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9 posts from January 2013

January 31, 2013

Dan Marino's Extramarital Affair: Is his Family Man Image Gone?


(Scott Halleran / Getty Images)



For many, many years, those of us in South Florida have idolized Dan Marino. With six kids, two of them adopted, he's not only a beloved retired Dolphins quarterback, he's the ultimate family man. He's usually photographed alongside his wife or family. His personal, family situation is part of his brand.

Today, we learn that Dan Marino fathered a child with a woman who was not his wife.

The New York Post reported that Marino, a current CBS football analyst, had an affair with former CBS Sports production assistant Donna Savattere, and the two had a daughter, Chloe, in June 2005. (She is now 7 years old.)

"This is a personal and private matter. I take full responsibility both personally and financially for my actions now as I did then," Marino said in a statement. "We mutually agreed to keep our arrangement private to protect all parties involved."

My wife and I have been married for almost 30 years and have six children together," Marino said. "And we continue to be a strong and loving family."

After the birth of Chloe, the Post reports Marino "agreed to pay millions" and Savattere moved from New York to Texas to keep their relationship and child a secret.

Obviously, Marino messed up in his personal life. But how does that affect his work life, his brand and Maria Pierson - Pierson Grant his future? We have seen this before with other celebrities. Some bounce back. Others don't. I asked PR guru Maria Pierson for her thoughts. Maria is co-founder and CEO of Pierson Grant Public Relations in Fort Lauderdale and has more than 30 years of public relations experience.

Q. Have we always cared about the family life of celebrities?

A. I think we are in an era where family life becomes synonymous with the person. With 24/7 news coverage now we're more focused on watching things play out on TV. Look at people like Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o. They chose a public televised way to come clean. We live in that culture now. That's what they think they should do. Years ago in PR, we would say you know you're in trouble if you see a 60 Minutes reporter at your door. Today, everything plays out on a computer screen or television. From Marino's perspective, I’m a little surprised it took this long for the news to come out.

Q. How do you think Marino managed to keep up his image as a family man for seven years while having a child with another woman?

A. Dan marino has such a high profile in South Florida so I think from that perspective had it happened in South Florida we would have known earlier. It happened in New York where he was spending every weekend during football season. I don't think people realized he was regularly away for the entire weekend during football season.

Q. Has this done permanent damage to his brand?

A. There is such equity in the Dan Marino brand. He's a hero on field. We he retired, he became known for his work with the Dan Marino Foundation. He and his wife single handedly brought the issue of autism to the forefront in South Florida. He had that going for him.

Q. So is that equity diminished?

A. What we tell our clients in these type of crisis issues is the truth will set you free. The sooner you tell truth and get ahead of the story, the news cycle will stop. If you don’t talk it becomes news worthy for a longer time and you’re open to rumors and stories. This issue with Dan Marino should end now that he's spoken out and was remorseful ,sincere and apologetic.

Q. Will the public accept his apology and move on?

A. It will only be back in the news if his wife decides to talk or divorce him or if the other woman sues. Right now, he's done everything he could do to put lid on it.

Q. Does this mess now become part of Marino's public image, much like Arnold Schwarzenegger and his child with the housekeeper?

A. The public has a short term memory. The best thing for Armstrong was Manti. The best thing for Manti was Dan. Dan is now in that list of people, which are men most of the time. When people think of Dan Marino, it does become part of the tag line and his brand takes a hit in short term.

Q. Did he get PR coaching?

A. That's a good question. Whether he did or didn't, he did a good job. The fact the he came out and came clean when the Post broke the story helped him. I felt like he handled it the best that could be expected in his situation.




PR exec shares her secret for finding work life balance

Earlier this month, I received this email from PR executive Tadd Schwartz of Miami's Schwartz Media:



A lot of folks might be surprised to learn that the job of a PR exec is
considered one of the top five most stressful positions in the workforce
The job of a pr counselor never ends. The pressure to exceed expectations and be involved in every aspect of your client's business is enormous. The more you care , the more personal you take it when problems arise . You have to be totally engaged with your client and the media and the industry all the time - there is no half way in this biz . You have to be organized, multitask , sell, communicate and be sharp every day.  And with all that comes pressure to perform. 

