How to Balance Family, Work & Personal Dreams

Find balance

Work and family don’t always align with our personal dreams. But they can all coexist with dedication and the right balance.

A client of mine had always wanted to be an author. When I met her a decade ago, she was happily married with two children — but had not been published. She’s a multidimensional talent with a quirky sense of humor and a joyful nature. She had embraced her role as wife and parent while trying to balance a part-time administrative job. It was important to her then that work never impinged on her home life.

The part-time job added to the family’s bottom line but did not satisfy her craving for something more. She’d studied English and journalism in college and loves books, poetry, and writing. After college, she worked for a small publishing company and dreamed about her writing being published someday.

We chatted periodically about this dream. Her life was busy, like many young moms, and she could not see how anything else could be squeezed into her schedule. She agreed to coaching and our partnership lasted more than a year.

One principle of coaching is to meet the client where they are. This means the coach can desire and see more within the client in terms of achievement. Despite that, the coach has to be consciously aware that the client sets the agenda and direction. They move at their own pace, in their timing — not the coach’s.

During our time working together, she became more proficient at time management, improved her focus, organized her new workspace, started a blog, reached out to successful authors she admired and hoped to emulate, worked on figuring out who she was in all of this, and took another writing class in which a close knit writing group was born. She ran with the idea of having their own Facebook page to stay connected between meetings.

She submitted an article and two query letters outlining articles she could write if the publishers were interested. Unfortunately, those efforts were met with polite rejection. Disappointment initially made her doubt herself and dampened her enthusiasm but we were able to move her beyond accepting failure to acknowledging how much she had grown as a writer and person. We also found appreciation for her family’s love and support during the process.

Like a book, everything has a beginning and an ending. Our work together is over for now, and she’s still pursuing her goal of being published. Do I think she is capable of being published? Absolutely. Does her family? They sure do. What about her? Well, this is about her timing, not mine or her family’s. She reached a plateau but is still hopeful, still writing.

I told her there will be a day when I shall find myself standing in a long line for her book signing. She corrected me and said, “In line? No. You will be standing right next to me.”


By Donna J. Spina