Balance to the Rescue: The key to High Performance by Kathie Wickstrand Gahen (2003)


Guy Edson and I had this kind of philosophical talk about balance in life. He said everyone talks about the importance of balance but he believes that balance is boring and static. He loaned me this wobble board as a visualization of balance in life. This is a round disk about 20 inches in diameter with a semi cone on the underside. If you stand on this thing you are in motion all the time. In life you are going to be out of balance. And so on this thing, there is no way for a human being to stand on there, at least not me, and have it not move. So the concept of the balanced life, I believe is a tricky one and especially in a sport like swimming. Guy says you can tip to one side or the other or front and back being out of balance all the time. The trick is, to understand that the fulcrum on the bottom of the board, around which everything else tips, is what you truly value.

I am going to tell you a little bit about my background and why I am speaking about this is. I believe that we all keep what we most need to learn around us and I have absolutely needed to learn about balance. This has been one of my lifelong lessons, I still work on it on a daily basis. In 1991, I was coaching at Northwestern and I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma. I can remember being in the office of this doctor (and I didn’t go to the doctor very much at all because I didn’t have time for doctors) because I had this thing on my face and my friends kept saying to me you need to go and get that checked out. I went to a doctor and I had all the moles removed and he said you need to be here tomorrow because I think you have a malignant melanoma. I said I can’t come tomorrow I have a swim meet, he said no, you really need to be here tomorrow and I said no, and I didn’t go. I didn’t go and he had rearranged his schedule and it didn’t even dawn on me that that this was a little more important than a swim meet.

At the time when I was coaching back then I can honestly tell you that the patient, loving, respectful, joyful half of me went to my 24 swimmers. The bitchy, angry, not very happy, tired half of me went to my family and my closest friends. That is the part of me that they got because I was so obsessed with winning and so obsessed with working hard that I could not slow down. I really did not know how to be a swim coach and how to slow down. I didn’t have any model in my life growing up that showed me that that was possible, but I always said that I wanted to become a coach and do it differently and what I found myself doing then was exactly how it was modeled to me.

One year I won the Big Ten coach of the year, and at the time I can look back on that and remember standing – it was in Indianapolis– I remember standing up there and I am from Indianapolis so I have a lot of family and friends there and I can remember seeing everyone, and I never once felt like wow, that is so great that you did this. In my mind the first thing that it did was flash – what’s next? What is the next thing I am going to have to do – oh my God we are losing three or four seniors, how in the world am I going to replace them – I haven’t been recruiting enough, I haven’t been working enough and my mind would not even allow myself to celebrate that for a second. It was bout that time that I really got it, I really noticed how externally focused I was.

I am going to tell you a little story about being externally focused if I can remember all of this. There was a man who was really annoyed that these kids that were throwing rocks at his house. He wanted to find a way to get them to stop. And so he said to them, you know what you guys I am going to pay you a dollar every day that you throw rocks at my house. So they said well sure, we will be back. They came over and threw rocks at the house. A few days later he said you know I’ve fallen on some financial hard times so I am only going to be able to pay you .50 to throw rocks at my house. So he gave them .50. Two days later he said you know what, I just lost my job so I can only pay you .10 a day to throw rocks at my house and they all sat there and they are like well that is not enough money to throw rocks at your house you know and so they decided not to do it any more. You know at first they were doing it for the risk and for the fun of it. Once that wore off they turned to external motivation and once that wasn’t there they quit! I think when our motivation in life is externally focused, it wears off.

So that is a little bit about how I was so externally motivated and to tell you the truth and I will tell you why – because – at the time – in my lifetime about this time I was talking about I very unhappily married. So there was a lot of stuff going on with my family that I didn’t really want to deal with. I was not very happy in my own skin. I didn’t say that of course, but I wasn’t really – I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin and I did not slow down long enough to be able to know that that was going on. You know I couldn’t identify a feeling if it slapped me in the face because I was going so fast.

Here is a book Gordon Leonard wrote. He found that “48% of 4,126 male executives saw their lives as empty and meaningless despite years of professional striving. This emptiness was often marked by an underlying sadness that, according to the study, rises to the surface when the individual slowed down long enough to feel it.”

