Thursday, December 22, 2005

Chapter 5 - Reaching Equilibrium


Reaching Equilibrium
(Realigning, Prioritizing, Balancing)

“I have failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

Before making any enormous changes in your life or the way you go about meeting people, doing your job, or joining organizations, you also need to look at all of your other obligations.

Your family, spouse, ages of your children, classes that you are taking, and other responsibilities all need to be taken into account. It will do you no good at all to forfeit sleep for weeks on end in order to succeed in your business or job (trust me, I have tried). Ultimately, if you don’t take all factors into consideration, you will most likely sabotage your chances of success.

After the birth of my son, I found myself in a flustered and chaotic state. I figured a new mom was supposed to be flustered and chaotic, and so I embraced the mayhem, at least for the first few months. And then…well, the sleepless nights, the nursing the baby while doing business conference calls from my couch, and the pressure of being everything to everyone started to get to me.

And it was obvious.

My son’s pediatrician sensed the weight of the world was on me during a routine visit. She casually asked if I was working—to which I just smirked. The idea that a new mother was doing anything but working was ridiculous, but I let it go and said “yes…” I was working. Then quickly, as if rehearsed, I added that I was so lucky because I could work from home, I had a home office and a terrific boss and a super job. Life was perfect! She smiled the way a woman does when she knows, and then said rather coldly that sometimes “working from home was the worst thing to do” for the baby and me.

She then said something prophetic that I will never forget, and which I hope you will take with you as well. She said in a soft, motherly voice, as if talking to a 5-year-old, “You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at the same time.”

I left the office feeling as if I had been kicked in the gut. Why couldn’t I have it all? Wasn’t I the new generation of empowered, strong women that had the world wrapped around our little pinky fingers? Who was she to tell me what I could have and when I could have it?

And then it sunk in…sleep is nice. Time with the baby is better when not negotiating business deals, and work is best done when it can be the focus of the time spent doing it. Nursing and conference calls don’t mix (although technically possible). And, most of all, my husband deserves a wife who doesn’t stay up late working until 2 a.m. every night. In short, she was right. I couldn’t have it all, not at the same time.

It is with that cautionary tale that I tell you to remember that each aspect of your life affects every other thing. If it helps you, put together a simple list of your life priorities.

Keep your highest priorities in mind at all times and realign your priorities if necessary. It may become obvious, as it did for me, that for every thing there is a season, and, at that moment, it meant cutting my work hours back, getting more help with my son, and being strict about not working when the baby was awake and my husband was home.

Taking the business world by storm could wait, at least for a while.

List Your Priorities

What are your priorities? Work, home, accomplishments, charity work, family, nice house, car, loans paid off? Make your list of priorities and work towards the most important.


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