Our first meeting of the year kicked off in January at Clabber Girl. We’re excited for 2018 and all it will offer young leaders in Terre Haute. The first annual Leadership Conference was well attended and nearly every breakout session was filled with those willing and excited to learn.

One of the most popular topics was Work-Life Balance – trying to define it, find it and recognize it. For our first program, we welcomed Dana Simons, founder of local nonprofit The Next Step Foundation. Now, we’ll share a little bit of what she’s learned, but know that her advice has been formed over 40 years of striving for Work-Life balance. This isn’t something you’ll learn overnight. But she did provide a lot of tools to help you on a daily basis.

Dana compared her work life and dedication to it like an alcoholic needs vodka. It didn’t always start out that way. It never does, right? She loved her work and poured herself into it. She was on the West Coast, building and running an accounting software company, living in the Napa Valley in a multi-million-dollar home. What’s not to love?

Then she shared some of her wake-up calls.


After weeks of travel or 20-hour days that had her out of the house early in the morning and home late in the evening, there wasn’t much time for her family. In fact, she shared how her daughter didn’t recognize her at 2 years old and wouldn’t come to her. (Wake up call #1)

After that, she worked hard to establish her boundaries to make time for the family and husband that she adored. And when a recruiter called from another software company, she was thrilled to get back to it.  While at Platinum Software she worked hard to maintain her new-found boundaries, but they slowly gave way. In two short year, the company went public.  Dana shared a tip, “Don’t give an entrepreneur 60M to play with…”  The company grew from 80 to 850 employees in 10 months, it was off to the races again.

She went from working one weekend a month to working 100 hours a week, again. The sad part is she was loving every minute of it. While on a trip for the business, she decided she could take a short “5-hour drive” to go see Great Mountain Falls. Who needs sleep, right?

Well, when Dana was on her way back to the airport, in the freezing cold, along a curvy mountain road, she swerved to miss a deer. The car rolled multiple times. Dana said to herself, “I’m going to die! I have an 11, 6 and 4 y/o who don’t know me. What the hell am I doing?” (Wake up call #2)

On that September day, Dana learned to reestablish her boundaries and find out who she really was, why it matters, and how to live a life in balance. It was a long recovery and she shared more with us.  Today, Dana lives in Terre Haute and loves that people here take time to play Euchre. (Apparently, that does not happen in the Napa Valley, just so you know). She’s close with all of her children and her family and has started a nonprofit called The Next Step Foundation. The Next Step Community is a faith-based program in Terre Haute, Indiana for those who are serious about overcoming their addiction to drugs and alcohol. Next Step provides both residential programs and outpatient services such as substance abuse groups, AA meetings, peer coaching, case management, life skills training and mental health services. Their goal is to help those who are serious about managing their substance use disorder to regain an independent, substance-free lifestyle.

Work-Life Balance Questions and Considerations for Yourself

  • Who are you? If it what comes out of your mouth is your title, you may be out of balance. Is work your identity or addiction?
  • Ask yourself, what do I do and why do I do it? Why! What is in it for YOU.
  • Do you have a problem with saying or hearing the word no? Why is that?
  • What boundaries do you have in place for your life?
    • Boundaries are SO important because they protect us and define us, by keying the good in and the bad out.
  • Your feelings are yours, their feelings are theirs. You don’t make anyone happy, sad, angry or anything.
  • It’s all about ownership – you own it

Quadrants for Time Management

Dana shared a great handout during the presentation. She called it the “Best tool she’s ever seen for time management”.  And this chart can help you in all aspects in your life, work, finances, relationships, home, etc. too.


Manage #1 so it doesn’t consume you.

Avoid #3.  

These are not important but urgent based on other people’s agendas. The tasks are not going to help you grow, balance things, etc. Yes, things have to get done, but don’t spend all of your time here.

Avoid #4 are some real time wasters.

These are not urgent and not important. You’ll find that all the ways there are to live in this quadrant today to waste time – internet, FB, television, etc. Still, note that pleasant activities are listed in there, so define those and make those part of your focus recreation, relationship building time too.

Focus your time in #2.

As yourself how much time you’re spending there. This is where growth happens! A way to learn something important, but not urgent at all – this is the stuff that nearly always gets moved to last. It is VERY important, but not urgent, so we let it slide. We’re here to tell you don’t let it slide. Be intentional and make time here!

What’s Your 2018 Goal?

Dana suggested taking time to build and write a personal mission statement. This can be used as a tool to filter your decisions through. It’s not super easy and it is a bit of a process. Still, it should be something that helps take you where you want to go.

What is her mission statement? Model, promote, and influence the individual potential for all of those I can reach. So, when THYL asked her to present to our group, she ran that request through her mission statement “filter” and it fit, and we are very thankful for it!

Let us know your questions or if this gives you other speaker topics or programming ideas you’d like to see from us!