In recent days I had the good fortune to be invited to speak at the 2016 Michigan Young Professionals Network Statewide Conference at Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt Pleasant. The focus of my opening luncheon keynote speech: “Walking the High Wire: Achieving Work/Life Balance on the Road to Success.” It was at once the toughest presentation I have every prepared while, at the same time, the most enlightening – in particular for me.
As I write this blog, I am flying at approximately 35,000 feet on the way back from visiting friends in the Denver area. Work/life balance at its best? Maybe. More possibly it is a long overdue getaway that even now I am “working” during. As I suggested to the newer professionals in attendance during my speech, I really don’t have it all figured out yet and probably never will. Rather, it is a continual learning experience encompassing drive and ambition, albeit tempered with compromise, setting boundaries and, ultimately, self preservation.
As important as anything, I have found, is setting an appropriate foundation from which to operate – in business and in life. I was blessed with a supportive family that taught me the importance of the ‘golden rule’ along with honesty, integrity, humility and a superior work ethic- tenets that have guided me in good times and in bad. With this foundation, then, can come the ability to summon strength from within that propels you in times of self doubt and external adversity. Loving what you do and doing what you love is also key as is the ability to draw boundaries with others who threaten to compromise your enjoyment of work, family and life.
At the end of my presentation, during Q&A, I was asked an outstanding question by one of the attendees and really made me stop and think: “Looking back, what would you do differently,” the query went. “Stopping to smell the roses a bit more,” came my reply. In the end, we all do what we have to do – in our jobs, with our families and in our day-today. Moving forward, while continuing to love my career and the members of my family, I have come to the realization that I also need to enjoy life for me. Make sure you also do that for yourself, I would suggest, and understand that it is not about being selfish. It is about being true to one’s self. After all, you (and I) are important too.