At each of life’s stages, we are given choices – deciding how we spend our time, when and where we choose to invest in ourselves, how we build and rely upon our network of family and friends. Although these choices are never easy, they often come up quickly and force you into a decision that will pivot the trajectory of your life, and yes, lead to more choices!
In my life, I try to act swiftly and live with no regrets, which means quickly assessing situations, understanding my options (which may not always be great) and picking my path forward. Not everyone will agree with your choices, in fact many won’t (and don’t worry, they will tell you when they don’t), but as long as you remain confident and steadfast, these choices will begin to define you.
It is my choices that have led me to the person that I am: a mom of two smart, funny, and loving children, a wife to my best friend, a gluten-free Celiac, a fitness fanatic, and a passionate, opinionated marketing professional.
This is not meant to be a “women can have it all piece”; however, I do not believe that every choice comes with a sacrifice in another area. And, I believe you can successfully do both – be devoted and dedicated to your family and contribute to the workplace in impactful and meaningful ways. There is a ton of commentary about “work life balance” or efforts to answer the question “can women have both a career and a family without sacrificing on either end” or defining “how women can make an impact in male dominated industries”. While I have figured out what works for me, the solution may be different for you. But as the Chief Marketing Officer for a business and technology consulting firm, I felt compelled to join the conversation.
It is with my whole heart that I pursue each of my passions, which is why the idea of balance always seemed so ironic to me. My life has never been in balance, and it is not always pretty… whether I am rolling out of bed at 4:30 AM to squeeze in a workout, negotiating hairstyles with my 3-year old before school, or running (yes, literally running) to catch the train so I can pick up my kids before daycare closes. My normal, is balanced chaos. This “balance” being more like a teeter-totter that is in motion from choices I have made to try and be the best version of myself, best mom to my kids, and best employee to West Monroe.
As a woman dedicated to my career, my family and myself – I live by three simple guiding principles. And, it took me a while to not only get comfortable with these principles, but also to stop worrying about what others thought about my choices:
I have to ask others around me for help consistently, whether it’s a friend, my husband or the marketing team at West Monroe. What I have learned is that everyone has their own priorities, stresses and needs, and just because I have kids does not make me unique - everyone needs help! I consistently step up to provide support, advice and help to those around me, and it is ok for me to ask for the same. I could not do what I do today, at home or at work, without the support of those around me. Try to think about life as a two-way street - as you provide support to others, they will feel compelled do the same for you!
I could not be more grateful that I am a part of a company like West Monroe, where it is encouraged to “start the conversation” about what I need at any given point in my career. The first time I began this conversation was seven years ago when my mom was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. I approached my relatively new employer with a fairly demanding ask: to support me through my mom’s illness, so I could live my life with no regrets and be available to support my parents while at the same time not sacrificing my own career aspirations. Little did I know that this conversation would be the first of many as I continued to shift priorities throughout my career, bouncing from full-time, to part-time, to full-time again! Everyone should ask themselves what will make their life meaningful at any given time and have the comfort to know that it can and will change.
Personally and professionally, most of us run hard and fast, leaving little time to celebrate our successes. It is important to remember to step back, evaluate what you have accomplished and take pride in your achievements. Without moments of celebration, life becomes monotonous and unfulfilling.
What I have learned is that these choices, my support system at work and at home, and my confidence in my abilities as a marketer, friend, wife, and mother have allowed me to achieve success as I have defined it!
All life-decisions, transitions, and desires for change, come fast and while your choices may be overwhelming, it is important to make the best decision you can today and give yourself the flexibility to change your mind tomorrow. While those are my three guiding principles – everyone needs to choose their own. What are the guiding principles that you live by?