Balancing Your Personal Life with Your Professional Life

Planning. Organization. Strategy.

by Janice Jaicks


There we were, driving down the freeway to visit a new potential venue for our fitness event. I’m discussing the room layout for workshops, and my coordinator is pumping. No, not iron…milk! Work. Life. Balance. Figuring out how to fit it all in and do it well. A common topic among friends, family and coworkers—finding a true balance between your personal life and your professional life can really be a stressful, challenging issue. It is clearly on the minds of many leaders in the fitness and health industries, as more and more books, videos and workshops try to tackle the question of what makes up a well-rounded lifestyle. 

Tips From the Pros

Successful national and international speakers make a point of trying to create balance in their lives and happily share what they’ve learned with the rest of us. For example, Shannon Fable, a powerful businessperson who speaks around the world, has created a group fitness management software company, consults for several well-known brands on education and operation, and writes numerous articles. Among them are blogs like “Time Management Guidance from One Busy Mom to Another,” in which shares how she keeps her sanity and stays connected to her husband and 7-year-old daughter. Same with Brett Klika, who has a 3-year-old daughter and a wife he makes top priority, in addition to being a strong force in the industry and always on the go. He says,

Sometimes I find it’s necessary to evaluate time, because time is what provides the opportunity for energy. I often have to audit how I’m spending my time and decide if everything I am doing during that time is necessary for my overall mission. This may mean turning down some opportunities, it may mean cutting out or “outsourcing” things that are taking away my ability to apply energy to the things that are important to me. However, if I cut out something it’s so I can apply more energy, not just time, to something more connected to my mission.

For Cody Sipe, PhD, co-founder of the Functional Aging Institute, this re-evaluation of priorities recently led him to alert business associates that he would not be checking email for a bit because he was traveling with his son’s soccer team. And while he managed to reply to important business-related texts, you can bet that he didn’t slack with that soccer team either! “A strong spiritual foundation and making my family the top priority are the keys to my success. It keeps me focused and makes saying no to the nonessentials easy,” explains Sipe, who has seven children with his wife Jenny. His business partner Dan Ritchie, PhD, (husband and father of five) is the first to say, “Don’t plan anything during Father’s Day. My wife would shoot me!” Mindy Mylrea, creator of Tabata Bootcamp, is another one who’s got balance in the bag. She has always maintained a powerful bond with her three boys, in spite of frequent travel, and she is launching a new workout program, while also standing by her husband Bruce through his cancer fight. 

It’s More Than Business

If you’re aiming for success in the world of fitness, health and wellness, it’s time to start taking notes on the examples being set by these types of individuals. Pay attention to the ones who “have it all,” and realize it’s because they’ve figured out how to have it all. Planning. Organization. Strategy. Not to mention a good night’s rest. These leaders don’t lead without sleep, because they need the energy to be the best for their families and the best for their businesses.

What else is essential if you have a family is their support—that of your spouse or partner is particularly crucial when it comes to busy careers. It’s important to discuss the things that bother your spouse. These can include working weekends, traveling, and attending social functions in which your spouse is not included. Communication is your foundation. Often, women struggle more than men with the balancing act. Though we say, “We’ve come a long way, baby,” the reality of it is an independent, successful woman needs a partner who can handle that…which isn’t always the case and which can lead to serious complications with work and at home. If there are challenges and struggles between you and your partner, it is almost impossible to give 100% to your professional life.

What’s best for my business is flexibility. The team in our FitnessFest administration office is comprised of a six-woman team that includes a nursing mom of a 9-month-old and a mom of a 1½-year-old. Anyone who has parented knows how challenging it is, and juggling the work week on top of it all is no small accomplishment. We tend to be more flexible in our office than a more corporate environment might allow, and although we try to be consistent, it’s not the end of the world if we have to alter our Monday morning meetings to accommodate a “situation.” 

So how can you be more balanced? 

1. Plan everything as far out as you can. Know when graduation is next June so you don’t plan a workshop that weekend. Know when special recitals are scheduled. Know your work calendar into the next year (if not farther). 

2. Keep a calendar. Maybe you prefer paper, maybe you prefer electronic, but post your calendar somewhere visible for quick access before you commit to something else. It’s all about how you will remember. 

3. When you are with your kids, your clients, your spouse, be fully present. Don’t answer the phone, reply to texts, or let your mind wander into the next hour. 

4. Maintain the support of your spouse/partner and your family by communicating your goals, your plans to reach those goals, and your schedule. Talk to them about what their goals and plans are, too, and find out what they need from you in order to accomplish them.

5. Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Options for this might include making a vision board, writing inspirational notes to yourself, or committing to daily journaling.

6. Take time for yourself. Period. AF

Meet our experts

AFM-Author-Jaicks Janice Jaicks, is a continuing education provider for ACE, AFAA, NASM and AEA, and is the former fitness coordinator for Fitness Forum Health Club in Chandler, Ariz.

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