I do believe I have never met a person that is out of balance who didn’t run into something. Now think about that for a second. Now I know now, I was running into something, but I didn’t know then what I was running into. I didn’t know then that I just didn’t want to work so much. I think most of us in this day and age, that we feel, and I don’t want to speak for you all, but I sure feel the pinch of too many phone calls, too many cell phones, too many emails, too many faxes you know, just too much – too many choices. And there are too many TV stations to pick from. When I hear people say oh there are no good TV shows, it makes no sense because there are 500 now you know. There are so many choices out there you would think we would all be happier and it would be easier but actually it is just the opposite of that.

In your handouts, I love this last one ‘Overworking is this decades cocaine.’, This is a kind of all American. When I quit coaching one of the things that I told people was I felt like I could sleep for a year. I really was that tired and when I slowed down I couldn’t believe I was so tired. This isn’t the most politically correct thing to say – I have an addiction certification – so in the 80s you know cocaine for pain was a good thing. And what they did in the addiction world is that overworking became the cocaine of our decade. And you know, the thing about cocaine is that is not socially acceptable to do. You know like if you walk around doing cocaine like it might inspire you or stuff, but if you overwork you actually get rewarded for that – either monetarily or socially you get rewarded. So I believe if we work too hard, if we don’t give enough time to ourselves we get rewarded.

This is also, this is from a study they did and I love the words they used – information obesity. That is what our culture is like. Isn’t that a great word – information obesity? And then this one from your handout, a company in the year 1999 and then they showed and I just did this because it was 1999 when they did this – what a typical day for a manager was. (Information Obesity: 46 phone calls, 25 emails, 16 voice mails, 16 faxes, 9 cell phone calls, 15 postal letters to handle, 8 inter-office memos).

I am sure some of you feel this way and this happens in your life and it doesn’t take rocket science to know that we are feeling stressful, having memory problems and I like the last one on here the most – is that we think everything is important. We don’t know any more of how to distinguish between what is important and what is not. Now there is a saying that I love and it says “I don’t change because I see the light, I change because I feel the heat.” Now I don’t know about you all, but I have never woken up in the morning and said hallula I need change _____. No? I have figured it out. Alright I have woken up and said oh my gosh I need to not care what people think of me. You know if I do that my life will be better. You know I do not think that way. I think kicking, screaming and blood you know things have to get pretty bad for me to want to change and actually even knowing that and that is absolutely true for all of us – that is human nature that actually resist change. And I hope that it is for you too, is that do not make a change because you have information. I read books all the time – I read a book a week about and I don’t change because I read that book, I change when I’m ready. So what I was saying this before about this balance wheel – I am not up here saying that this is the right way to live. What I am saying is that if your life looks like this, I want to give you a tool to help you. I am going to give you a lot of tools this afternoon that I think can help you live a more balanced life.

What I absolutely know is that like I said before we have all these choices. We have all these commitments, we have all of these millions of things coming at us all the time and I coach a lot of people and I hear this one thing from almost all my clients – they want more joy, more time and more fulfillment in their life. I hear that from almost everyone and they are not sure exactly what that means, but that is what they want in their life and I can guarantee you one of the things I say to my clients is: If you want to change something, let’s say you are feeling the heat. Let’s say you are feeling overworked or whatever and you want to change something – I am going to offer you up a formula that I guarantee you will work, okay? Guaranteed and if you want to change some sort of peak fulfillment in your life it depends on one thing, your willingness to do something different. How many people in the room love and embrace change? Okay? Yeah, I don’t either and that is literally if your life isn’t working or there is something you want it to be different you have to be willing to do something different and so I am going to give you a formula that you can use.

