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.

Community Service

Community Service

“Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It’s important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It’s the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.” – Dorothy Height

As an element of a successful life, community service is the recognition that we have a responsibility to the world in which we live.

There are ways for everyone to lend a hand and assist those in need. There are also plenty of opportunities for the introvert to be involved in a way that is comfortable for her. If committee work isn’t for you, perhaps sorting food at a food pantry or planting flowers with a few friends at a group home is more your pace. These activities need to be done, and you may be the perfect person make them happen. Remember, we are a community of people, each with something unique to bring, and each with the responsibility to the whole.

Look at your life, the things that drive you, touch you, motivate you, and find a way to give back. You can do anything from planting trees to supporting the environment to becoming a “Big” for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization.

Lend your gifts to the world, and you will already be a success.

(c) 2005 Meghan Wier
Confessions of an Introvert

Getting what you want out of life

Getting What You Want Out of Life

“You don’t have to find your purpose to feel more fulfilled. You just have to look for it.” – Ellen Michaud

The question “what do you want out of life?” is only slightly easier for most people to answer than “what is the meaning of life?” However, in order to get what you want, you have to know what it is that you want.

Below is a simple three-step process for getting the most out of life:

1) Develop your priorities. What are the things in your life that make you the happiest, feel the most fulfilled, and have the greatest impact? Are these the things that you are either doing or working towards? These should be your priorities.

2) Plan and execute changes. Once you have developed your priorities, begin to determine the best way to give those things the respect they deserve with your attention, dedication, and hard work. This may take time and need to be accomplished in steps.

3) Connect with others. Establish, develop, and cultivate relationships with people in your life with similar values, priorities, and work ethics. Work to make these relationships assist you in meeting your priorities.

Happiness, success, reaching your goals: these things must be identified and broken down to be accomplished. Think of it as a roadmap. As you begin to piece together and plan the details of your own roadmap to success, keep the things you want out of life in mind and understand that although what you want today may differ from what you want tomorrow, that is no reason not to start down the road today.

Treating Your Life Like a Business

“We almost always have choices, and the better the choice, the more we will be in control of our lives.” – William Glasser

I apply the same organization and discipline to my life and my job as I do as a business owner, because otherwise I cannot expect to have success in all areas of my life. As a business owner I work extra hard to stay organized, make and keep connections, and lead by example. I take special care with everything from the finances to the equipment in the office. I look for opportunities to teach, mentor and delegate as appropriate. I praise and reward for a job well done, and I even use a fresh eye to look at the way my office would appear to a visitor each morning as I walk through the door. As a business owner there is so much that I do extra well, because as a business owner I take ownership.

I believe that to be truly successful, all areas of your life need to be given the same attention and dedication that they would get if you were running them as a business owner. That includes your job, whether you are actually the business owner or not.

Take ownership and responsibility, and show yourself the same respect that you would if you were a successful business.

How Does a Good Business Run?

Think about the characteristics of a well-run business. Can you apply those to your job, and to the other aspects of your life? Scheduling, organization, planning, delegation, division of labor, mentorship, community focus, and financial responsibility all can be brought into the context of your job, home-life, and family. Can you reflect on these and other characteristics of a good business that are relevant to your life?
(c) 2005 Meghan Wier
Confessions of an Introvert

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Who Knew It Would Take So Long??

At the end of last week, iuniverse sent me the "book block" back - my very last chance to make changes to the book. I spent all week reading the book again, making some minor changes. Mostly they were not that dramatic, but there were a couple that I am so glad that I was able to catch and change. From here, it should only be a couple more weeks!! Meanwhile the website keeps changing, and updating. Lots of work ahead of me...