exact imbalance in your life that you're working so hard to not have. So your work-life balance really has nothing to do with work. It's about authentically owning and clearly communicating your yeses and your no's to the people you share your life with, which includes yourself. I know that's a pretty big truth for a lot of us to face and for most people, what I've learned is, there's at least even the most balanced people in the world still having at least one conversation they're not having with someone, somewhere.

[00:27:35] So I'm curious to learn from you in this poll. What's the conversation that you might be needing to have right now? And just to kind of understand where we're exploring this caller and where some of the themes are, what you might learn is you're not alone in some of the conversations you might need to have. We'll have the polls open.

[00:28:03] Emily Stringer For all of our participants, we'll give you about 60 seconds to chime in here. So what conversation do you need to be having to make your work-life balance possible? Boundaries with people at work or at home, meeting expectations or having certain behaviors. Work and non-work hours, support around the house or roles clarity on current projects. About 30 more seconds here.

[00:28:48] Jae Ellard And there's no wrong answer. It's just the answer.

[00:29:20] Emily Stringer Jae, to learn a little more about our participants here, at 50% chimed in and noted, had boundaries with people at work or at home or the conversation they should be having. That's very telling. Then we have 20% each at meeting expectations and behaviors and then work and non-work hours and then 10% on role clarity on current projects.

[00:29:46] Jae Ellard Ok, but that does not surprise me to see more than 50, around 50% of people struggling with a boundary issue or a conversation around boundaries. This is one of the top 4 blocks that I see when I work with people, whether they have professional corporate jobs or not, around setting boundaries again, because when we set a boundary, we're setting a limit. And we know that when we are setting the boundary, likely we will be disappointing someone in some way and it might be a small micro disappointment or it might be a bigger, larger macro disappointment where we're at capacity and we're going to have to miss a deadline because we just have too many priorities and something has to come first.

[00:30:28] And so one of the easiest ways to help with having conversations around boundaries is to acknowledge in advance, before you start the conversation. Hey, I'm going to tell you something that you might not necessarily want to hear right now. And just by naming it most times, it allows you to exhale and be able to have a conversation a little bit more authentically, and it allows the other person to kind of prepare and be like, oh, ok, what is it? And 9 out of 10, what you tell them is nowhere near as bad as what they invented in your head that you were going to say, because people normally jump to the worst case scenario and they make it be much bigger things like, well, we're going to, I'm going to tell you something you're not going to hear. We're running behind on this project and we're not going to be able to deliver this for another 9 days. And we're doing everything we can. And here's the plan and the process. And I know this isn't the news you wanted. Most times that response was going to be like, oh, yeah, that's not at all what I wanted to hear, but thanks for letting me know. And we'll make a contingency plan and then you can move on and get to the action page. It's the lack of the conversation that then starts building this kind of pent up emotional fear or resentment or these missed expectations. And so we start getting a lot of wrong perception building that happens. One of the easiest ways to describe this is if you say you're going to deliver something and it needs to push, but you don't tell the person that it needs to push until the last minute, all of a sudden you look unreliable when actually you're not unreliable. You're incredibly reliable. You just wanted to avoid having that difficult conversation around the boundary. So you actually gave off a perception that's not accurate of who you are because of your fear of having an uncomfortable conversation. So it makes sense that that boundary is a difficult thing to talk about. It's the impact of not having a conversation with boundaries that becomes more difficult to deal with in the long run. So it's a question of are you going to play the short game and have small, uncomfortable conversations and set limits? Are you going to play the long game and have these relationships that might be potentially damaged because of the impact of the lack of conversations around the limit? Is there anything else that came up in the questions or have run those around these conversations are boundary?

 [00:33:01] Emily Stringer Not yet, but I would very much like to encourage our participants to chime in. We just got 1. Yes, we just got , in regards to setting boundaries at work, what is your opinion about toxic culture that prevent or discourage?