I will tell you that it is so simple that it is criminal and nobody in this room will be too dumb for it, but I guarantee you some of you will be too smart for it okay? Because I believe the simplest things in life – like for example – be present. That is a very simple concept isn’t it? Focus and if I think being present is one of the most difficult things for me to do in the world is just really listen to you and be with you because my brain is going off at a million miles an hour with what I need to say and what I need to do, right? So it is a very, very simple formula. Here is the formula to change and this is one of my favorite things; if you do the same thing over and over and over and over again you are going to get the same results. I say to my clients, what is working in your life – what is not working in your life? And there is a three step formula if you want to change and #1 is you stop doing it – simple, right? Stop doing it. #2 is try something else, okay? Now what do you suppose #3 is? Any guesses? Different for everybody okay. What would #3 be for you? Slow down? Okay. Anybody else? Yes – do something for yourself, okay, good answer. I love that all the coaches are sitting there looking confused like what would it be? Yes? Find your passion – okay, good answer. So you are trying something else still, right? You are trying something else. So we are all still trying something else, right? Okay – evaluate so that is trying something else – evaluate. One more person – yes, change a little bit of what you are doing now. That’s actually a good one. Well the third one and I am not surprised that you all didn’t get this. Okay, the third one is ask for help. Okay, now let that sink in for a second. Ask for help. What does our culture say about asking for help? Any of you? Weak. What else. If you are a coach what does it say if you ask for help? You don’t know what you are doing – good. Okay, well welcome to the insane asylum of the western culture, okay because we are programmed in our culture to have to know everything.

I wish Bob was still in here because I am going to share a story with you because I am very much like this. I was coaching at Northwestern and I decided I wanted to learn windsurfing, okay? And the pool is right on the lake. Bob had a windsurfing thing – whatever you call it in the office and so we went out one day and see in my mind I swam my whole life and I am a coach and the thing is in water so I should be able to do it? Right? That is how my mind worked. Okay? I don’t know if any of you can relate to that but that is how my mind worked. I know nothing about wind. I am one of the most unbalanced person metaphorically and literally and after about a half an hour and Bob is one of the most patient people I know – after about a half an hour he looked me in the eyes and he said, it must be really painful to be you! And I started crying. I just started crying. Beautiful day, we are doing wind surfing and I am balling, like why did you say that to me and he said because you always have to everything right the first time. You don’t have a beginners mind. You need to learn to have a beginners mind, to learn things you know like step 1, step 2, step 3 and so on and I just didn’t have a clue how to do that and I think a lot of you in the room can probably relate to that. I know a lot of my athletes could relate to that. So asking for help I think is essential – whether that means you get a mentor, whether that means you hire a coach, go to a therapist – whatever it means, that you are able to ask for help when you need it, okay? So here is what I want you to do. There are eight categories on this slide right here. Career work – you know what that is. Relationship; family, friends. Fun, and leisures: some of you might not know what some of these are. Service: volunteer work, contribution to others. …………
and persona growth: that is a very personal thing, whatever that means to you. Finance, money. Physical environment – what I mean by that is the home you live in, California, your car, your office, like your physical surroundings and lastly Fitness and health. And what I want you to do is 1-8 I want you to list what you value. What is the very most important thing on that list to you and put it in rank order. You are only going to get a minute so go now. Okay, everybody have it? just wherever you want. I was going to put them up on the walls but that didn’t quite happen. Okay, so, are you all done? Alright so what I want you to do now – Jim and Terri and Susan are holding some up. I was going to have these taped up on the wall. If, I want you to go with what you put as #1 so if you put career as #1 you are going to come over here. If you put service as #1 you are going to come over here. If you put relationships or family you are going to put it over here. Finances there. Fitness and health, spiritual life – back there with Terri, physical environment, Fun and recreation. So, go to the one that you put #1. I have to wake you up somehow. It’s a little crowded yeah, that’s good. Come join me. Okay, so fun and recreation is back there where you are going Dave. Anybody in finances or money, no? okay. This group over here is family, friends, relationships, right? Okay. Over here we have career work. Service/volunteer: nobody. Anybody spiritual life? Back there. okay, does that cover everybody? Physical environment no one. Okay. The question was, what you value most in your life, okay, right? Now, what I want you – I don’t want you to be gut wrenchingly honest now – what I want you to do now is move to the quadrants that you spend the most time in and go there now. Go to the quadrant that you spend the most time in. Okay, now I don’t have a judgment about any of this, okay? But what does it say they did here? Anybody? Yeah, that is one way to look at it. Absolutely, but you know what I bet you guys are right on the nail right there. Now what you say is not actually what you do. A lot of people say my spiritual life and my family are the most important thing to me, but their life, how they live does not reflect that and if you – for those of you that have kids – ask them. Ask your kids, give them the 8, have them put it in order what they think is most important to them

Okay, and I am not saying again, it is not about right or wrong, it is about learning and if it works for you, you will keep on doing it. You wont change if it is working for you. The only way you will change is if it starts to fall apart and you either fix it like I did or you don’t. Something happens when you say, this does not work for me any more. This is not a bad thing.

