Life’s A Balancing Act

by Lance Ekum on · 42 comments

Original Artwork by Stacey from

“Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

Today, it is my pleasure to share with you an interview with one of our regular readers here at the Jungle of Life – Stacey from Create A Balance.  Stacey writes a well thought out and meaningful blog about achieving balance in our lives.  In it, she really digs into what this means – finding the balance that can sometimes be so elusive, and letting our true passions shine in the process.  Her words are spoken from the heart, and she has a real ability to connect deeply with her readers.

Please help me in welcoming Stacey here today!

With that, let’s get right into the questions.

1. Tell us, Stacey, a bit about who “you” are (family, career, any special life experiences you’d like to share, etc).

Here are the basics…

* I am a mom, wife, daughter, and sister.
* I have two boys under the age of 5 and I’m madly in love with them.
* I work virtually (from home) fulltime as a change management consultant..
* I live in Chicagoland. I was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in the Detroit suburbs. I visit family in Michigan often.
* I have a Masters degree in Human Development/Training and Development.

2. When did you start blogging, and what led you to this decision to write?

I started blogging in February 2008. For years I have wanted to share my passion for life balance with the world but I didn’t have a venue. My Ah-Ha moment happened when I was reading A New Earth (Tolle). My inner voice started shouting “create a blog”. I don’t know why (and I’m excited to see how it will unfold) but for years I have had the belief that it is my life calling to help people think about and practice the art of life balance. I feel so alive when I write about life balance.

3. Balance is a theme on your blog.  Can you describe what balance means to you.

What balance means to me…

To begin with, I believe life balance means different things to different people.

To me, life balance is about balancing the demands of being everything to everyone while not losing my sense of self, my needs, and my passions in the process. Life balance means balancing the needs of my inner authentic self and the needs of all of the other things that demand my time, attention, energy.

4. How do you find balance in your life?

There is a short version and a long version to this answer.

My short answer is that I stay aware of my sense of self, my needs, and my passions. I work hard to incorporate my needs and passions into my life. Needs and passion can change overtime, so I work on assessing my needs and passions on a regular basis.

I’m currently practicing the art of life balance by…..

* Being involved with Weight Watchers and exercising to focus on my physical well being.
* Taking a writing/art class to stimulate my creative energy.
* Paying someone to clean my house once a week to help me stay organized.
* Waking up early (before my children are awake) to embrace my creative practice (writing, blogging, painting).

Here’s my long version to your question…

After years of living and breathing my passion for life balance, I have finally developed a life balance process/framework that works. Here is a quick summary…

1.    I spend a lot of time discovering my authentic needs and passions.
2.    I write down my intentions and look at them often..
3.    I find some way to hold myself accountable. This is tricky. Right now I hold myself accountable by participating in group activities (Weight Watchers, my Art Class, etc). I’m working on developing an online tool to help myself and others to be more accountable to their needs, passions, and dreams.
4.    I practice being selfish. In other words, I self nurture and self nourish. I truly believe that to provide great value to the world I need to take care of myself first. It’s the airplane/oxygen metaphor that I recently blogged about…you must first put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.
5.    I force myself to take action. Your blog helps me be bold and daring, which is a catalyst for taking action.
6.    I celebrate my life and all of my baby steps. Life can be hard sometimes but there is a lot to celebrate if you can find time for gratitude.
7.    I share my life balance stories with the world using my blog. I also talk about the importance of life balance with anyone who is willing to listen. I believe what you focus on expands (the secret). And the more I focus on life balance, the more I am practicing the art of life balance.
8.    I reflect and assess my actions to determine if I am off balance in any areas of my life.

And then the cycle or the journey continues (back to #1).

One thing I know for sure is that life balance is a process/journey, not a destination.

5. I find your blog to be very motivational, and one that really makes me think.  What do you see as the purpose of your blog?

The purpose of is to help people think about and practice the art of life balance. It’s about helping people find and embrace Ah-Ha moments that make them believe that their sense of self, their needs, and their passions are precious and important. is dedicated to helping people balance the demands of being everything to everyone while not losing their sense of self, their needs, and their passions in the process.

I hope readers learn more about what they need to embrace their life balance desires.

6. If you had to pick one thing as your greatest achievement, what would it be (and why)?

My children are my greatest achievement. My second greatest achievement is keeping hold of my authentic sense of self while raising my children.

7. Where do you look for inspiration and motivation?

I find great inspiration and motivation from the incredible, remarkable, extraordinary members of the community. I am referring to the individuals that comment on my blog. They inspire me to think about life with a new perspective and challenge me to live outside my comfort zone to achieve my dreams. I am also inspired by the larger personal development blogging community.

