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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Coach Paradise: Account for More Than Just Hard Work

Dear Coach Paradise,
I am a student and I am a very hardworking individual. My ultimate goal in life is to become a very successful CPA. My current problem is that I focus too much attention on my schoolwork. I am currently enrolled in nine courses. Although I have a 4.0 grade–point average, I have a difficult time managing my social life. I do not spend any time with my friends or my family. My friends are concerned that I am slowly losing my social life.
Unbalanced Student
Dear Unbalanced Student,
First of all, let me acknowledge you for being a hardworking person who has a goal and who is able to picture yourself as successfully achieving that goal. You are onto the secret of all successful people — business people, athletes, artists, etc. Let me also acknowledge you for being open to what your friends and family (and your own inner guidance system) are saying to you: It is worth looking at the question of life balance. You are lucky to have people in your life who care enough to be concerned that you may be pushing yourself too hard. Or maybe they are just jealous of the time you spend on your schoolwork and would like a bit more of your company.
Nine courses sounds like a lot. I can’t tell from your letter if this is because you plan to graduate early or because you are a driven perfectionist who has something to prove. Have you always been a nose-to-the-grindstone type who has passed up an outing with friends to study for exams weeks away? Do you behave in this single-minded way in other areas of your life? Do you see an end to your workaholic lifestyle? Are you able to relax and recharge your batteries? What do you do for fun?
Most people have a number of “life’s intentions.” (For example, to be a successful professional, to be a loving friend, to be physically fit and healthy ….) When our actions are consistent with what we hold to be important, we feel in balance, in alignment, happy etc. When we don’t act in a way that honors our intentions, we feel out of balance, stressed out and cranky. You get to choose when and how to focus on what matters to you. You might tell your friends that when the term is over, you will be free to hang out with them and then do it. You might choose to reduce your load and realize that you are happier and experience more overall success and wellbeing when you take a day out of your week to relax and connect with others. Try things out and see what feels right to you.
I’d like to leave you with the image of a circle cut like a pizza into 8 slices — the Wheel of Life. Each piece represents an area of your life: career, money, friends and family, personal growth, physical environment, health, significant other/romance, fun and recreation. Ideally, when each area of our life is healthy and happening, the wheel rolls smoothly. Often we find that one area may be thriving while another is neglected or in distress and the wheel rolls in a bumpy, out-of-kilter way. No good or bad here, just worth noticing so we can pay attention to the potholes, repave the road in certain neighborhoods and/or get four-wheel drive.
To your successful balancing act,
Coach Paradise
Editor's note: Coach Paradise (AKA Anne Nayer), Professional Life Coach, is a member of the International Coaching Federation, an MSW clinical social worker-psychotherapist and a medical case manager with 30 years experience working with people of all shapes, sizes and challenges.
For further information about her services, call 774-4355 or email her.

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