[00:33:21] Jae Ellard Yeah, this is a really great question and thank you so much for asking it because many people face this every day in their work pains, in their environment. And what I've come to believe and what I've noticed in my work is most of the time these toxic work cultures are habitual patterns and not necessarily anything that each individual on that team wants to be even a part of. But we get caught in this collective think are these collective behaviors. And this is just how we act at work. And so we walk in a meeting and we're all multitasking in that meeting and no one's paying attention to each other. And then we're disrespecting each other and then we're angry at each other because we're not paying attention to each other and it just starts to kind of build on each other.

[00:34:06] Now, if you would talk to each individual on that team, most likely each one of them is experiencing the same fatigue and the same dissatisfaction with the way that she's running. And this is where the fear comes back into play, where we fear being the first one to say, hey, this is crazy. Can you believe we're treating each other like this? We're all just human beings coming to work, wanting to do good and be good. Why are we acting like this? Seems to be the person to interrupt the pattern and set the boundary, take a tremendous amount of courage. And work cultures won't change until we have more people who are willing to take accountability and have the courage to shift that culture, and that starts one conversation at a time. For example, with meetings where people are multitasking to be the one person in the room, whether you're the meeting leader or not, and whether you're the consultant or the employee. I've seen this happen both ways. Anyone in the meeting has equal power to say, hey, can we just take a minute and go devices down for a second and try to get clear of what it is we're trying to accomplish? I've seen it time and time again when someone does that, it's just the whole room and most people are so grateful that someone's done it because they all want to do it too. And so, though it might feel like a very disempowering place to be when you're in, when you're part of a toxic team and exposed to a lot of these behaviors, you can start to be the change a little bit more than you think is possible in your own way, in a way that's comfortable. And that's the only way that we can disrupt some of these toxic patterns that we see in corporations is by just 1 meeting, 1 behavior, 1 one on one at a time.

[00:35:53] Emily Stringer Jae, we just got a comment from 1 of our participants, FYI, acknowledging the toxicity and negative patterns has unfortunately been known to lead to termination of an employee due to insubordination. Very sad situation.

 [00:36:12] Jae Ellard That's incredibly heartbreaking. And I wish I could say that's not the first time I've heard that or seen that. Now, clearly, I don't know the situation that's been specifically talked to here and what I've seen is in those cases, it boils down to the context in which that feedback was given or the desire to create new behaviors was the approach to having the conversation. So, it's easy to fall into a situation where we're blaming the team or the boss or the project or the consultant and move into a conversation that sounds more like criticism instead of a desire to create a new culture. And sometimes when the conversation comes across as criticism, we can be seen as either complaining or not being a team player. And so this is where the skill of communication and one of my books deals specifically with kind of dealing with the communication part of the how and expressing these difficult conversations where the approach to how we begin to talk about it at work allows it to be heard in a different way. Where? It can begin to create a different future. Where at times, if a team is super toxic, it will spit out the most healthy person that was kind of like systems, the remodeling is a team will spit out the most healthy person until it's ready to become healthy. And sometimes that's actually good attrition and good for that person, in that they need to [00:37:54]be a lot [0.3s] healthier. I hope that addresses the question in this scenario. It's really about how that message is delivered in an authentic way where you're owning your part of it as well and not blaming or criticizing, but really genuinely interested and invested in switching the team culture. 

[00:38:16] Emily Stringer Jae, I think that's wonderful advice and certainly speaks to the situation. So with that said, I think it's time for our fourth truth.


[00:38:26] Jae Ellard Ok, and the fourth truth is my favorite truth. I thought, I'm supposed to have a favorite truth, but this one is my favorite truth here and I'm sorry, it looks like the slide thought there. There we go. So the fourth truth, is creating balance for free, which is great news because everybody loves free, so when it comes to creating balance, you don't have to join a gym, hire a professional coach, find a therapist, go get advanced degrees or certifications, join a meditation group, purchase a ton of books, download a whole bunch of e-books. These are all options you can choose. You do not have to do any of them. The only thing you have to do is choose balance as a lifestyle, seriously. The only thing you have to do to create balance is to choose it as a lifestyle.

