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How to find BALANCE in your life

Where do you get your best ideas? For me it’s cycling. Hopping on a Boris bike (aka Santander cycle) across London I have the space to think and when I’m not racing to a meeting or school pick up, I try to think of one problem only and give that a concentrated 15 minutes of space (albeit whilst peddling).

At a recent mental health symposium hosted by Media Strong, Jonathan Levy, the executive editor and Managing Director of Sky News, said he decompresses on his commute home on the underground. It’s 45 minutes of no Wi-Fi, just telly, books and listening. Experiencing the rigours and mental load of the newsroom takes its toll and the symposium highlighted the need for physical as well as mental wellbeing.

The location is an interesting one. I was recently introduced to the work of Kevin Cashman, Vice Chairman, CEO & Enterprise Leadership at Korn Ferry and author of The Pause Principle: Step Back to Lead Forward. It contends that leaders today not only need to act more quickly but also pause more deeply, and to do that, he outlines a process to guide you to step back in order to lead forward via your personal leadership, your development of others, and how you foster of cultures of innovation.

I liked this idea of stepping back. Years ago, I started a workshop series called Step Back To Step Up – an opportunity for early to mid-career women to take a few hours out, have a cocktail and think about their values, how those align with their personal brand and have their headshots taken to boot.

To quote Pico Iyer, "In an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow… in an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention… in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still."

And the person who introduced me to that quotation is Dr Amy Bradley, professor and author. In the book Running on Empty which she co-wrote with Dr Katherine Semler they have a great way of looking at this with a simple but thorough acronym BALANCE.

These are the things that she recommends leaders consider:

B-urnout Awareness: Recognize and avoid cultures that glorify burnout. Leaders must ensure that overworking is not seen as a badge of honour.

A-lignment of Purpose: Clearly define your goals and contributions to maintain focus and drive.

L-istening System: Foster an environment where listening leads to action. Encourage feedback and ensure it is acted upon.

A-ppreciate Individuals: Show appreciation and respect for each team member's unique qualities and contributions.

N-o is an Option: Respect boundaries and understand that it's okay to say no to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

C-onnectedness: Create opportunities for team members to connect and share experiences beyond the office environment.

E-nergy Reciprocity: Regularly assess your own energy levels and well-being, ensuring you are taking care of yourself to stay effective and healthy.

Incorporating these ideas for BALANCE into our daily routines, we can transform how we lead and innovate. Whether it’s finding clarity during a bike ride, decompressing on a commute, or consciously pausing to reflect, taking the time to step back is crucial. As we navigate the demands of modern leadership, prioritising both physical and mental well-being allows us to foster healthier, more productive work environments.

By embracing these moments of stillness and reflection, we can cultivate a culture that values mindfulness and compassion, ultimately driving sustainable business success alongside personal fulfilment.

This PRmoment Internal Comms Review is written by Naomi Kerbel, Communications Director at SEC Newgate and host of the Show Me The Way podcast, which profiles trailblazing women.

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