Outside of the blogging world, my greatest inspiration and mentor is Susan Kennedy (aka SARK). SARK has inspired me to share my words, stories, and artwork with the world. She inspires me to be bold and daring and to push past the fear that comes along with sharing words and art with the world. She has also inspired me to develop a writing practice and to celebrate my authentic voice.

8. Tell me one unexpected thing that has happened because of your blog.

When I started blogging, I was focusing on how I would share my words and stories with the world. Unexpectedly, I have found a niche (personal development), and a community (the personal development blogging community). I have fallen in love with this personal development blogging community. Being part of this community is a great example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. This online community welcomed me with open arms and supports me in my dream of building It would be great to be able to have face-to-face conversations with members of this blogging community. I love blogging because we get to skip the small talk and jump right into having personal and soulful conversations.

The other unexpected thing that has happened since I started blogging is a significant increase in my creative energy. Creative ideas are flying out of my head faster than I can grab them. It’s very liberating to feel my creative juices flowing again.

9. Art, specifically painting, holds special meaning for you.  Could you talk about that, and how it plays in with your balance theme?
I know it is a cliché, but a picture (or a painting) does speak a thousand words. On my journey of sharing my authentic voice with the world, I’m also experimenting in expressing my authentic voice through art. I have been drawing, painting, and sculpting lately and I find it very exciting to find new ways to express my authentic voice. I’m working on expressing parts of my create a balance framework through art.

Note: The picture above is an original painting Stacey has graciously shared here with us.  I think that’s a great example of being both daring and bold Stacey!  And it’s a picture that shines light into this world!

10. One last thought Stacey:  What parting information would you like to leave with the readers here at The Jungle of life?
I’d like to invite the readers of The Jungle of Life to participate in my Life Balance Group Writing Project. The intention for this project is to get more and more people thinking about what life balance means to them. As a result of this project, I will be compiling an eBook filled with what today’s Personal Development bloggers have to say about life balance. This eBook will be an inspiring resource for people who need help taking steps in the right direction towards practicing the art of life balance.

Lance’s Comments: Stacey, thank you for sharing a bit of “you” with us here today!  Balance is something that can, at times, be difficult to achieve.  You are sharing an important topic with many people throughout the world.  I especially enjoyed your description of the process you use to achieve balance – real examples of what works for you.  Even if that’s not right for everyone (we’re all different) – it gives us all a framework for what can work.

And, I would also like to encourage our readers here to consider joining in Stacey’s Life Balance Group Writing project.  This is your opportunity to join forces and spread a message of balance and what that means to you.

Stacey, it has been a real pleasure to get to know you better here today!  You are a true ray of light in our world, and I consider myself privileged to know you.  Here’s to many successes for you as your life continues to unfold in new and exciting ways!

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacey / Create a Balance October 13, 2008 at 10:32 am

Thank you Lance for spotlighting CreateaBalance on your blog today. I truly believe life balance means different things to different people. There is no right answer or right path. Life balance is a process and a journey. I welcome everyone to embrace the practice of life balance, to enjoy the adventure, and to embrace their sense of sense, their needs, and their passions in the process.

Stacey / Create a Balances last blog post..How To Embrace a Money Recess


Tammy Warren October 13, 2008 at 10:42 am

Thank you so much for sharing this with us today. What a person, this Stacey. I am looking forward to reading her blog. I have connected with her already and I have even been to her site.

I love the fact that she mentioned finding “creative energy” in blogging. I feel that many of us are experiencing this right now. We are writing, expressing, and for me…”finally” feeling the energy for life again. I also enjoyed hearing her speak of “being selfish.” This is something new to me but I am sure going to give it a try. I have touched on it a little here and there but I always revert back to over giving. This was a big “wow” one for me.

Well, I will not break it down piece by piece but I have to thank you again for sharing.

Tammy Warrens last blog post..My Attentive Heart…do you have one?


m October 13, 2008 at 11:35 am

Thanks Stacey for sharing! A fantastic journey that you are on no doubt! Great interview Lance!

ms last blog post..The Benefits of Breastfeeding


Writer Dad October 13, 2008 at 11:51 am

Hi Stacey. It’s nice to see you here. I loved your airplane/oxygen analogy, and even nicked it for myself the other day. I would’ve given you credit, but I don’t think the lady on my porch could even pronounce the word blog.

