Monday, February 19, 2007

Work-Life Balance

I've recently been asked to speak at Ryerson's International Women's Day. Public speaking is probably one of my biggest fears and it was all too tempting to turn down this opportunity, but I decided to accept the invitation.

My daughter's first response on hearing about the request was to ask why would they want to hear from me? No chance of my getting an ego! Then later when I heard they wanted me to talk about work-life balance, my husband just laughed and observed that it wouldn't be a long presentation, as I'd never achieved it!!

Then when I chatted to a girlfriend about my dilemma, she suggested I read a few books on the topic. Bit like studying for an exam, I'd have to bone up on the subject. Somehow that didn't seem real.

So instead, I spent the weekend crafting what I wanted to say. What did I decide about work-life balance, apart from the fact that it has alluded me? Personally I think it is a bit of a myth. I'm from the first generation of women who worked outside the home, and we were promised it all. I have reached the conclusion that you can have it all - just not at the same time. We have cycles or seasons in our lives, and it's all about choices and priorities.

There are times, especially when your children are little (or teenagers), when they need you. But I don't think we should become martyrs to motherhood either. And yes, there have been times when my life has been totally off kilter, but I like to think that I recognized the problem early and wasn't afraid to move on and leave that position.

It is often time for ourselves that gets lost in the shuffle - and that is one area I have always protected and guarded - be it to volunteer, visit with girlfriends or get my hair done. I find grabbing those moments for myself are what keeps me balanced.

A few years ago I asked women entrepreneurs why they started their business, and the most popular response was to gain more control. And while that is true to a certain extent, when you are first starting out, it is definitely not 9-5, especially if you want to be a success and there are times when it seems your business controls you, not the other way around.

What's your thoughts on this topic? Have you found balance? What do you do? Let me know, and who knows, I may be able to weave it into my presentation!!

No comments: