Book Club: Life on the Wire — Purposeful Imbalance

Are you ignoring important areas in your life as you try to maintain a perfect work-life balance? If so, this book discussion is for you.

We should not be striving for perfect balance between our personal and professional areas of life. Purposeful imbalance is what Todd Duncan believes we should be striving for (and I agree). This is what we will be discussing this month in the BT Book Club as we learn from Life on the Wire: Avoid Burnout and Succeed in Work and Life by Todd Duncan.

walking the tight wire

Photo Credit: Marco Gomes via Compfight cc

I have read several of Todd Duncan’s books over the years. He is one of the first people I learned about intentionally living with purpose. I also learned several ideas from him on task and time management that have influenced me. Go to to learn more about Todd Duncan and his other available resources.

Life on the Wire lays out 10 areas of tension that we need to continually adjust back and forth for a fulfilling life. We will be reading and discussing it over the next four weeks as follows:

  • Week 1: Introduction – Second tension point
  • Week 2: Third tension point – Fifth tension point
  • Week 3: Sixth tension point – Eighth tension point
  • Week 4: Ninth tension point – The Summit

Let’s get started with the first discussion!

Week 1 Summary (Intro – Second tension point)

Having perfect balance in our life is a myth. Things continually come up at different times that require us to spend more energy and time in one area than another. We need to strive for a purposeful imbalance in our lives. This means we remain flexible, responding with increased time and attention in some areas when required while not totally ignoring our other important areas. We give ourselves permission to spend more time and energy in one area knowing that we will spend more time in other important areas when it is required in the future. This keeps us productive, focused in the right way at any given time, and reduces the stress that ultimately could result in burnout.

Many people feel they are locked into a certain job or career without the possibility of changing. Typically there is more opportunity to change than is realized. The type of job you need can change in the different seasons of your life. Jobs can be classified as comfortable or inspirational. If stability is what is needed then the comfortable job is more likely to fill that requirement. If you want more from the work you’re doing, then you may need to consider an inspirational job. Regardless of the type of job chosen at any given time, the more aligned and passionate you are about the work the more rewarding it will be.

People do more work to have a better life, but the time and energy used up can result in very little left over to enjoy the life you are working for. There needs to be a harmony worked out between making money and making memories. One way to determine the appropriate level of harmony for you is to seek the advice of experienced mentors. Once you know what to do, do it. The longer you wait the tougher it is going to be to make it happen. Determining the reasons you need to make a change in your money/memories harmony will provide you great motivation for doing the right thing.

Aha Moments

Things I need to work on, things I want to try, and new ideas come to me as I read great books. The following are some random thoughts that came to mind as I read this section of the book:

  • It is amazing to me that 75% of us feel our work life tension is excessive, yet less than 25% of us are trying to reduce it. The chronic stress that this would cause can explain why burnout is so prevalent today.
  • I wonder if I am considering many of the options that I have regarding work. I am going to schedule some time to deliberately seek out opportunities I may not be aware of then consider whether a change might be appropriate.
  • It is an interesting concept that most jobs can be classified as comfortable or inspirational. It is also interesting that we can increase the reward we gain from our job by being more aligned and passionate. I believe we can be more aligned and passionate in our current jobs by changing our mindset. Asking questions like “what aspects of my job can I focus on that will provide personal growth?” and then acting on the answers can better align us to our job without the job even having to change.
  • Trading off the time of making money versus making memories is important. I have experienced mentors who helped me in the past realize when I was not in harmony in this area. I am thankful for those mentors and I encourage you to seek out mentors that you can confide in if you don’t already have them. It will be life-changing.


Now it’s your turn. Read the Introduction and the first two tension points of Life on the Wire: Avoid Burnout and Succeed in Work and Life.

What did you learn as you read these chapters? Is there something you don’t agree with? What will you be applying new in your life based on what your learned? Share your thoughts in the comment section by clicking here

Next Week

We will be discussing tension points 3–5 next week. Enjoy your reading! I look forward to hearing from you.

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