cbaReport-March13 - page 10

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March 2013 CBA REPORT
balanced Living
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Matthew Curran
, an
attorney with Luxot-
tica Group, finds that
he has been able to
most effectively bal-
ance his life when he
identifies, “Signifi-
cant, legitimate areas
of life other than work that get priority
and focus, that don’t just get whatever
time/effort/attention that’s left over after
work is completed. These areas cannot be
second—tier in importance, and can-
not simply be something to just tend to
until it’s time to get back to work again.”
Amidst the familiar tug of war between
spending time with family versus time
with clients, Matthew has benefitted
from deliberately developing other facets
of his life. This sounds simple but many
of us tend to define ourselves by only
one or two of our life’s roles and neglect
other aspects of life that add pleasure
and meaning. And when the majority
of hours in your day are spent work-
ing, our role as professionals can dwarf
areas of our lives that reap different, but
equally important, rewards. As Matthew
expressed it “in terms of balanced living,
work is only one component of who we
are.”
Echoing this
viewpoint is
Rick
Barnett
, vice presi-
dent and associate
general counsel of
Hillenbrand, Inc.
Rick’s response to
the survey was suc-
cinct. “Know your priorities – and have
the courage to live by them in the face
of pressure to do otherwise. Family first.
Work second.”
When I read Rick’s response, the
word that struck me was
courage
. Setting
boundaries takes courage—especially
in a culture that rewards excessive work
hours. Rick knew he needed a change,
and one day a culmination of events
caused him to suddenly declare enough.
Even though he had no job to go to, that
decision afforded him incredible relief
and a whole new lease on life. Within
four months, he was working at his cur-
rent position where he continues to be
very happy. When I asked Rick how he
knew it was time for a change, he replied,
“When the pain of staying is greater than
the fear of leaving, it’s time to move on.”
Rick knows firsthand the difficulties and
insecurities when changing jobs and fac-
ing the unknown. Sometimes change is
no longer an option, it is a must.
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ast spring, the Health & Well Being Committee Survey asked attorneys to describe “the most important thing you do to help
live your life on a balanced basis.” Each person’s approach to living a balanced life is unique, but the importance of setting
priorities and spending time in activities separate from work was clear. There were 225 responses, and here are the stories of
several attorneys who graciously shared their thoughts with me.
By Jan Hatcher
Living Life on a
Balanced Basis
Claudia Allen
, of
counsel with Strauss
Troy, states that she
sets boundaries and
makes conscious
choices to enjoy life.
“I do not work at
home if I can help it.
I work at the office and if I have to stay
longer, that’s okay. But once I am home,
I am not dividing my attention between
working and my family. I see people
who are physically present at home but
mentally at work. I think it is healthier
to really be a part of the activities of my
family when I’m home.”
When asked if there was a pivotal
moment in her past that clarified a need
for change, Claudia immediately re-
counted being at the breakfast table when
her son, after asking his father about a
field trip, turned to her and said, “I don’t
even ask you because you’re working.”
Claudia told him she could — and would
— make time for the field trip and from
that moment onward, she, “made time
for life.”
During her career, Claudia has
provided counsel and encouragement to
new attorneys. She understands how at-
torneys can be paralyzed by their chosen
course of life when confronted with job
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