[00:39:21] Ok, so you decide you want to make the choice, but then what? Ok, so you choose it and then where do you go? The next step is, pay more attention. Seriously, that's the guidance you choose to balance as a lifestyle, and the next step is to start small, pay attention more. Many people don't spend much time where they are when they're there, they're either still thinking about where they have been or where they will be, which robs them of the ability to be where they are when they are there. The richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor have equal access to the currency at present and there is no cost whatsoever to [00:40:09]being. [0.0s] It's for you to pay attention to your environment and to see and feel as much or as little of the experience as you want. It's very dependent on the people, the relationships in your life to slow down and to really hear, really hear what he says and to notice what is not being said. It's free to pay attention to you. Your body, your feelings, your wants, your desires, your passions and your thoughts. Because here's the thing, odds are, everyone on this call, you already have a pretty good life. And paying more attention might make it feel that much better. Connecting to what you already have is free. It's the disconnection that cost you so dearly. So the magic is in creating balance is free and it can begin right at this moment just by choosing to be more in this moment, just by choosing to close whatever second window you might have opened as you're listening to this call or to put down your pen and stop writing whatever it is that might not be related to this call or to be fully engaged when you're talking to whoever you're talking to and look them in the eyes and really connect and be present. All of that is free. So when we start leaning more into the scale of presence, all of a sudden, we start feeling a little bit more balanced and a little bit more complete or a little bit more, having a little bit more equilibrium and every moment that we are in, because we're not focused on what is lacking, but we're focused on what is occurring.

[00:41:57] Any questions or comments about the skill of presents, because this is really, again, linked to mindfulness and awareness. And you don't have to quit your job to find balance either, just have to choose at each moment.

[00:42:15] Ok, with that, that brings us to our fifth and final truth. The choice is yours to create balance each day. So it's your choice. The final amount means to you, it's your choice to accept there will be times of greater than. Some choose to own and authentically express your yeses and your nos, and it's your choice of words, deeply connected to the world around you, right, your choice to be present. And here's the thing. Some days you might make choices that support your definitions of balance and other days you're going to make choices that sabotage the type of balance you're seeking. And the magic is that every single day. Many times a day, actually, you get the choice. Again and again and again. So choose am I going to disengage, am I to disconnect, am I going to connect or am I going to engage? Another hour later, 5 minutes or 10 minutes later, another meeting later, you get the choice again and again and again. So when it comes to creating the skill of balance, the skill of awareness, it's a constant practice that is a lifelong skill that you get to work on and build over and over again. And sometimes you're going to go to bed and be like, oh, my God, that was a horribly out of balance day. And I was out of alignment with my words and what I said, and they didn't have this conversation or I totally was distracted in that meeting or wasn't paying attention to my children when they were talking or whatever it is. And you know what? The next day you get the choice to try again. And again and again and again. 

[00:43:59] So with that, I want to try to land this for those of you who are participating right now and just have you reflect for a second what is one action that you might be willing to take to create more balance by the end of today. What is something that came up for you as we were talking in this discussion or something maybe you wanted to do before this discussion, but maybe so a little more empowered. In the chat window are in the question window, is there something that you're willing to try and create more balance? To hear what's coming up for you? And we can also start taking questions at this time too. 

[00:44:34] Emily Stringer I have something come up that I think is very much related to this. And it's one of the things that I think most of us would be willing to give up to an extent. Do you believe that mindfulness in the present is also related to a penchant from multitasking?

[00:44:53] Jae Ellard Yes, so what's the question specifically, I have some strong feelings on this, but I want to make sure that I answer the question.

[00:45:03] Emily Stringer Yes, so I think this is more looking at the ratio between a penchant for multitasking versus being able to be mindful and present. So what are your thoughts on that equation?

