Success Podcast Post

Finding Balance with Laura Terrell

George Grombacher March 9, 2023

share close

Finding Balance with Laura Terrell

LifeBlood: We talked about finding balance in our busy lives, the right questions to ask yourself to figure out how you’d like your life to look, how to make small but meaningful changes, and how to avoid burning out, with Laura Terrell, executive coach, attorney, and former Presidential Advisor.   

Listen to learn how to know if you have what you need, or if you need additional resources to get what you want!

You can learn more about Laura at, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Thanks, as always for listening! If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review here:


You can learn more about us at LifeBlood.Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook or you’d like to be a guest on the show, contact us at contact@LifeBlood.Live. 

Stay up to date by getting our monthly updates.

Want to say “Thanks!” You can buy us a cup of coffee.

Invest in yourself. Bring it All Together.

Work with a coach to unlock personal and professional potential.

Our Guests

George Grombacher

Laura Terrell

Laura Terrell

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Well, I’m left with is George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong, powerful Lord Terrell. Laura, are you ready to do this?

Laura Terrell 0:08
I am. It’s good to be with you.

george grombacher 0:11
All right, it’s good to be with you as well. Let’s go. Laura is an executive coach. She is an attorney and a business advisor, working to help her clients improve and achieve success. With their work lives. She has been an equity partner with global law firms. She’s even served as a special assistant to the president, United States at the White House. Laura, tell us a little about your personal life and more about your work, why you do what you do?

Laura Terrell 0:37
Well, thanks so much, George, it’s it’s fun to be with you. I’m a big fan of the show. And I’m happy to share a little bit about who I am and what I do. I’m originally from the mid Atlantic area of the United States, Washington, DC metro area. I currently live in Atlanta, one of my passions is traveling all over the world. I’ve done that for both business and personal. And I’ve really gotten to know a lot of people in different walks of life, as both a lawyer as a business advisor as just a human being that’s really helped me shape. What I consider a very much a second career for me, after 25 plus years of practicing law and working with large corporations. One of the things that really led me to that was my interest in just spending time with people that are highly ambitious professionals, often very successful people that feel alone, sometimes in their work gets stuck or think, I don’t really know where to turn, I don’t know who to talk to, I have seen that a lot in my career with people that were struggling to maybe make a professional pivot to a promotion, maybe thinking about working in a different industry, maybe thinking about making a very significant shift in terms of the amount of time they spent working or the type of work that they did. And I just really enjoy talking with folks that otherwise I think sometimes feel I need somebody objective, or I need somebody outside my my pod outside my work bubble to be able to help me think differently and helped me see maybe some paths or some options that I haven’t considered before. And as a full time working lawyer, and in a very busy practice, I saw a lot of things that I felt were things that could also help me as a coach in terms of relating to how people work, how they manage their time, how they see themselves in a business, and sometimes how they don’t see themselves as a business. It’s been a, it’s been a great journey. For me, I enjoy having the time to really connect with people that is often hard when is you know, you’re building businesses, and you’re really knee deep in the in the work of doing the work. So it’s a joy, I work with a lot of attorneys, professionals in all walks of life as well, real estate professionals, business owners, people who have built companies sold companies, people who are in the process of doing their next startup and are looking for a way to find a connection that was someone that has also been in that space and can help them think through those issues.

george grombacher 3:12
That makes a ton of sense. I think it’s 25 years of practicing law and doing it at a really high level, I’m sure was really rewarding. And also easy to just really focus on what you’re doing. Did you have times where you would pick your head up during and say, Why am I doing this? Or how is that?

Laura Terrell 3:40
You know, I don’t think there’s anybody that’s been in a really intense role that hasn’t asked himself that question. And there were certainly days I did. One of the things that I share with clients often who say, I just feel like I can’t get that work life balance straight or my work life balance feels out of whack or slightly off kilter is that’s a pretty normal feeling. And most people that have that feeling are in pretty intense roles. And they may be also balancing that with small kids trying to balance a personal life, maybe been part of their church or their community as well. And really figuring out how that all fits together. I share with them there is no real secret to work life balance other than in my view, it changes daily, it changes on an hourly basis. There are times when you can give 90% to work and 10% to your personal. There are times when you need to give 90% to your personal and 10% to your work, but that calculus, that percentage is going to change every day. And I think for some people, that’s a hard concept. It’s It’s thinking that every day you’re giving 100% to everything and every day if you keep trying to do that that’s a recipe for burnout for a lot of people. I think you have to show yourself some kindness and show yourself some compassion in recognize Seeing that every day is different, sometimes different hours, different portions of your day are different. And you, you want to be able to learn to shift, and to recognize that and tell yourself, that’s okay, when you need to make those shifts.

george grombacher 5:13
That makes a lot of sense. And I think it’s very wise, we are seeing a lot of really prominent people citing burnout, and then stepping away from the responsibilities. And I think that that’s a really, really challenging thing. What are your thoughts on that?

