4 Mental Strategies To Balance a Successful Career & Fulfilling Personal Life

Kathleen Byars | March 4, 2018

When I first began working internationally, I was elated. It was my dream to become an international business executive and travel the globe.

I loved my work, I loved going to new places, and I loved being part of something bigger than the USA.

As I roamed the world, I found that over time my delight was somewhat dimmed. For as much as I loved to experience new places, I was doing so alone.

It’s not that I didn’t have amazing colleagues to hang out with or friends to see, it’s just that I didn’t have anyone special share the adventure. I felt alive when I traveled and I wanted to experience this feeling with a partner.

My schedule was so hectic that I rarely found time to date. And my career success was intimidating to most of the men I met. Of course, they said that my success didn’t matter, but it always did.

My father used to ask me almost weekly, “When are you going to get married?”


My sister was faithfully married at the age of 21. My father and mother had enjoyed a 25-year marriage before my mother’s death.

Guess who stayed single?

  • My 30th birthday came and went.
  • My step-siblings found partners and married.
  • My first house was much larger than what I needed, yet I purchased it thinking I would someday “grow into it” when I found a spouse.
  • I even purchased an extra Christmas stocking for my would-be husband. It hung empty year after year.

As my professional life skyrocketed, my personal life was stalled. I was lonely and felt like a failure without someone to share my life.

I tried a lot of things to right-size my life.

I took up running and hired a former SMU-football coach as my personal trainer. I learned to lift weights and built enviably toned arms.

I outsourced chores and tasks to make better use of my time. I hired a housekeeper, a landscaper, a dog walker, a personal shopper, and a private driver; (I also had an amazing executive assistant at the office).

I said “no” to invitations and demands on my time that I deemed non-essential.

I evaluated job opportunity after job opportunity thinking I simply needed a career change.

I took up scuba diving, volunteered at the opera, and nurtured relationships with a few, close girlfriends.

I thought I was making the best use of my limited time.

I didn’t get it.

A balanced life isn’t about MORE TIME.

It’s what you do with that time. And while SOME of the things I was doing with my time felt pretty good, I was still off kilter.

I thought I was making smart choices, yet a calm, thriving life alluded me.

I was still lonely. I was still working more than necessary. And I was still stressed and anxious A LOT.

I didn’t know how to quiet my mind.

I didn’t know how to invest in myself.

I didn’t know that I was playing small. I thought I was playing big.

And I had no idea that the answer to my discontent lie within me.

I didn’t need more time. I needed a new relationship with my career and myself.

I was running around trying a bunch of “stuff,” but I wasn’t creating change….I was just doing more stuff.

What I learned is that I had to rewire my belief of what’s possible and recalibrate the ingrained behaviors and habits that stood in my way.

I would love to tell you that once I understood this, it was easy. It wasn’t.

And it’s damn scary to look in the mirror and let go of the beliefs and habits embedded since childhood.

  1. I rewired my belief that work had to come first and life second. Instead, I learned to meet my human needs and give those needs that required attention my focus at any given time. Sometimes that meant work. Sometimes that meant play. And sometimes that meant caring for others.
  2. I rebuilt my belief that success requires sacrifice and I learned that those at the highest echelons of success can create an abundance of time to live `a fulfilling personal life.
  3. I learned that a balanced life isn’t about having equal time to do all the things I wanted. A deeply balanced life comes from meeting your needs using the most effective strategies available to you at any given time and knowing when you need to stop meeting one need and favor another.
  4. And I learned that I was flying without a compass. I had no idea about my intrinsic purpose or how to leverage my “Why” across my life. I subscribed to society’s ideal of success and I wasn’t living in alignment with my own values.

Once I learned these shifts my life irrevocably changed for the better.

I didn’t have to simplify or give up what I loved.

I didn’t have to be poor to be happy.

I didn’t have to give up my career.

And guess what?

As I began this journey of evolving myself…

I met and married a fascinating man (and he didn’t care two winks about my salary or career success).

I started doing some of the best work of my career.

I gave birth to two, sweet-natured boys and became present in the little moments of their lives each day.

I lost weight and stopped stress eating.

I slept soundly at night.

I began reading again and returned to my long-lost passion for dance.

And instead of living a life that was dim, I began living in full color.

Today, I am traveling the world once again. Yet, this time I am not alone. My family is right alongside me.



I teach female executives and high-achieving women how to create balance in their life without sacrificing success. If this resonates with you, feel free to watch this free presentation on how it’s done.

Note: once you register, a replay link will be sent to you if you cannot attend at the current time.

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