A lot of times my clients say, well how do I know what I value? I don’t even know! These are some words (see ‘what do you value most’ slide and ‘value clarification’ slide) career, relationships, fun, service, spirituality, finances, physical environment, fitness. You can start to go through and get a sense of what is important to me because, how your life works tells people what you value. What you like = What you value.

Okay so I am going to share a little story with you. In 1994 I made a very gut wrenching decision to get out of swim coaching and it was probably the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. It is even hard for me to say that right now, today. I had been swimming since I was 6 and I quit coaching at 36 so it had been what I knew and I made a decision to – the whole system thing was a whole crucial awakening for me and my whole life – the way it was going was a real spiritual awakening for me. I decided to – I had gotten an addiction certification and so what I decided to do was go back to school for a degree in social work and work with student athletes in addiction. That was my plan. I told everybody that was what I was doing. I told my team and then that summer I went to Big Sur California to a place called F1. Big Sur, California is what I call God’s country and I went to a place called F1 and I did this workshop that was all summer long called moving on and letting go and it was pretty gut wrenching okay? And I came back – I was in Big Sur one day and the next day I was in the L – that’s a Chicago thing. I was on the L going to the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle which isn’t in the greatest neighborhood. I was going to social work school and I sat down and I am like what have you done? This is not you. I mean, I knew it intuitively, I laughed for two weeks and I am the kind of gal, I am a stick-to-it kind of gal. If I start something, I finish it and I knew inside that if I stayed there I would not be happy. I just knew it so I quit and something really huge happened to me, that is – I did nothing. I had no job, I had no title – I had no where to be – I was completely lost and it was very, very, very scary. I mean today, even saying it, I am like how did you do that? That was really a pivotal time for me.

I had a mentor at the time, her name is Chartosi – a couple of you in the room would know her and she told me every morning to journal and to ask myself one question and at this time, now let me go back to the formula. Stop what you are doing – I stopped. I wasn’t sure it was really the smart thing to do. And two, I was willing to try anything because I literally did not know how – I had savings but they were not going to last me that long. So I really knew I needed to try to do some different things and I also asked for tons of help. I had a mentor. I had a coach. I had friends that I told them, I am scared to death and they did not offer to pay my rent– you know but they really were there for me.

And so my mentor asked me to journal about one question every day and here was the question? What most excites you? Now that question horrified me because I didn’t have a clue. What most excites you? hmm, you know, and she said write it in a journal every day and just write what comes to you and I wrote for weeks nothing. Nothing excites me. Food excites me I mean, really I just didn’t have a clue and so the reason I share this with you is what I found is that questions really help me get clear about what I valued and so in your handouts I have included some questions. I really encourage you all – these are not what do you like for dinner – these are some really thought provoking questions. What excites you most? If money were no object what would you do? If you were to write your own obituary, how would you want to be remembered? I am not going to read all of these but I really think that they are very powerful questions that I use with my clients all the time and if you sit there and say I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know – the only person that is responsible for knowing is you – you. Right – nobody is going to answer these questions for you and so it would behoove you, I hope that since you are away from your normal schedule this week, you take some time and answer a couple of these for yourself and see what you come up with. I guarantee you if you answer these questions, you will get clearer about what is really important to you in your life – no judgment, again.

Now is I am going to offer you some tools that I think for me have really helped me lead a more balanced life and again, I think I am a work in progress – just like all of you are. The first thing I want to talk about, and something that I think is so important is authenticity. If year old want to lead any kind of life where and again, I am using balance as being able to make choices, having a more serene life, joyful – whatever that means to you. I absolutely think one of the key ingredients is authenticity. To me that means that I am being real, that I say yes when I want to say yes and I say no when I want to say no.