Laura Terrell 5:31
I think that a lot of people during the pandemic started to see what burnout felt like or what having a calmer life looked like as well, maybe you weren’t commuting as much to the office, maybe you were finding that with an extra hour back in the day, from having to get up, put a suit on, go to the office, commute in traffic, have evening events after work for networking, that you enjoyed some time that you got back in a way. But I think for a lot of people that also said, Hey, what was what was not work when I was doing this, and now that people are going back to the office now that people are out, meeting with people and don’t get me wrong, I think networking is great. I think it’s important. It’s vital. Connecting with people is really important. Regardless of the job you do, I think you want to have those personal connections. But I think people are starting to say, How can I? How can I alter my life a little bit so that I can get back some of that feeling of not feeling rushed, not feeling overwhelmed. I have a client, for example, that has said I go to the office. But it has to be purposeful for me now. Because so many people are not in the office, I tried to find a day where my team could all be in every other week. There’s no point in people coming in just to look at an empty wall or not to see their colleagues. But I want us to be purposeful. And then I get a lot of energy out of that we get a lot done in that time. But people also don’t feel that they’ve been taken away from more productive paths that they have maybe working on their own maybe working at home, maybe out meeting with a client.

george grombacher 7:15
I bet a lot of the people you talk to the people you work with, they would never dreamed of working from home, and therefore thrust into it like, oh, wow, this is this really isn’t so bad. And I could probably maybe incorporate a little bit this, versus they maybe would have thought of it as indulgent before.

Laura Terrell 7:36
I think that’s true. I know a number of people, my husband is one of them. I think you would not mind me saying this who said I don’t like to work at home prior to COVID. It was I like to have a lot of separation between my work and my my personal life, my personal home environment, I’m more productive at work with COVID, that had to change because there wasn’t an option for him to be in the office, at least initially. And I think he would say he’s somebody who’s learned how to carve out that space. Look, we’re all trying to find a corner of our spare bedroom or a place that’s quiet to work during the day, or maybe we find somewhere else or dedicate a room now even at home to work in there. And I think for a lot of people, it was a big shift. And he would tell you that it’s been a big shift for him. But he also feels that he’s been able to concentrate and focus on some long term priorities and things that otherwise with people coming in and out of your office can be distracting in the day. So I think people see benefits. But again, I also talk with clients about the importance of not sheltering yourself and hunkering down so much at home, that you lose the ability to connect in a meaningful way with your team, with your clients, with the people in your industry, with your peers, that that human connection is so critical. And it can be easy to say, hey, this zoom call is great. And we talk to each other. There’s just a different dynamic. And I think people are now hungry for that personal person to person interface. And so there is a balance.

george grombacher 9:17
Yeah, it is. I’m curious about exploring that exploring that balance. Because if you have some people that are working 60 hours a week, and that’s what they’ve always done, then the concept of balance is probably fairly ridiculous and very foreign to them. But they start questioning time spent type of work that they’re doing. And they have a conversation with you because you’re outside of their sphere. You’re you’re you’re an objective voice who’s explored this yourself. So how do you start that process?

Laura Terrell 9:45
One of the first things I asked them is what’s important to you. You’re outside of your work, you’re we’re talking about an issue that you’ve brought up because you’d like your job. Maybe you enjoy the 60 hours you put in but I also hear I feel like something needs to change. And so my first question is, what’s important to you outside of work. I have one client, for example, that said, you know, I really, really love to go to sporting events. And this, for me is my passion, I want to go to the tennis tournament, I want to go to the football championship, I want to be able to go to a golfing tournament. And I don’t feel like I have the time for that. And one of the things that, as we talked was clear was that that was getting pushed out by other things, this client made a decision to carve out one day a month, where they would take the time out to do that. And that grew out of their identification of what was a priority for them. They didn’t decide to you know, quit their job and go on the golfing circuit as a, as a fan or to be a roadie following their favorite teams. But they made a small shift that really was powerful for them and checking in with them. Over the course of the next few months. They said, I just felt like I was able to put something in my calendar, that if I didn’t put it there, it was never going to show up. And I think that’s something that you have to be intentional about. And we talk a lot about me and me and my clients being intentional, and how you put things down that are priorities for you. And I think many of us do that in other contexts in our life, whether it’s personal or friendship or family relationship, and professional life is no different. Making something carve out in your calendar is an intentional way of ensuring you will you will meet that need.