Ok - I just stressed myself out - going for a run. Hope you're well 



Along with the email, Tadd sent me the link to the list of the Most Stressful Jobs for 2013. I know Tadd is a runner and I'm pretty sure that helps him with stress and work life balance. 

Today another talented PR exec shares her secret for work life balance. My guest blogger is Duree Ross, president of South Florida-based Durée & Company,  an award-winning PR entrepreneur with a broad spectrum of experience spanning the corporate, agency and non-profit arenas. Durée lives in Ft. Lauderdale with her family and is an avid community advocate. She makes the stressful job of running a PR firm look managable.


“Giving” to Achieve Balance Between My Professional and Personal Life

As president of my own public relations, marketing and special events firm for 13 years, I’ve always made it a priority to give back. Every day, I “give my professional all” to the number of for-profit clients and non-profit organizations that I proudly represent.

Notice that “give” is an important word in my vocabulary. In order to “give” in my professional life, it’s imperative that I “give” to myself and my family, every day. There is no doubt that I put an immense amount of effort and time into my work – because I love what I do. But, like many women, I am four people in one: a full-time wife, a full-time mom, and a full-time professional, and last but not least, a full-time individual who needs to take care of herself.

Each one of those “fourths” has to get equal attention in order for the whole to run smoothly.   

My husband Dwayne and I, both busy professionals, just celebrated our 12th anniversary. With our crazy
schedules, we HAVE TO make it a priority to create time for each other, and we make the most of that time.  Even during my most stressful days, a comforting smile, loving hug, and basically an “I’m
here for you” from my husband make it all better.

My 10-year-old son and 6-year old daughter are a lot like me: they’re always on the go. Whenever possible, I make it a point to be there for them, whether it’s being their chauffeur, their cheering section, or their tutor. Of course, sometimes I have client meetings, events, etc. that I can’t miss. But, the time that I get to spend with them whenever it’s humanly possible is golden. And, with a job that things change in an instant, its nice to know that I can answer calls, check emails, and do more
while I am with my children and not missing out on parts of their lives.

As many females do, I tend to put my needs last. I’m trying to get better at this. Having worked on the Go Red for Women campaign for the American Heart Association, I have a great understanding of the importance of good health. Any time I can, I work in an exercise class. I try to get adequate sleep. I try to eat healthy. Notice the word “try,” but I’m working on it.

Don’t let me fool you; life for the working mom in 2013 isn’t easy. Balance is very difficult to achieve, but it is possible and with hard work, it is possible.



January 30, 2013

Encore Careers: How to make a difference as you get older

The power of Twitter is amazing. A few years ago, Marci Alboher and I connected on Twitter and came to admire each other as journalists. At the time, Marci was freelancing for The New York Times. A few weeks ago, Marci reached out to me through Twitter and asked me to participate in her book tour. She had joined Encore.org was going to appear at Book & Books in Coral Gables to discuss her new book, The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living in the Second Half of Life.

Of course, I jumped at the chance. I read Marci's book and it was packed with stories, resources and ideas for encore careers, also known as later in life jobs that have a social purpose. 

The turnout at the Books & Books event was huge. I interviewed Marci about the whole concept of encore careers in front of at least 50 people. The audience was engaged and asked great questions. Clearly, this is an important topic as boomers begin to figure out what's next for them.

Here's the story I wrote for the Miami Herald using the life stories of several people I met at the event as well as information from the discussion with Marci:

In later life, many Americans turn to ‘encore careers’



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            Don Causey was beginning to plan his retirement, selling off his profitable sporting newsletters when his life took a horrific turn. While on a safari on a long anticipated trip to Africa, a tree tumbled onto him, breaking his back.  The process of getting a medical transport to take him from a remote village back to Miami proved arduous and costly.

Today Causey’s back is healed and at 70 he finds himself in a post retirement career — consulting for a company that sells travel memberships that include medical evacuation benefits. It’s a profitable part-time gig that Causey believes is an important service to travelers. Plus, he says, “It keeps my mind alive and keeps me connected with a community I care about, just in a different way.”

