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Something I learned about work-life balance from Monsters vs. Aliens!

I took our boys to Monsters vs. Aliens this weekend.

Loved it.

It was a lot of fun... but it also offered an important lesson for me.

I will get to lesson in a second... but first... let me offer some M.v.A. background (without a plot spoiler) that might help...

There's a secret government agency that has collected and held "monsters" over the past 50 or so years.

When an alien invasion threatens earth... they enlist the help of these monsters to beat the four-eyed, multiple-legged intergalactic scourge!

The problem is that the monsters haven't really spent the last 50 or so years preparing for this.

They just get thrown into the middle of the situation and have to sink or swim.

It makes for a hilarious storyline, but it also helps to paint a picture of what happens when we try to come up with a plan in the middle of a crisis! 

Even though we know we can't plan for everything, we also know that the best time to come up with an evacuation strategy isn't in the middle of a fire. Right?

This is true when you are fighting evil aliens and it's true when it comes to work-life balance... isn't it?

For example, I had a recent coaching client who knew his life situation would be changing soon. 

He knew his next season with his business was going to call for him to travel more.  He also knew that his son was getting ready to head to college.  Yup... things were shifting. 

While he was looking forward to much of the changes, he also knew they might also cause some stress... at least initially.

So, we started to plan for them. 

Yup... even though the shifts were a year away, we started to put a strategy together... now. 

We started to look at his business and talk about his weekly schedule. 

  • How could he get his staff ready for him to be out of the office more often? 
  • How could we increase his ability to work remotely, without it taking over his life outside of work? 
  • How could we start scheduling his week, in order to better prioritize the types of meetings he was going to engage in, here... and on the road?

We also looked for ways for him to make time for his family and protect time for his family.  We experimented with ways that this could help now... and for ways this could work when he was traveling more and when his son was away at college.

Yes... even though these life changes are a ways out, he's putting his plan together... now.  And he's already seeing the benefits.

Now, some of you may read this and be encouraged to put together a plan for future "shifts" in your own life... and that's great.  I encourage you to do that!

But, some of you may read this and say, "Well... GREAT!  I'm already in the middle of a crisis!  How can I plan now?  I don't have time to think, let alone... plan!"

Hey... I totally understand.  But you can take a lesson from Monsters vs. Aliens on this front too!

Because, even when the monsters found themselves in middle of the crisis, they didn't give up!  They simply started to "experiment" with solutions. 

Some worked... and some didn't (cue our 8-year old's belly laughter!)!

We can "experiment" too!

Look for shifts that you can make that are small but significant.  Don't try for 180 degree changes... look for 1 and 2 degree changes.  These will be easier to try and implement.  Plus, they will be easier to maintain!

Maybe it's as simple as looking for one way to change your planning this week. 

  • Maybe instead of putting your daily to-do list on the back of an envelope, you try writing it in a binder that you carry with you all the time.
  • Maybe instead of writing your to-do list, as you go.  You take 5 minutes later this afternoon to plan your day for tomorrow.
  • Maybe, you say "no" to one meeting this week that you don't really need to attend.
  • Maybe, you get up 15 minutes earlier one morning to take a walk.

Need some more ideas on making some small but significant steps? 

Check out flylady.com for some things you can do to simplify things at home

Then, for work, check out these 10 steps towards better work-life balance that Fortune magazine recently featured. 

Okay... so those are a few lessons I learned from Monsters vs. Aliens. 

  • Plan before the crisis. 
  • AND... when you are in the middle of a crisis... don't give up!  Instead... "experiment" with some small but significant changes!

How about you? 

What did you learn?

More importantly, what have you been learning about your own work-life balance? 

Jump in the conversation.  Click on comments below and let us know!

Lastly, I wanted to just say thank you to all the IOWABIZ readers!  Due to some fun "shifts" with my own business, this is my last post here.  You can continue to follow some of our developments at www.BIGdreamgathering.com and keep me in the loop on what's happening with you! 

Again, thanks!  It's been a honor!

Keep dreamin' BIG!


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Now I HAVE to see the movie! Great post Mitch. You'll be missed at IowaBiz. Dream big, my friend, dream big.

Todd -

Thanks buddy! I appreciate it! Keep up the great work buddy!


Just came through this post, The video is fabulus. Keep posting on this kind of topic.

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