Writer Dads last blog post..Pancake Wednesday


Vered - MomGrind October 13, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Thank you for this interview. It’s really good to get to know Stacey better.


Annette October 13, 2008 at 2:52 pm

great interview with Stacey!!! Love her blog and now I feel like I know her a lot better. I think the secret of life is Balance……… she has really hit it on the head with her awesome blog!

Annettes last blog post..The Little Things…


Dave Jones, CPA October 13, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Thanks to both of you for doing the interview, I really enjoyed it. I do enjoy reading Create a Balance and I am going to participate in Stacey’s writing project.

Dave Jones, CPAs last blog post..Three Things I am Thankful For!


Marelisa October 13, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Hi Lance, Hi Stacey: I think it’s great to help people find their Aha moments. I also love SARK 🙂

Marelisas last blog post..14 Tips to Stay Young


MizFit October 13, 2008 at 4:27 pm


I love the Behind the Blogger posts, Lance and was already a Stacey fan but now kn ow I knew so little about her.

MizFits last blog post..Monday Facetime: The Other Side of the PINK Couch.


Stacey / Create a Balance October 13, 2008 at 5:26 pm

Hmmmm….I think I like being the center of attention. I can get used to this! Thank you all for your kind words and supportive comments. You have impacted my life more than you will ever know.

Stacey / Create a Balances last blog post..My First Blogosphere Interview


Cath Lawson October 13, 2008 at 5:40 pm

Hi Lance – what a brilliant interview. I love Stacey’s blog and it’s great to learn more about her. Now – that is really weird. Mare also mentioned Sark a few days ago and now Stacey is also saying how great she is. I take that as a sign that I should be learning more about her.

Cath Lawsons last blog post..Be A Business Success Story, No Matter What Your Age


RooBabs October 13, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Thanks for sharing that interview Lance. I will definitely head over and check out Stacey’s blog. If it’s even half as inspiring and thought-provoking as yours, I need it in my life (plus I’m drawn to this idea of balance of which she seems to be an expert).

RooBabss last blog post..Does This Picture Make Me Look Cold? Random Photo of the Week


Laurie October 13, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Great interview. Life Balance? I think more of the rhythems of life. There are times in life where things get pushed to the back because of the season that you are in. So it doesn’t look too balanced but the overall rhythem is there. For example, if you had a sick child, your life will focus on the child. Other things that you do fall to the back burner. This is the season to care for your child. If you are newly married, this is the season to develop strong bonds and intimacy to build a life long marriage on. So I prefer to look at the rhythems of life. I think some people can think they are out of balance when a season changes in their life.


Laurie October 13, 2008 at 6:20 pm

OK I can’t spell rhythms. But I got balance correct so give me some credit there!!


Kelly@SHE-POWER October 13, 2008 at 7:54 pm

Great interview Lance, and Stacey it’s exciting to get to know more about you. I love how you use the metaphor of the airplane/oxygen mask to describe the value of us being ‘selfish’ when we are also mothers, wives, workers etc.

You say, one of your greatest achievements is “keeping hold of my authentic sense of self while raising my children” and I agree this is a HUGE achievement and one I have recently identified as my most important area to work on in order for greater balance and contentment, so how do you do it? Tell me! Please write a post on this and I think you’ll be helping many many other women out there.

Kelly 🙂

Kelly@SHE-POWERs last blog post..SHE-POWER Fiction: A Taste of Eve


Lance October 13, 2008 at 9:01 pm

@Stacey/Create A Balance – This was so much fun Stacey, so thank you for playing along! Life balance is different for all of us, and yet – there is so much knowledge you share on how we can find that in our lives. I look forward to what new and exciting things you’ll be sharing in the future! Thanks for sharing your story with us all!

@Tammy – This Stacey is an amazing person! And yes, there is much creative energy in blogging, isn’t there! And that’s what makes it such a great release! Continue to see what Stacey has over at her site, it’s always great stuff!

@Mark – Glad you enjoyed it! It was much fun to do, and a great way to learn about another great blogger out there!

@Writer Dad – Those new-fangled words…

@Vered – It is really good, yes! Glad you enjoyed it…

@Annette – She’s onto something here, isn’t she!

@Dave – Thanks Dave, it was lots of fun and a great experience all around!

@Marelisa – Hi! Those “aha” moments – yes, finding them – a great thing. Stacey, she had a skill for this…SARK…hmmm…I’ve heard about her a couple of times now…maybe I should check her stuff out…

@MizFit – Your welcome. And…thank you…your “questioning” of me last month…was what led to this…you never know what impact you might have on others…

@Cath – Thank you! She DOES have a great blog!! SARK – you and me both!