Like Causey, most Americans are crafting their own version of meaningful work in their later stages of life. It’s a direction that brings balance and an ability to be impactful in a whole new way.     

“More and more people — sometimes by necessity, sometimes by choice — are forgoing traditional retirement and investing a new state of life and work,” says Marci Alboher, with Encore.org and author of  The Encore Career Handbook.

Alboher is part of a movement that has named this later-in-life stage “encore careers,” paid or volunteer work that has a social impact. An encore career can last from a few years to 20 or more. While 9 million Baby Boomers already have entered their encore phase, another 31 million will soon make the leap in that direction, according to Encore.org, a nonprofit organization that promotes second acts for the greater good.

The concept of an encore career is being buoyed by a convergence of trends: financial realities, layoffs, long life spans and the desire for a more purposeful existence during the aging process. “It’s a way to leave a mark that makes things better for future generations,” explains Alboher. “But usually it’s not quick or easy. It’s a slow metamorphosis involving baby steps, detours, persistence, creativity and a do-it-yourself spirit.”

An encore career job might be a nurse or health aide. It could be a teacher, tutor or fundraiser, founder of a nonprofit, or even an entrepreneur that solves a social problem. For many, it has become the answer to “now what?” and “what will be my legacy?”

Knowing what’s ahead, some people plan their encore career for years, beginning as early as their 50s. They use travel time to build alliances or weekends to take a community college course.

Though he’s far from retirement age, my 50-year-old husband surely will need an encore career. Even now, he can’t sit still on days off from work, filling his days with house projects and coming up with new ones once the current list is exhausted. Yet he regularly talks about how he looks forward to retirement — a disaster-in-the-making for a man without a mission.

The reignite-rather-than-retire movement has been recent, but it may already have played a role in curbing the high rate of suicide for older males. David Cohen, author of  Out of the Blue, and a professor of psychology at University of Texas had previously discovered a high rate of suicide for males in the 65-to-74 year old age group, observing that this set was susceptible because of its preoccupation with lost status and higher risk of apathy and isolation. That high rate has lowered in recent years.


January 25, 2013

The boss sets the tone, right?

Workaholic boss

Last night, I was at the law firm of Foley & Lardner chatting with some of the lawyers when the conversation turned to a discussion of paternity leave. I was told that one of the high ranking partners at the firm recently had taken three months paid paternity leave to bond with his newborn, his third child.

I learned that some firm members thought it was ridiculous. Others saw it as a signal that work life issues are important to him and felt like he set a great example for his team. 

Now, let's look at it from another perspective. Let's say you have a boss who has kids that are now adults and the guy doesn't really like to spend time with his wife so he spends a lot of time at the office. His eternal presence in he office most likely is going to pressure others to follow suit. Are people going to scramble to work for this guy?

The point I'm trying to make is that in almost every workplace, your direct boss is key to your work life balance. Your boss and his or her actions and attitude on balance can affect your happiness -- for better or worse.

While I was at  Foley & Lardner last night, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel discussion on work life topics. There were so many interesting points made including the one above.

Leadership Coach Margarita Plasencia also brought up an interesting point. She believes there are times in your life when you don't care about work life balance, stages in life when you're in the flow at work and you want to be there 24/7. She thinks that's okay.

I'm not sure I agree with her. I think that working 24/7 leads to burnout and it makes those people working for you and with you feel like it's expected of them.

Readers, what are your thoughts on this...do you think a boss who is personally focused on work 24/7 can still create a work environment that encourages his staff to have fulfilling outside lives? Would you reconsider taking a job if you found out your future boss had a lousy personal life?

January 23, 2013

Why your calendar is the key to your work life balance

If you want more playtime in your life, you have to plan for it, just as you would a business meeting or a doctor's appointment.

I know that doesn't sound spontaneous but it's realitic in today's world where things happen and work creeps into our free time.

Today, in my Miami Herald column, I share tips from the experts on how and why to put more fun time on your calendar. If you have a method that's worked for you, please share it.