I am going to give you a little story of authenticity and if Dan Ross was in the room I would have checked it out with him ahead of time that I say this story but he is not here so I am not going to check it out. I went to Indiana University and you know how every college you have a school that you don’t like you know, if you are at Michigan you don’t like Michigan State. If you are at UCLA you don’t like USC – that kind of thing – for good reason, yes. You have big rivalries – well if you go to Indiana you don’t like Purdue, okay? And I was married at the time. I was a swimming coach and my husband was a football coach and he got the football coaching job at Purdue. It just so happened that the swim coach that had been there for 35 years retired and I got the women’s swim coaching job at Purdue and I was not happy about this. Okay? I was not happy about this at all. I hate black and gold, okay? I hate black and gold – I am a very color person. I hated West Lafayette. You know, this is not about Purdue – this is about me. Because I was from Indiana and if you are a Hoosier you hate Purdue, you know? I didn’t like who I was then. That was the big thing and I will tell you that it was so difficult for me to recruit to Purdue because here I was telling people how great Purdue was. Talking to them about coming there and what a great school it was and if any of you have ever been at the pool at Purdue – the old pool? It is one of the worst pools in the country, right Bev? Right Jean? Literally, it is bad. It is old Minnesota pool – same …….. okay? And so there was not much I liked about it and so I talked these recruits into coming and I felt so inauthentic. I felt like I am such a fraud. I would never have come to this school. I really felt that way and I am not – it is not Purdue – its about me. It was who I was at the time – Purdue is a great school and I really believe that. I will tell you this, from my swimmers that I coached at Indiana and Illinois State and Northwestern – I get tons of Christmas cards from all of them. I am still in touch with a lot of them. I do not hear from one swimmer at Purdue – not one and I guarantee you they picked up on my attitude. I guarantee you they did. Even though I thought I was faking it, I guarantee you the swimmers knew. So when I started realizing how inauthentic I was, I decided I would never take a job just because it was a job, that I would take a job because I wanted to be there. My favorite color is purple. I had tons of friends that lived in Chicago. I had always wanted to live in Chicago and it just so happened that the Northwestern job opened up and I felt really, really at home there for a lot of reasons. So that is just an example of how I was being really inauthentic with myself and I do not regret that at all. I would do that all – I do not regret that experience – I would do it all over again, but it was just a good sign to me of how I was living.

The other thing about authenticity – I like this thing – the more successful and powerful people become, the harder it is for them to remain authentic and the more out of touch with themselves they are likely to become. People start playing a role as opposed to being authentic. Look at Division I and II – Division I basketball – football – Look at corporate America – the more powerful a person becomes – the more difficult it is to say I don’t know. Consequently you start playing a role. I really encourage you all to model authenticity for your athletes.

The next thing I want to talk about is spirituality. So I am going to talk about a second the G word – the God word, okay? So no one panic. I think this is very personal to everybody. I am not talking about religion here – I am talking about spirituality. It could be a tree. It could be a higher power, Buda, Jesus whatever your God of your understanding – that is what I mean. My definition of spirituality is my ability to connect with my God, my ability to connect with me and my ability to connect with you – that is what spirituality means for me. It is that simple and what I find with my clients is that people who struggle the most in life are the ones that absolutely have no spiritual life. That they don’t know what this means for them. Now you can say what it means for you is I am an atheist, that I don’t believe. At least you know you don’t believe. The ones that I really struggle with are the ones that really think, and I love this saying …….. if everything depended on you – trust isn’t everything ….. depended on God that when I would get ego as in die outs. Like if I think everything is up to me, I guarantee you I didn’t do the Grand Canyon. I don’t understand computers and I don’t know how you flip on a switch and the lights come on. I don’t understand that, okay? I really don’t and I don’t always understand the whole God thing. I don’t pretend to be, but I know for me to live a balanced life it has been very helpful for me to believe in something greater than me. So, I will be off the G word in just a second okay?

The next thing I want to talk about is R&R. Rest and relaxation and I believe in our society we walk around with a badge – a big old red badge that says I am busy. I am busy! It is not a medal of honor that I invented. I think that a lot of people walk around like that and I love that there is a book called “The Sabbath” by Wayne Muir and I love this and I will read it to you because I love it, “without rest we respond from a survival mode where everything you need assumes this terrifying ………….. When we are driving a motorcycle at high speed in a small ………………… so when we are moving faster and faster, every encounter, every detail, inflates in importance. Everything seems more urgent than it really is and you react with sloppy desperation.” I love that word “sloppy desperation”. R&R it is not an easy thing for me to do. It is essential. I always say ask your swimmers or ask your kids if they think you need a break and see what they say. It is a pretty gutsy thing to ask.

