To maintain professional balance requires diligence and intentionality on your part. Here are four principles to help you stay focused on what is important both professionally and personally.

To maintain professional balance be thankful for the unexpected blessings

The journey of life often includes unexpected turns. These may bring unanticipated blessings.   Sometimes in life we think we know what the future holds and then we are surprised. Think children. Your future athlete becomes a musician. Think team member hires. The placeholder in sales turns out to be a gifted networker and influencer. Think lessons from pandemics. Work from home was terrible until you adapted and now you find you have options you had never considered.

To maintain professional balance, say it again even when you think you’ve been clear

When you are communicating with a subordinate or with a team member who is insecure, they will not hear your message the first time – no matter how clear you are. A subordinate is often reading the power relationships within the room and not giving full attention to your words – you’re Charlie Brown’s teacher.

A team member who is insecure is busy interpreting what your words mean for her and will miss the plain meaning of your message. Say it again. And, sometimes, again. You’ve thought about your message. It is clear to you. The words on paper may be unambiguous, but to those who are concerned with who is delivering the message or how the message impacts them, one time will never be enough.  

To maintain professional balance, strategic transparency is sufficient

No one who has experienced healthy relationships wants full transparency. This is true in any context – government, marriage, business, friendship.   Sure, there are people who say they want full transparency; they demand transparency. If you knew everything the government was doing do you think you would be happier or sleep better at night? Exactly how would that knowledge improve your life?

If you knew every thought that passed through your spouse’s mind, how could that possibly deepen your relationship? If your boss shared every plan for the future, would that make you want to go to work tomorrow? Be glad you don’t know what your friends are saying as they drive away from the party you just hosted.   Let’s be strategically transparent and admit that complete access to the minds of others would not enhance community.

Remember things are not the goal

There are numerous studies on the relationship between money and happiness. The gist, as I understand them, is that there is a strong correlation between an increase in money and happiness, but that at some point, further increases in money do not result in significant increases in happiness. This makes sense. Once you are able to pay the bills and don’t feel daily financial vulnerability, you are able to enjoy life without having to make significantly more than you do today.  

Money and things provide the context in which we enjoy life. Relationships and experiences are the life we enjoy. Pay your bills. Then invest in living among those you love and sharing your good fortune with others. Remember the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”   Be thankful for the happy surprises. Share important messages more than once. Don’t share everything you think. Make sure that money is your servant and not your master. These principles will enhance your relationships and life will be sweeter.

About Julian Consulting

Dr. Stephen Julian is President of Julian Consulting, a firm specializing in team health, effective communication, and leadership development. He has worked with leaders and their teams for nearly 30 years in a variety of settings – including Africa, South and Central America.