Can’t find time for play? Try scheduling it

 To achieve your goal of better work/life balance, the calendar is your friend.

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Michelle Villalobos and Jessica Kizorek, speakers, consultants and founders of Make Them Beg, talk to the audience about making time for "play" in your schedule by scheduling it first. They were at the Women's Success Summit, which Villalobos founded, in November.
      ( Michelle Villalobos and Jessica Kizorek, speakers, consultants and founders of Make Them Beg, talk to the audience about making time for "play" in your schedule by scheduling it first. They were at the Women's Success Summit, which Villalobos founded, in November.)     





            If your resolutions for 2013 include achieving a better work-life balance, your calendar holds the key to your success.

But, to pull off your goals, you’re going to need to turn the traditional way of thinking upside down.

Most people schedule their work commitments on their calendars and squeeze in family, friends and fun around it. Instead, schedule your work around your personal life, say Michelle Villalobos and Jessica Kizorek, speakers, personal branding consultants and co-creators of Make Them Beg, a professional self development program. For example, they suggest you block out gym time, reading for pleasure time, coaching your kid time and date night. Even a person with almost no flexibility in his or her work schedule can block out 15 minutes for a walk rather than eating lunch at their desks.     

“You have to plan for play. Otherwise work expands and there’s no time for play,” Kizorek says. Today, it’s easy to stay a little later at the office or work through lunch because there’s always more to do. Using your calendar effectively can help you with boundaries.

Villalobos says once you put “play” into your schedule, it helps to get people who are important in your life to keep you committed. For example, she blocks out three hours twice a week on her calendar to paint. She has asked her boyfriend to help her stick to that schedule.

Realistically, there will be times when you have to reschedule a fun activity because of work demands. “At least you know what you missed so if you don’t do it, you move it to another day,” Villalobos says.

If you’re in a relationship, experts advise letting your partner participate in creating your calendar. A friend of mine sends his spouse an electronic invite to his poker night signaling that she has the night free to schedule her own fun activity.

Scheduling everything may seem rigid. “That’s the opposite,” Villalobos insists. “By putting things on your calendar, you can focus on what you need to do in the moment. It allows you to be far more present.”

With more people converting to electronic calendars or hovering between paper and online options, how we coordinate our schedules is in flux. But for balance, it’s often better to track personal and professional in one place.

Sharon Teitelbaum, a Boston-based work-life coach with ST Coach, says to calendar all important life events including birthdays. It may sound like common sense to calendar your son’s birthday, but people forget and schedule business travel, she has found. She also advises putting work events in your calendar as far in advance as possible and tasks that lead up to them. “You don’t want to agree to host a dinner party the weekend before a work retreat.”

For many busy people, the traditional way of scheduling needs to change from calendaring a due date to creating a timeline. If you have a big project you need to have completed by Feb. 15, Teitelbaum says break it into weekly tasks leading up to that date. “People vastly underestimate how long things take and the number of interruptions they have to contend with,” she says.

Julie Morgenstern, who created the Balanced Life Planner with Delray Beach-based specialty retailer  Levenger, says that even on a daily basis people don’t plan realistically. “By bravely recognizing the limits of each day and how long each to-do on your list will take, we can see in advance what will or won’t fit into our calendar, and become more strategic,” she said.

Because our attention spans are shorter, Morgenstern says we need to schedule with that in mind and “break down our work into smaller pieces to fit the smaller windows of time within which we can focus.” For example, if you have a six-hour project, break it into a series of six one-hour steps. “It’s easier to resist distractions when you have something specific and measurable to focus on for an hour at a time.”

Computer systems developer and blogger Chris Skoyles advocates a non-traditional approach to using a calendar to improve your work-life balance — using two calendars.

While you’re using your first calendar to track your daily schedule, you use the second as a diary to keep tabs on how you’re faring in achieving your goals for the year.

If your goal is to spend an extra 200 hours with the kids or at the gym, break it down into weekly or monthly blocks to make it less formidable, he suggests on his Lifehack blog. In your second calendar, mark down how much you’ve achieved each day or each week. You can write down anything associated with your goal, such as researched diet plans or brainstormed fun kids activities. Writing down your achievements at the end of the day rather than crossing them off a to-do list as you go along has more benefits than you might think,” he notes.