[00:45:14] Jae Ellard Ok, so what's neuroscience? So I'm going to go to the data first. Neuroscience tells us that the brain doesn't actually have the capacity to multitask. There's no such thing. So from a scientific standpoint, the brain, men or women brain cannot multitask. What the brain does is it says something called task swapping, which means we go back and forth between two tasks. So it might feel to us that we're doing them simultaneously, but we're not. We're doing tasks swapping. And so we can't do two tests from the same part of our brain at the same time. So I cannot be giving a presentation right now and typing a text. I would be going back and forth and that would be the task swapping. But I can give this presentation and walk around the room because that's using two different parts of my brain. And so that's clear, that's an important distinction to have so I can walk and talk, but I can't talk and type at the same time. Now, on average, it takes between 2 and 7 minutes for people to task swap. So if you're, for example, in a car or Webex call and you are working on an Excel document, then someone calls your name, it will take between 2 and 7 minutes to jump back into whatever that conversation was on the call and then to refocus back into the Excel document. And people's brains are a little bit different. And so people who might have more of a meditation practice, a deeper attention practice, they might be able to test flop or more on the 2 minute spectrum to go back and forth a little bit more quickly. But the average person is going to take it from 5-7 minutes to kind of go back and forth. So when you are multitasking, you're actually making those tasks take twice as long. So that's what the science says. And so on the emotional level is if you are in a room with someone multitasking, for example, I like to use the example of like where we're out to dinner and we're on our cell phones because this is so common. We've all done it before and we all do it again and we see people do it all the time. So we're having dinner and then I'm on my phone. So that can be a form of multitasking. And on the emotional level, what I'm actually doing is saying you're not important right now. What's on my phone is more important. And so I'm making that person perhaps feel disrespected, not seen or not important. Likely they're not going to say that to me, but they're going to carry that feeling with them. And it will eventually begin to erode that relationship where people feel like, wow, when I'm with you, I'm not important because you're on your phone. So there's an emotional cost, emotional impact to multitasking as well as this kind of brain science, because we can't do it. For example, if we're in meetings, the same scenario for meetings and people are not paying attention to the speaker or the presenter, that can be seen as a form of disrespect or disrespect because you miss half the things the meeting presenter is saying and email them later. The same question that they might have covered so that their perception of you might be like, wow, this person doesn't pay attention. So there's a huge impact on multiple levels with the thing we call multitasking. And I just find it hysterical that most job descriptions have multitasking in the title, are in the description, but there's actually really no such thing. What we want to say is we have a high ability to prioritize. And to be efficient, going between tasks. I hope that addresses the question.

[00:48:51] Emily Stringer I think that very clearly addressed the question, Jae, and I'll tell you why, someone chimed in and said that they would commit to turn off their phone when needed and not worry about immediately responding to texts and emails. So I think your advice is very welcoming.

[00:49:08] Jae Ellard I highly, one of my favorite tips to give people is use your airplane feature as much or as much as you can to begin to experiment with going offline a little bit or putting your phone away or not even taking it and just, you know, make it an experiment, see what happens if you do that or plug it into a different place in your house. A lot of people sleep with their phones right by their nightstand. Which is fine if you can turn all your ass off so you're not buzzing and chiming and being distracted while you're in your intimate moments with the people you share your life with. Plug your phone into the den or the kitchen and see what happens to your quality sleep, in your relationships if you change that around a little bit. So just experiment with it. Try not to take it so seriously. Just see what happens if you set some of these new boundaries with their devices and just play and you might be pleasantly surprised that your level of presence escalates and that you might feel a little bit more balanced just by setting boundaries with your phone. Any other questions or comments that have come up?

[00:50:18] Emily Stringer We have someone who is fully committed to starting a trend of single tasking. So I think this is good. This is good.

[00:50:28] Jae Ellard And the other tips that I want to offer on single tasking versus multitasking is the skill of awareness. Going back to this is the ability to see the world and how you show up in it, which means paying attention when you're not paying attention. And so if those of you on the call, success for me for this call with you today would be, I've noticed when I'm not paying attention, I notice when I'm multitasking. It doesn't mean that you're going to immediately stop multitasking. But if you can begin to see when you're doing it, then that can eventually lead to action. But we have to be willing to see when we're doing things that sabotage us before we can move the action to start supporting us. But just being able to see it is success. And that might be enough of an action for some people on this call to begin creating a future that's different from the past.