george grombacher 11:45
Have you found that when you do make that carve out, if it’s one day a month, or if it’s 30 minutes a day, it’s gonna be different for everybody, I imagine that that people are still able to get their work done.

Laura Terrell 12:01
Yes. And, again, it’s different for everyone. I have clients that say, Look, my my carve out is 15 minutes in the morning, I take the dog out for a walk, I don’t look at my phone, I don’t look at my email. And that’s my 15 minutes. I do that every day. That’s my, my form of meditation, my form of grounding. And that’s how I center myself before I start work. I also have clients that carbon workout time, very early in the morning, people that are busy executives, busy senior partners and law firms, real estate professionals that are in extremely demanding roles. And they carve out that workout time that becomes important, I think what becomes unrealistic is to say I’m going to have every day working less hours, carving out two, three hours a day doing more for people that are struggling already to find that time, it’s making that small change, that can be very powerful. And it needs to be unique to what works for you.

george grombacher 13:06
Right, just because other people like to do a certain thing doesn’t mean that it’s going to be good for you. And it fundamentally just has to fit. Because you can’t take three hours to go, you know, go watch baseball every day, because that’s going to impact everything else.

Laura Terrell 13:21
You might be able to depends on your job. And you might say, you know, I can take a client to this game. And this can be an important meeting. But it might not be that you can do that every day. That might be you know, one Friday a month when spring training opens. That might be when your favorite team is in town and you can get tickets and you can do that. But I think the the uniqueness of it is important. People that are runners are passionate about making sure they carve out that runtime every day clues their head, it gives them focus. There are people that want to be able to cook and do a meal for their family two nights a week. And that becomes a commitment for them because they feel like that is one way that they can connect and use a creative side maybe that doesn’t come through in their day job, or that they feel like it’s something that gets them in a totally different mode. The other thing I think that carving out those moments does and finding balance is it can give you moments of clarity also about what’s happening in the other sphere of your life. Taking a few minutes to go out and garden or taking time to play a game of racquetball going out and just going for a walk around the block for 30 minutes and students sitting at a conference room and thinking about the issue that you’ve got on your plate can give you a different perspective about something it can just help you to breathe differently to think differently and to see a different perspective by taking yourself away from the formal office environment.

george grombacher 14:55
Yeah, I certainly embrace change your perspective. I think that it’s such an impact. One thing. So on one end of our spectrum, you are able to help people to introduce these small changes that can make huge impacts than I imagined. You have other people who are going through more existential crisis, but oh my god, I’m in the wrong career, I’ve wasted my life. I’m, what am I doing? How to unwind this thing? Maybe that’s,

Laura Terrell 15:22
yeah, there’s definitely, as you say, there’s a spectrum. And there are people that also sometimes that I work with that say, I’m trying to figure out where I go next professional, and I’m not sure what that looks like. And they ended up making a fairly significant change, but part of it is identifying for them what that change is. Sometimes people are very certain, for example, also about what they think the change is, I want to be promoted to vice president in my company. And I need to figure out a strategy for how to do that we work through that we build that sometimes, as we’re building that know somebody’s pursuing that I hear the, the voice that that they’re hearing. And I hear what they say to me, which is, I’m not sure this is what I want. Or I think I found out some things about this path that don’t work for me. So what does that mean? Do I just stop working towards this promotion? Do I go look for another job? And I think one of the things I really enjoy doing is talking through with clients. Okay, what’s bringing that up? What’s What’s making you think you don’t want to do this? Are you afraid that you might not get the promotion? Sometimes clients are afraid if it doesn’t happen, they’ll feel defeated. So it’s better just not to try? Sometimes clients realize, you know, I’m not sure I want to be the person that’s working 85 hour work weeks, after all, I’ve seen how this person does this job right now. And I think I could do it differently at another company, or I think I could do it in a different way. And that’s when we really get into what I call the resource explorer, what do you know? What are you assuming about the path he wants to know? What do you really know for certain? What are your assumptions? And where can you get more information that would help you think about how to make this this move. A lot of times, I work with lawyers that are trying to think about how to make partner and their firms, but they don’t really have the information, for example, that’s a big move, and getting them to think about who can I ask, How can I gain information, it’s sort of like doing research for a paper in college or doing your homework on a topic that you don’t know a lot about, you’re gonna have to do some research, you’re gonna have to ask some people. And sometimes some of the answers may be complicated. Clients sometimes say to me, but I get told different things by different people. Okay. So let’s figure out how we synthesize is getting different information or conflicting information is something that you deal with a lot in your professional life? How do you synthesize that now, to make that more meaningful for you and and help to understand how likely is this option? How likely is this choice? Is this the best path? Where do I go in this direction? So I really think that resource gathering is important when people are about to make a big change.

