image-Dana Look-Arimoto
Coastside author Dana Look-Arimoto attempts to demystify the concept of "work-life balance" in her new book. Photo courtesy Dana Look-Arimoto

With work-life balance, you can have it all, right?

Wrong, says Dana Look-Arimoto.

“You absolutely do not want to do it all,” said the local leadership and executive coach. “If all things are equal, it becomes this endless sprint inside a marathon. It’s unsustainable.”

Look-Arimoto will be sharing the ideas from her newly released book, “Stop Settling, Settle Smart,” from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday at the Half Moon Bay Library. 

With more than two decades in corporate Silicon Valley as a working single parent, Look-Arimoto is very familiar with the difficulties of juggling priorities. Her own aha moment came in 2016, when she was moderating a panel on women in technology. She said that one of the panelists was challenging the audience to put more “white space” in their lives.

“In that moment, it actually hit me that I did not have enough white space,” she said. “I was really out of balance, and in fact there was no balance.”

Look-Arimoto resigned from her corporate role as company president in June 2016 and started her own executive and leadership team coaching practice a month later.

“What I realized was that my 23 years of running companies and four years in nonprofit was sort of a dress rehearsal for what I really wanted to do, which was to accelerate transformations for leaders and companies by coaching their whole authentic selves,” she said.

Instead of trying to balance everything equally, she says, people should strive for harmonious integration powered by conscious choices about their values and what they really want in life. These values run across the five facets of life: work, family, friends, community and wellness.

Look-Arimoto says that often a major life change or crisis will force someone to re-evaluate and make a change. She cites Arianna Huffington as an example. The co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post recently made the decision to reprioritize sleep after collapsing of exhaustion. 

In her book, Look-Arimoto shares real-world examples, tips and tools to help people realign their life now to become leaders both in and out of their careers. 

Look-Arimoto has taken her own advice. Now she lives in Miramar, a block from the beach, running her own company. She is doing the work she loves and helping people every day.

“I’m living the dream,” she said. “I’ve earned it.”

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