Skoyles, who used this method to train for a marathon, has found goals become more attainable and you more motivated when you see ongoing progress. He suggests each week you check your progress and find room for improvement.

“If you haven’t written anything for a specific goal in a couple of days, is that a sign that maybe you need to work extra hard on that goal? Or maybe that goal wasn’t as important to you as you first thought and it’s time to reassess. If you’ve been cruising along nicely but haven’t seen much improvement, is now the time to think about taking things to the next level?”

Villalobos recently accomplished a personal goal and a step toward balance when she finished a two-day art workshop that she had wanted to take for years. It took getting control over her calendar, scheduling play time and retraining her brain. “Your calendar becomes your promise to yourself, and you need to honor that promise.”



Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/22/3195476/cant-find-time-for-play-try-scheduling.html#storylink=cpy


January 21, 2013

You need an accountability partner -- especially on Blue Monday


                                             Exercise and partner


Today is Blue Monday. The third Monday of the new year. The day of the year the day of the year on which most of us feel at our lowest ebb.

Right about now, you might realize that achieving your goals for 2013 on our own is hard work.

But what you may not have realized is that there is somebody in your network who can help.

You need an  "accountability buddy" an old, yet tried-and-true tip for sticking to your resolutions.

I have chosen mine and it’s working out well.

For 2013, I resolved to exercise more often. My sister and I have been meeting up twice a week at an evening fitness class. Usually we will call each other or text and check in and make sure the other hasn’t come up with some excuse for weaseling out of going to class. Being accountable to someone for sticking to my resolution has made it much more doable. I haven’t missed a class yet.

You want better work life balance in 2013? You want to make time for exercise, a hobby or your family? Find an accountability partner is someone who prods you into action, will be honest with you and keep you on the right track.

If you want to get out of the office earlier in 2013, who do you know who is good with hard boundaries? What can you learn from the way they organize their day and can you ask them to hold you accountable, to check in with you on their way out so you can walk out together?  

In her new Encore Career Handbook, Marci Alboher shares the story of Cathy Abbott, a senior executive at an energy trying to figure out what she wanted to do after she retired. Cathy found a friend in her same situation who became her accountability buddy. They would meet regularly for drinks or dinner and end every get together with a statement of what they would do before their next meeting to explore what they could do next in the next stage of their lives.  Cathy eventually got a Master’s in Divinity and is now a minister. She says the regular check-ins were crucial to choosing a path.

My pal Michelle Villalobos, a motivational speaker and consultant, wants to paint more in 2013. She has blocked out 3 hours twice a week. But she knows that’s going to be easy to blow off.  Michelle asked her boyfriend to be her accountability partner and hold her to the commitment. Her boyfriend even helped her turn the garage into an art studio. When she’s supposed to be in the studio, he checks with her to make sure she is there. “It takes practice making it a habit and it helps to have someone encouraging you. It’s important who you choose because if you start resisting, you need someone who will stay on top of you and make sure you don’t give up.”

I was talking to Michelle about it and she’s completely comfortable with her boyfriend being her accountability partner to ensure she makes time for her hobby. But if her goal was to exercise more or lose weight, having him as her accountability partner might be stressful: “I might start wondering why he’s pushing me lose weight, and asking myself, “Does he think I’m fat?” It can create all kinds of insecurities.”

My point is, choose your accountability partner carefully based on your goal.

Kevin Daum, an author and columnist for Inc.com says he and a close entrepreneur friend, take an annual four day retreat to determine their futures and hold each other accountable. Kevin gives this checklist for finding an accountability partner:

  • *He or she cannot have a personal stake in your day-to-day life (No employees, creditors, etc.)
  • *He or she should be someone who is highly motivated to achieve his/her own goals, keeps
  •  commitments and stick to the process of holding someone else accountable.
  • *He or she should be someone who does not take shortcuts.
  • *He or she should be someone who knows you well enough to understand you and know your patterns.
  • *He or she should be someone who is not afraid of hurting your feelings when you need a push.
  • *He or she should be someone who is easy to reach.
  • *He or she must be someone you like and trust.