@RooBabs – Yes, go check her out – you won’t be disappointed! And, thank you for your kind words…it means alot to me!

@Laurie – Yes, I think we do have rhythms (hey, you got it right the second time!) in our lives – and this leads to a change in what our priorities are (or should be). We have to listen for those rhythms, and be open to balancing them out with all the other “things” in life that pull at us. Thanks for sharing that thought Laurie…

@Kelly – Yes, please do tell Stacey (holding on to your authentic self) – and I think you’ll be helping not only women out there, but maybe even a few men also! What do you think Kelly, is it possible for men to learn anything here!?!?!?!? Or are we just too far gone (my wife thinks so sometimes!)???


chris October 13, 2008 at 9:02 pm

I’m already a Stacey fan… 🙂

chriss last blog post..My Back


Jamie Simmerman October 13, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Nurturing self is something I recently began doing. It still feels a little self indulgent and unnecessary, but it definitely has benefits. waking before the urchins is also a necessity in my house. Most work gets done before 7 AM around here, and finished up around noon when the baby goes down for the count for an hour. 🙂

Thanks for sharing. I’m off to check out your blog!

Jamie Simmermans last blog post..For Sale: Ran Great Yesterday


Evelyn Lim October 13, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Thank you for doing this interview. It is nice getting to know Stacey better through the interview answers. I particularly share the same thoughts about finding our authentic voice through art. I would like to think that we (including yourself, Lance) are very much on the same journey, to living a life of passion, commitment and inspiration!

Evelyn Lims last blog post..Can The Artist See The Big Picture?


meleah rebeccah October 13, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Thank Lance! That was a TERRIFIC interview.

I am totally interested in reading her blog …I struggle a lot with finding any balance in my life with all of the responsibilites and medical issues…any USEFUL advice is well received by me!

meleah rebeccahs last blog post..I Be Sick Again


Davina October 13, 2008 at 11:54 pm

Hi Lance… and Stacy. Thanks for sharing this interview. I have been enjoying Stacey’s blog for a few weeks now. And, great artwork; Stacey, you have a real talent!

Davinas last blog post..Thanks, It Means The World To Me


Maya October 14, 2008 at 1:47 am

Thank you for doing this!
And the painting ….makes the post so much more special!!

Mayas last blog post..The key to happiness and balance is right with you, just learn to use it – Part 2 of the thinkmaya framework


Lance October 14, 2008 at 6:54 am

@Chris – Me too!!!!!!

@Jamie – I think you’ll enjoy Stacey’s writing very much! Self-nurturing can seem like we’re spending too much time on ourselves sometimes – and Stacey’s oxygen mask is a great example – we have to take care of ourselves first if we’re going to be able to take care of the other important people/things in our lives…

@Evelyn – Your welcome! Stacey is a breath of fresh air! I hope I’m living a life of passion and inspiration – it’s a journey… You embody this these principles, Evelyn.

@Meleah – You’ll find much inspiration from reading about Stacey’s journey to discovering what life balance means! She speaks with a voice of comfort in a world filled with unbalance…

@Davina – Continue to enjoy the great writing style Stacey has to offer Davina! And I agree, Stacey’s artwork is awesome!!

@Maya – Your welcome! The painting – it was the icing on the cake!!


Liara Covert October 14, 2008 at 7:25 am

It is a beautiful thing to interact, encourage and exchange meaningful lessons. Thank you for offering insight into the life of this fun-loving person. We can each choose to learn from each other.

Liara Coverts last blog post..You are never upset for reasons you assume


Hip Mom's Guide October 14, 2008 at 8:18 am

I’ve been reading Stacey’s blog for awhile now, and I’m always amazed by how centered she seems. Her ability to keep “balance” at the forefront inspires me to pull it out of the background… Thanks for sharing the interview.

Hip Mom’s Guides last blog post..It Wouldn’t Be Fall Without…


Pink Ink October 14, 2008 at 9:16 am

Great interview, Lance. I love learning how other people balance their lives, and find their real passions. Stacey is remarkable.

Pink Inks last blog post..Good China


Suzie October 14, 2008 at 10:02 am

Great interview. Balance is so important.

Suzies last blog post..My Drug Store My Friend


Tom Volkar / Delightful Work October 14, 2008 at 11:32 am

” I spend a lot of time discovering my authentic needs and passions.”

I love to read self-affirming declarations like this. If we could all simply follow your example on this one path, the world would indeed be brighter and better for all.