[00:51:20] Emily Stringer I think that's great advice, Jae and something we all very much need to hear.

[00:51:27] Jae Ellard Right, that's the thing that I love about this topic, is it's not rocket science, but it's not exactly simple either. Like, easy, does it? Or simple doesn't always mean easy. And so it's incredibly complex because we're dealing with human behavior change. And that alone is a complicated topic. And I could give you 5 hours to study human behavior change. So I want to do a real quick wrap up here. So the 5 truths about work-life balance, you can define work-life however you want. You'll be in and out of balance your entire life. Balance has nothing to do with work but more about the conversations you're having or not having. Creating balance is free and the choice is yours to create balance each day. With that, my final takeaway here is the choice is yours the day you get to choose again and again.

[00:52:23] Emily Stringer So for those of us who are on the line, I think we can all very much thank Jae for a wonderful presentation this afternoon. So insightful, something we all need to hear. I very much recommend that everyone check out Jae on Amazon. She has several books that are available, including The Five Truths about Work-Life Balance. Check her out on her website, SimpleIntentions.com, their online courses. Please feel free to interact. And Jae, with that said, I do have one really quick question to circle back to on the conversations that we should be having. So we have someone who would like to know how we overcome ego and others our own, in order to initiate that conversation? I think ego is what causes the example that you just gave. And I think perhaps referencing the phone.

[00:53:17] Jae Ellard Yes. Wow. How much time do we have? Yeah, that is a big question here. So I go back to the School of Awareness. So in recognizing if we're dealing with our ego or someone else's ego, we want to have the self-awareness to recognize what is driving the behavior. And we also want to try to stay out of the space of judging whether we're judging someone for being in their ego or judging [00:53:42]ourselves. [0.0s] So first, we have to recognize what is motivating behavior. Like why am I on my phone right now? Why am I choosing to do what I'm doing? And noticing, is it because it's in alignment with my purpose and how I really want to show up as a human being, or is this motivated by how I want to be perceived in the world? Kind of like the life I was living before I collapsed. I was very motivated by my ego and the path I was giving, making those choices and those decisions. So the key is to create awareness around where the behavior might be coming from and then move accordingly from that. And when most people are living out of ego, what experience has shown me? What research has led me to believe? A lot of times those behaviors are very fear based and so people might feel very insecure or they're dealing with fear of not being good enough for fear of being perceived as less. And so our ego comes out a lot bigger to hide some of these more fragile emotional decisions and emotions that we carry. So take us back to self awareness.

[00:54:52] Emily Stringer And that makes a lot of sense based on what I think we all deep down know about ourselves. So with that said, we will go ahead and get things wrapped up here. And Jae, again, we appreciate the great advice. This is a wonderful topic, something we all need to be continually aware of in terms of where we are within our own lives and how that interacts with work. So with that said, we are going to throw up a quick poll here to see who would like to learn a little bit more information about Jae, who would like to learn a little bit more information about MBO partners. And that way we will reach out to you within the next couple of days if you do request more information. So please select one and we'll give everybody about 30 seconds here to chime in. All right, and we are out of time, so we will also put up a quick question about who would like more information from MBO partners. And we'll give everybody about 30 seconds here. And we are out of time on this one. So as I previously mentioned in the presentation, we will be emailing out a slide deck and recorded copy of the webinar within the next seven days. Please keep an eye on your email for that. In the meantime, please, you know, enjoy Jae's content, reach out to us at MBO partners and we would love to hear from you. Jae, thank you so much for taking the time today and educating us on a wonderful topic. And here, cheers to a little more work life balance for us all.

[00:57:02] Jae Ellard Thank you. 

[00:57:04] Emily Stringer Absolutely. All right. Dropping off.