Some people call their accountability partner their best business asset and claim they make greater progress toward goals without getting stuck in ruts and keep from getting out of balance. Others say having an accountability partner just became annoying.

Have you ever tried an accountability coach? If so, what have you found to be the pros and cons?


January 09, 2013

Know your workplace rights and resolve a crisis before you get fired

Over the holidays, I made the time to read Donna Ballman's book, Stand Up for Yourself Without Getting Fired: Resolve Workplace Criis Before You Quit, Get Axed or Sue the Bastards. I found myself screaming out to my husband: Did you know......

For instance:

  • Did you know that a hostile work environment is not illegal. Being a bully in the workplace is not illegal. 
  • Most employers are required to have workers' compensation insurance -- but not all.
  • You can be sued personally for something you do as a manager.
  • No federal law requires your employer to carry health insurance coverage for employees. However, once they do have coverage, there are requirements they must follow.

What I like about Donna's book is that it uses lots of examples of real life workplace dilemmas. Donna gives you several options for how to handle them and the consequences of choosing the different options.

My Miami Herald column today goes into more detail about workplace rights. But basically what you need to know is that most of the time, employers can fire you for any reason. So act accordingly!

What you don’t know about workplace rules could cost you your job


Most employees believe they have more rights than they really have. What they don’t know could cost them.

Employment lawyer Donna Ballman has written a new book out aimed at shedding light on the legalities of the workplace for workers.
Employment lawyer Donna Ballman has written a new book out aimed at shedding light on the legalities of the workplace for workers. (CARL JUSTE / MIAMI HERALD STAFF)



The holidays are over, your boss is still a jerk and now you’re deciding whether to set him straight about how to treat you in 2013.

What you do next could cost you your job, shut you out of your industry for awhile or help you win a case against your employer.

As we launch into a new year, it’s an ideal time to brush up on your workplace rights.

“What you think you know about your employment rights is probably dead wrong,” says Donna Ballman, a Fort Lauderdale employee-side labor attorney and author of Stand Up for Yourself Without Getting Fired: Resolve Workplace Crises Before You Quit, Get Axed or Sue the Bastards.

If you think your boss needs a reason to fire you, you’re wrong. In every state in the nation, with the exception of Montana, employers can fire employees for any reason or no reason at all. But you can learn strategy to help you come out ahead in career-threatening situations.

Let’s say you choose to tell your boss he’s a bully or publicly criticize his style of management. Know that not a single state has a law against workplace bullying and that your criticism could get you fired in most states.

“When you work for a private sector employer, you have no constitutional right of free speech,” says Mark Neuberger, a management-side employment attorney with Foley & Lardner in Miami. “Most workers think they do and think they can speak out, but they are wrong. They get fired and learn the hard way that they might have been better off addressing their issues differently.”

Knowing your workplace rights starts even before you land the job.

Prospective employees are getting tripped up in the hiring process by answering questions on job applications and in interviews without knowing what’s legally allowed. An employer isn’t supposed to ask questions that reveal a protected status such as age or race. If an employer asks, “What race are you?” or “Do you have any kids?” you should answer truthfully, Ballman says, but keep a copy of the application or make a note of the inappropriate question.

Also, an employer isn’t supposed to do credit checks without your written permission. If you have bad credit, be ready to explain your situation. “They are supposed to give you a copy of the report and an opportunity to respond,” Ballman says.

Once hired, new employees face another quandary. They often sign paperwork without carefully reading what’s shoved in front of them. Big mistake.

“You should understand what you are agreeing to, and assume it will be enforced,” Ballman says. “And, if you are bound by an agreement, make sure you have a copy.”

Increasingly, non-compete agreements are at the center of workplace conflict. By signing one, if you leave or get fired, you may be forfeiting your right to work in your industry for a year or more after you stop working for this employer.