Terri and I went to a spa about a month ago and you know, I was too busy. I don’t have time to do that. I have got a lot of things to do and I had a lot of things on my plate and I just said, forget it – we are going. And I will tell you what. I didn’t take a computer. I didn’t talk on the phone. I didn’t do emails. I didn’t do anything because a lot of it is we say we are going to take a rest, but we really don’t. We still got our computers there. We still got our cell phones with us. Like rats and I came back and I bet Terri would agree with this – that I felt like I was a better wife. I was a better dog mom. I was a better friend. I was more fun to be with than before I went. So R&R is so important, that seems really obvious to have a balanced life but it is not so obvious that people do it.

The next thing,and I touched on this a little bit before, is support. I believe in this thing from the top of my head to the bottom of my toes that anything is possible if you don’t do it alone. If you try to do things alone in life it will be hard. If you get support it will be a lot easier and there is a saying that I say all the time – when I work with my clients and they say to me things like, well I called so and so and so and so and they are not able to do things and I tell them my ideas and they never support me and they are hanging with these friends year after year after year after year. I say don’t go to the hardware store and expect to get bread. At the hardware store there are tools, right? You don’t go – if you want supportive friends, don’t go to the people that aren’t capable of doing it. Basic little thing but a lot of people try to get their needs met by people who are not available and can’t do it. So if you don’t have that in your life, create that in your life and you can do that. Don’t hang around energy vampires – you know the kind of people like you walk in their force field and they just start sucking the life out of you. If you are hanging around with a lot of people like that – guess what? I believe that we start to become the five people we hang out with the most. Whether it is in our minds or in actual time that we start becoming those people. Check it out – who are the five people I am hanging out with? And that is who you are becoming. So if you are hanging out with energy vampires guess what? You are one of them. Wet blanket people – what I mean by that is when you need support and you want somebody to kind of comfort you and somebody comes over and throws a wet blanket on you. You have this great idea that you are really excited about and somebody comes over and throws metaphorically a cold freezing wet blanket on you. When you have a new idea you need people to say wow – that is an awesome idea – great so make sure you surround yourself with people that believe in you and ask for help.

Some of you have heard this – last night. My mom died really unexpectedly in – the end of April and I have never had a parent die before and I will tell you – I have never felt more supported in my life. You know how they say out of tragedy comes beautiful things? I was so supported – the amount of phone calls – one of my closest friends got on a plane and boom – she went right out with me and helped me with all the arrangements. My husband was there for two weeks with me. I had never felt so supported in all my life and I will tell you what that probably would not have been the case 15 years ago.

I talked a little bit about this before and I said this is a simple thing, but I think a difficult thing to do. All I can do is all I can do, pretty simple thing. When you are at home be at home and when you are at work be at work. Most of you are probably really good multi-taskers, right? And you kind of pride yourself that you can do like 10, 15 things at once? I want to encourage you not to be such a great multi-tasker. If you want to lead a balanced life you should not be a fantastic multi-tasker. Because I believe what happens is, we become addicted to stress. Just like you become addicted to other things, your body actually becomes addicted to stress. It needs it. I know I am addicted to sugar and caffeine. I can guarantee you because I have gone off it and I know how I felt and I am back on it and I know how I feel. I can absolutely tell you that I am addicted to those two things and when I go off that my body is in turmoil. It is like I want caffeine. I want sugar. And I also believe that our body is the same – it does the same exact thing with stress. So if the thing that you value most is your family and friends then that is the most important. And if your kids or whoever asks you – I want to go out to dinner with you. I want to spend some time with you, it is like the mentality of you are the most important thing – work is an annoyance. Work is the thing that is intruding in on my life. This is the most important thing. This is an intrusion. And that is not how my mind is wired. I really have had to work on that. 80/20 rule: there is – I love this little rule that – it goes something like this –that 20% of the people will always do 80% of the work. Right? Are you guys like part of the 20? Most coaches are. Yes, 20% of the people drink 80% of the beer. Fact. Research – fact, okay? So the 80/20 rule how it applies to focus is that you are uniquely qualified to do 80% of your life so for me I am equally qualified to be a professional coach. Nobody else can do that for me. I am uniquely qualified to be a speaker, nobody else can do that for me. I am qualified to be Jim’s wife. Nobody else can do that for me. I am qualified to be my dog’s mom because I don’t have kids as you might have guessed – nobody else can do that for me so those are the things – those are my 80% – those are the things that I am qualified to do. I am not qualified to do yard work. I am not qualified to do accounting. I am not qualified to design a website. I am not qualified to figure out a new you know and email whatever, okay? I could go on, I can do all those things. I can learn anything and I am sure most of you are like that too. The fact is that if I spend time doing all those things – my 80% gets pretty jumbled and so what I have done is once a week and this is one of the most powerful tools I have done; I hired a personal assistant. Now I am not like a zillionaire, I am not Oprah. I hired a personal assistant. I pay her 8 bucks an hour. She comes once a week – figure out the math okay? She comes at 9 in the morning and leaves at 5 in the afternoon and she goes to the dry cleaner for me. She goes to the post office for me, she does all the errands that I can’t stand to do. I can’t stand to run around and do all that stuff. She puts packets together for me. She returned some phone calls for me, especially the people that I do not want to return the phone call to – none of you in this room. She does the kinds of things that I am not uniquely qualified to do. So the 20% – the other 20 I spend on my hobby