george grombacher 18:16
Yeah. And oftentimes, the answer is probably right in front of us. But it’s hard for us to see when we’re, you know, in the midst of all of it. I think

Laura Terrell 18:25
it’s also hard for people to ask, sometimes I find that many people say, I’m just not sure. How do I ask that question? Or what if somebody doesn’t want to talk to me, but the risk of not asking questions and not exploring things that you think may be a meaningful path for you. makes it harder for you to follow through if you want that path and that goal to be the one that you’re aiming for. And if you decide that you find information that suggests that that’s really not where I want to be headed, it’s better to know that it’s better to have the information earlier, it’s better to understand, hey, maybe this isn’t the law firm that really provides the right path for me to be a partner. Maybe I need to look at this firm or a different place. And I think that can apply across industries and across companies. But people can be very hesitant to ask and raise questions. Some of the things I hear what if I hear something I don’t like? Okay, well, what’s the downside of that? Well, I’m going to feel bad. If you hear something you don’t like, but it helps you make your decision. Is that ultimately better? I think it is. And I think for most of my clients, the reactions I get are, I’m really glad I had that conversation or you wouldn’t believe the amount of information I got about this and connecting with people rather than just assuming that things are going to work a certain way or that you know how something is going to turn out is really critical.

george grombacher 19:59
Like that. That’s all Saab. Well, Laura, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you and how can they engage with you?

Laura Terrell 20:07
You can go to my website, Laura, la ura te R R E ll lots of information there and be delighted to connect with anyone. There’s a way to reach out and have a quick consultation with me and I’m happy to do that.

george grombacher 20:27
If you enjoyed as much as I did show, lower your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to Laura Liu, r a t e r r e. l Check out the great resources and get in touch for that for that quick conversation that consultation. Thanks Good luck.

Laura Terrell 20:46
Thank you so much. George has done great,

george grombacher 20:47
and until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

Transcribed by

Thanks, as always for listening! If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review wherever you listen and we’d be grateful if you’d subscribe as well.

You can learn more about us at LifeBlood.Live, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook.

Our Manifesto

We’re here to help others get better so they can live freely without regret
Believing we’ve each got one life, it’s better to live it well and the time to start is now If you’re someone who believes change begins with you, you’re one of us We’re working to inspire action, enable completion, knowing that, as Thoreau so perfectly put it “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” Let us help you invest in yourself and bring it all together.

Feed your life-long learner by enrolling in one of our courses.

Invest in yourself and bring it all together by working with one of our coaches.

If you’d like to be a guest on the show, or you’d like to become a Certified LifeBlood Coach or Course provider, contact us at Contact@LifeBlood.Live.

Please note- The Money Savage podcast is now the LifeBlood Podcast. Curious why? Check out this episode and read this blog post!

We have numerous formats to welcome a diverse range of potential guests!

  • Be Well- for guests focused on overall wellness
  • Book Club-for authors
  • Brand-for guests focused on marketing
  • Complete-for guests focused on spirituality
  • Compete-for competitors, sports, gaming, betting, fantasy football
  • Create-for entrepreneurs
  • DeFi-for guests focused on crypto, blockchain and other emerging technologies
  • Engage-for guests focused on personal development/success and leadership
  • Express-for journalists/writers/bloggers
  • General-for guests focused on finance/money topics
  • Lifestyle-for guests focused on improving lifestyle
  • Maximize-for guests focused on the workplace
  • Numbers-for accounting and tax professionals
  • Nurture-for guests focused on parenting
  • REI-for guests focused on real estate

Feed your Life-Long Learner

Get what you need to get where you want to go

Rate it
Previous post