So what does it take to be successful, aside from hard work? Sacrifice, flexibility and planning, and lots of it. When you visualize a dream and set your goals to get you there, many people will only see what they will gain. This can be a recipe for failure. In visualizing the big picture, you also have to consider the sacrifices that need to be made in order for you to reach your destination. In your endeavors for personal or professional success, here are some tips to help keep you on track:
Be prepared to make sacrifices…
Through the years I spent building my company and raising my family, I have traversed many crossroads which required me to sacrifice something. There were times when it came easy and times when it was a struggle to stray from my routines in order to let things happen. I think that is when you truly learn the art of balancing. Sometimes, it means you are at work until 8:00p.m. and you miss a family dinner. Sometimes it means you reschedule a meeting so that you can be there for a child’s game or recital. It is what it is, it’s the sacrifice we make when decide to raise a family and build a career.
The same rule applies to business, learning what needs to be done when and knowing what you can be flexible with, really helps balance the scales. I serve on boards and committees; I run a business in which I am responsible for giving direction to many people. I have obligations to all of these people. You can only imagine what my daily planner looks like… It keeps me on my feet, but it also means I have to juggle just right in order to find time to put my feet up.
Draw yourself a roadmap and stay on course…
Every night before I leave work, I prepare a list of what has to get done the next day, the “A” priorities. In the morning, I will update that list, after checking phone messages and emails. I try to focus on priorities. Some people can remember details off the top of their head, sure I can do that – but laying out a plan that I can see helps steer me through each action item I need to attend to. And of course, every now and then one item trumps another and I must sacrifice one priority for another. It happens and it isn't necessarily a bad thing. You just need to flexibility to realign yourself.
On Sunday night, I spend time reviewing my schedule for the upcoming week. I look at what is on my calendar – business commitments, service commitments, friend and family commitments, etc. It always helps if I can find one night a week where something is not planned. It doesn't always work out that way, but I find that an evening once a week that is free from commitments and planned activities helps keep me energized.
One thing to keep in mind as a priority – add fun to your agenda. Perform customer service while taking a customer to a ball game, discuss strategy over a nice dinner at an exciting restaurant – business does not always take place in the boardroom. Also, keep in mind what you think is a priority isn't always a priority in others’ minds. Use good judgment and discernment in deciding where you will spend your time. Achieving balance is not only a skill, but a mind set.
“Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.”
And remember, sometimes you must make time for yourself a priority. These days, it’s really easy to become burned out when you have so many commitments. You need time to relax. Shut your phone off, turn of the computer and give yourself some “me” time. That time you take to self-reflect will impact your balance and will help energize you for whatever’s next…