One my biggest mentors in my life is Doc Councilman. I was one of the few females that got to swim for him. I worked for him at swim camp for eight years and usually when I say Doc I don’t just say Doc I say Doc and Marge because the kind of go hand in hand and Doc – he spoke at ASCA a zillion years ago on the X-factor and I listened to his tapes – still to this day – all the time and basically what he says the X-factor is, is the ability to separate what is important and what is not. I have this story still in my head, he is one of those people that tells the same story over and over again, but I loved it. He used to say that if you are in a room and you are a coach and you have a chance to hire an exercise physiologist, a kinesiologist, a stroke technician or a psychologist – every time – pick the psychologist – every time and he said that to me because psychologists – some of them – would understand human behavior. You have to love people to be a coach because that is what you do when you are working with people so the thing that he would always say to me is the X factor. The X factor was that thing that you cannot measure. You know? That you cant really touch or see or smell – it is that quality that people have that are able to touch people’s lives that I think all of you are able to do. Develop the X factor in your life. If you want to lead a balanced life to develop that part of you that draws people to you.

The next thing is and – I ask some of my clients this – I ask, as a result of balance in your life what has happened. For those of you that have more balance in your life and these are some of the things that they said – I am not going to read all of them. They said that; hope returns. That they laugh easier. That they do things that they have never done, relationships improve. You sleep better. I think guilt-free now. You set better boundaries with people. You say yes when you want to say yes. You say no when you want to say no. You are feeling more grounded when you are able to make decisions easier. Everything doesn’t seem as important as it used to. This is a saying and I am going to close here in a second and you are going to have time if you want to ask questions – this is a saying by T.S. Elliott that I live by and I love it. It says,

“Teach us to care and not to care. Indeed teach us to strive for excellence, to be the best we can be, but not to become obsessed with winning and with success, especially if it comes at the cost of our conscience, our relationships and our families. And if we are obsessed, then we need to address the deeper needs that are causing our obsession.” And he wrote that years and years and years ago. You don’t see that in many little motivational books, but he wrote that a long time ago. So I just feel so privileged and honored to be able to be here with you today. These are a list of books – they are in your handout. These are books that I think would be really helpful in terms of life balance.

I will share one other little tool of that book that my mentor shared with me. Earlier I talked about information overload – well I am the type of person that could read a book a week and I will tell my clients about a new book every week and overload them and what she said to do is this: she said pick one book that you love, that you can get behind and read that for a year. That is the only book that you read. You read it over and over and over again and actually implement it in your life because it is hard to implement something. I read a book and oh that was good. Read the next one, oh that was good, but I don’t implement it. It’s hard to implement it in my life when I am reading it over and over again so when I challenge you all to do this week while you are here – you are going to hear a lot of suggestions from a lot of coaches. Take two or three sentences – don’t try to take twenty because what will happen if you take twenty? You won’t do any of them. It will be too overwhelming you will just say, ah I am just going to do what I have always done – it’s easier. You know what – it is easier to do what you have always done – I always say – to be awake is not for the faint of heart. It is easier to be brain dead you know. So this book, pick an idea, pick a suggestion that you get from this week and stick with two or three of them and implement those into your program. Implement those into your life and I guarantee you will see some changes so thank you all for being here.

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