Ballman has discovered employers are slipping non-compete language into employee handbooks and job applications. Sometimes they are even told these agreements are never enforced. “Don’t sign anything if you aren’t sure what you are agreeing to or if you can’t live with it,” Ballman says. “Florida is one of the worst in the nation. Non-competes are being misused to bully employees into staying in terrible workplaces.”

January 07, 2013

Who to turn to for work life balance advice?

                                       Work life scale

Over the holidays, I had lunch with a friend who has been in her new job about two years. I asked her about the hours and whether the job has been more conducive to her work life balance. It was like I had let the flood gate down and suddenly she could vent, ask questions and get an outside opinion on work life matters.

If you have problems with work-life balance or overwhelming stress, it would seem logical to seek advice. But that’s not something we are prone to do.

Is it that we think we can handle it ourselves? Or, is it just that many of us don't know who to turn to for work life balance advice?

Harvey Schachter, author of  Advice is for Winners, says seeking advice is so rare – in work and in life, even in an era of counselling and consultants – that he has written a manual to encourage the process and help us navigate the terrain. “The book came about as I kept observing that people don’t seek advice and therefore make mistakes that are avoidable." He says gender is not a factor, "Generally we all are weak on seeking advice."

Schachter believes the No. 1 reason we don't ask for advice on work life issues is that it simply doesn’t occur to us. When we hit an uncomfortable situation, we don’t go through the process of asking ourselves: Do I have what it takes to handle this well, or should I seek advice? 

Right now, ask yourself: Do you have someone in mind you would go to for advice for a specific problem or issue?

Your go-to person might be right down the hall or in the next cubicle. Or he or she may be a complete outsider, someone you could become better acquainted with by asking for advice.

My suggestion is make your go-to person someone who doesn't have a stake in the outcome of your work life dilemma. For example, you wouldn't want to ask your co-worker if she thinks you should ask for a flex schedule if she has something to lose by your getting it approved. 

Good advice givers are often colleagues or even peers at another company who have navigated a similar scenario with success. He or she might even be able to help you change how you look at a situation or provide assurance that your approach or solutions make sense. Years ago, when I asked to scale back my work hours, I vented my work life issue to a women in the newsroom who had a similar schedule to the one I was requesting. She told me the pros and cons of making the change and encouraged me to ask, even guiding me with the right language to use when I made the request.

It's pretty common to create New Year resolutions around better work life balance. People pledge to give more time to their kids, or have a regular date night with their partner. Yet, we all know how hard it is to make resolutions stick. 

I think real change starts with getting in the habit of thinking about asking for advice when you are struggling with work-life balance issues and it moves on to identifying an advice giver. Remember, I'm here for you as a resource. Email me anytime at balancegal@gmail.com. Wishing you lots of fulfillment in 2013!


January 02, 2013

Your work life balance mantra for 2013


                                    Happy 2013

My son and I have the same cell phone. He knows how to work every feature on it. I don't. His is loaded with apps. Mine isn't. 

It's so easy to say it's a generational thing. But the truth is it's a time thing. I just haven't taken the time to learn how to use the features on my phone. I also haven't taken the time to figure out the apps that could make my work life balance easier.

So this year, my mantra is "show me how!"

If you want to take advantage of the work life benefits your company offers or all the technological innovations that could make your life easier, your mantra in 2013 also needs to be "show me how!"

Whether your goal for the new year is to lose weight, spend more time with family or get your finances in order it starts with  "show me how."

I truly believe the key to work life balance and happiness is never stop learning. I guarantee you will enjoy your work more and your home life more if you are regularly challenging yourself.

That means changing your mindset from "I don't know how to work the calendar on my smartphone" or "I don't know how to use convection setting on my oven" to "I want to learn, show me how!"

Remember to be patient with yourself and to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Opening yourself up to learning is a way to become more productive and maybe even to land a promotion. It can be a way of spending quality time with your spouse, child or friend. 

Today, I asked my son to show me the apps on his phone he thought I would find helpful. I watched as he downloaded them onto my phone and took notes as he taught me how to use them. I likely will need a refresher but for now, I'm off to a good start. 

I hope you will include my mantra on your work/life balance resolutions for 2013. Happy New Year!