Nice work Lance, it’s obvious that you enjoyed the interview as much as Stacey did.


Stacey Shipman October 14, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Nice to get to know Stacey more. I keep finding things in common! I’ve been reading her blog for a little while and it’s always nice getting to know people online! Like you, I believe it would be nice to talk face to face and perhaps one day we will. Great interview!

Stacey Shipmans last blog post..Success Comes from The Heart


workout mommy October 14, 2008 at 2:56 pm

what a great interview and perfect timing for my life right now!

workout mommys last blog post..What’s in your fridge?


Jenny October 14, 2008 at 3:28 pm

Thank you Lance for interviewing Stacey! I immediately jumped over and subscribed to her blog because I am in the most dire need of balance! I am eagerly awaiting cruising through her site soon!!

Jennys last blog post..Moments


Rachel October 14, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Great interview. I can’t wait to check out more of Stacey’s blog! 🙂


Grounded Fitness October 14, 2008 at 5:04 pm

great interview! ive been a fan blog for a while and its nice to see the girl behind the scenes!

Kelly Turner

Grounded Fitnesss last blog post..What Yoga Teaches You: Harvest Peace for Yourself and the Planet


Oktober Five October 14, 2008 at 5:40 pm

I like how you talk about being aware of your passions. That, for me, is critical in maintaining balance. If I’m not aware, I pass them up for lesser things, thus throwing off my balance.

Oktober Fives last blog post..When I Forget, You Lose


Mike Foster October 14, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Great job, Lance. Very interesting stuff, I liked Stacey’s comment about her creative energy increasing since she started blogging. I feel this is true with me as well; something about putting yourself out there several times a week, while knowing that your have an appreciative audience, brings out the best in me.


Mike Fosters last blog post..How To Survive an Election Year Financial Meltdown


Lance October 14, 2008 at 7:31 pm

@Liara – We can learn much from each other, yes! And, it is really great to connect with other great people out there – and Stacey really is one of them!

@Hip Mom’s Guide – I couldn’t agree more – she is very well centered. And hearing her talk about balance really does help others (me included) to be more focused on this.

@Pink Ink – Right on, Stacey is remarkable! And shares a great message…

@Suzie – Thanks!

@Tom – I did enjoy this interview very much! Stacey has a great message she shared with all of us…

@Stacey Shipman – It is great to get to know this “Stacey” more, isn’t it!

@Workout Mommy – Glad you enjoyed it, and that the timing was right – sometimes things just fall into place at the right time!

@Jenny – You will find much inspiration from the words that Stacey shares with us. I’m glad you enjoyed this!

@Rachel – Check it out, Stacey has some great stuff!

@Grounded Fitness – Thanks, and yes – I agree – getting to know the real Stacey behind was great!

@Oktober Five – Stacey’s right on when she talks about being aware of our passions. That’s where it’s at – finding what brings us passion, and letting that come alive in our lives.

@Mike – Thanks! Yes, there is something out putting yourself out “there” – that can really bring out the best in us. Whereever “there” is. Blogging is a great example of putting ourselves out “there” – and Stacey does this in a very real and authentic way – and that’s what makes her writing so powerful!


FitMom October 14, 2008 at 10:35 pm

Wow. That was really interesting and I learned a lot. Could use all the life balance I can get. As a mother of two under five as well, I find it hard to declare “my time” without feeling guilty about it.

FitMoms last blog post..In Honor of Breat Cancer Awareness Month


Diane October 14, 2008 at 11:05 pm

Great Interview! Quite inspiring and Upbeat! I’ll check out her website soon!
I prefer the term self-love! Selfish (only thinking of oneself) always brings up disregard for others. And that’s not what it seems to be… It is more like caring for oneself and others as well. A symbiosis!
Thanks, Dave


Avani-Mehta October 14, 2008 at 11:17 pm

Great interview. It’s always feels nice to know more about blogging friends.

Avani-Mehtas last blog post..How To Balance Life Effortlessly


Lance October 15, 2008 at 3:56 am

@FitMom – Stacey is full of great life balance information – check out what she has to say on her site – you won’t be disappointed!

@Diane – Yes, go see what Stacey writes! It’s probably worth checking out her article on being selfish, and the follow up article talking about self-nurturing — I think this explains her thinking quite well (and in agreement with what you think).

@Avani – Thanks, it is nice to get to know our friends in the blogging world a bit better!


Robin October 16, 2008 at 8:46 am

Great interview Lance – I already read Stacey’s blog, but now I feel I know her better!

Robins last blog post..Galaxy For Blog Action


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