We talk about our professional lives and our personal lives as if they can be separated. The truth is you have one life to live. The balance between work and life is a reflection of the balance within you. Work/life balance is a barometer for well-being: personal, professional, family, and community well-being. B Is for Balance is about you—the professional, the multitasker, the “be all things to all people” leader. The first edition of B Is for Balance was well-received; it has been a great resource to so many professionals, including many of my nurse colleagues.

The second edition has been updated to focus on 12 steps to balance, including engagement, sleep deficits, and the need for each of us to live longer and to live well. A “Reflections” section has been added to each of the 12 chapters. Dr. Marla Vannucci, an accomplished psychologist, ad- dresses engagement and its role in lifestyle balance. We stress the relation- ship between mind, body, and spirit and how the 12 steps lead to the B in Balance.

T. S. Eliot said, “Finding a way to live the simple life is one of life’s supreme complications.” This book explores the simple life and how it can translate into balance for you using 12 essential elements. There are 12 chapters for a reason: the 1 is considered a yang number, while 2 is considered a yin number. Combining the two can offer balance. Thus, the number 12 invites us to move forward in balance…let’s begin!

I’ve been blessed with a wonderful career. I was at the peak of my career, leading delegations of experts throughout the People’s Republic of China, Eastern and Western Europe, Egypt, and other countries. My career took me from the Great Wall of China to Chechnya; from Sydney to the Berlin Wall; from Moscow to Chernobyl; from Vanadzor, Armenia (site of the 1988 earthquake) to Volynia in western Ukraine (the region from which my husband’s family immigrated to the Eastern Townships
of Canada in 1909). I was intrigued by the cultural nuances everywhere I visited and the ability to meet my foreign nurse colleagues on a personal level, learning about their families, their education, and their vision for the future. My international work allowed me to appreciate human potential like never before. While I continually developed my own potential, I also continually thought, “What if?”

That “what if ” involved the simple word balance; mine was nonexistent. As a person who has reinvented herself professionally throughout my career, I am aware of the challenges of work/life balance. Regardless of the association, clinical, or academic situation in which I found myself,

I knew that something was missing…and that something was often at
the expense of family relationships. Balancing a career or business with your personal life can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. B Is for Bal- ance sets the theme for a course of actions to build the life and career you want, need, and deserve. What better time to start that journey than now?

This book is about the countless number of professionals who walk the walk and talk the talk toward a balanced life. I transitioned toward a balanced life with support from my colleagues, mentors, and friends. I transitioned toward a balanced life through the love of my family. Like a house that cannot stand without a good foundation, my foundation is a balanced lifestyle.

Everything in life is a choice. You have to realize that you have chosen the life you are living right now. You pursue your dreams, and along that journey, you are forced to make many choices. This is perhaps life’s greatest truth and most difficult lesson. It is what gives you the power to be yourself and to live the life you imagined. Don’t allow self-doubt to interfere with your success or with the balanced life that you deserve. There is no such thing as an impossible dream; there are only dreams without action steps to make them a reality. Go ahead and dream those lofty dreams…and become them!