Leaning In, Without Fear
Inspired by the best selling book "Lean In," Rebecca Anderson, Queens vice president for marketing and community relations provides women with advice on how to balance professional and personal life. Rebecca was one of nine Charlotte-area business leaders to write an essay on the book written by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer. All of the essays were part of a Charlotte Observer article that ran in the Sunday, August 4 paper.
When it comes to balancing the personal and the professional, it's not the big dilemmas that give me trouble.
Far more vexing are the dozens of small choices I make each and every week ... the decisions I make without any due diligence. Can I shuffle my schedule at the last minute to make it to the school talent show? Should I call into a conference call while my family's on vacation? If I wake up early, will I exercise or take that time to prepare for a critical meeting? Will we have a healthy, homemade dinner tonight or will we be eating at Brixx (again)?
These types of dilemmas - and the trade-offs that go with them - seem trivial enough. It's just Brixx after all! But the mini-decisions become patterns, and it's the patterns that matter. Unless you pay attention it's easy to wake up one day and realize you're out of whack. Worse yet, you realize you got there by accident.
Here's my big aha: To everything there is a season. Sometimes I tilt toward career and sometimes toward home. Sometimes I tilt inward and that's OK, too. In May I finished my MBA at the McColl School of Business at Queens. For two years, class time, homework and study group added 25 hours to my weekly schedule. I had to ask for help from my colleagues. Our friends didn't get holiday cards. My house wasn't spotless. But where it really counted - the parenting of our son - my husband stepped in and cheerfully took the lead. Despite my having to let a few things go, the earth did not stop turning.
I came to realize giving 125 percent to everything all the time just isn't practical. So when it comes to work-life balance, I play the long game. I look for the patterns. I take some time each week to consider if and why I'm tilting. If I am, I make sure it's intentional. And then I ask myself when and how I'll tilt back toward the middle.
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