(A French) Balancing Act

Balancing Act

After a particularly harried week, I just stumbled across a blog post by SmartBrief's Liz Perman, reporting from INSEAD Women's Leadership Conference in Fontainbleau, France.

Here are the top three reasons I'm sharing it with you:

  • It provides seven great tips on work-life balance.
  • It's a pure pleasure to lend someone else's thoughts to Life Notes this week given my own challenge of creating a successful balancing act over the past several days.
  • It seemed pretty cool to share content reported directly from France!

And so, without further adieu (er, ado), here are Liz's seven key takeaways from the panel discussion* she attended on balancing a demanding career with raising a family:

  1. First and foremost, love what you do. Make sure you’re passionate about your job; otherwise, it’s impossible to do your best work, let alone balance it with family obligations, social engagements and hobbies.
  2. Don’t let life happen to you — make choices. Some people have more energy than others. Know your limits and schedule your time accordingly. Learn to outsource whatever you don’t like to do. Don’t enjoy cleaning the house? Then pay someone to do it for you. If you don’t have time to bake a homemade cake for your child’s bake sale, bring in a store-bought one.
  3. Don’t feel guilty about making time for your family. Both work and family are important, and there will be times when you need to prioritize one over the other. This is normal over the course of a career and if you choose your workplace with care, your employer will respect your choices.
  4. Don’t neglect yourself. The soft issues such as workplace culture really do matter. You won’t be able to do your best work if your values don’t align with those of your work environment. If you’re passed over for a promotion because you’re pregnant, it’s probably time to consider a change in company, or forge out on your own. If you need to fit in a daily jog to maintain equilibrium, set aside the time and don’t apologize for it.
  5. Choose your husband, wife or partner carefully. Once you’re married, you’re an ecosystem doing the work-life dance together.
  6. Recalibrate daily. You might not feel like you’re maintaining a work-life balance every single day. Take time to reflect and change your plan for the following day accordingly.
  7. Finally, keep learning and have fun.

Some pretty good stuff here, huh?

As I look to restore a bit of balance in my own life these days, I think I'll head out for a walk in the cool night air, give thanks to God that I absolutely love what I do, and remind myself to recalibrate daily and take more time for reflection. (No reminder to have fun necessary!)

Au revoir.

(*Panel Members: Susan Rowe, principal coach & founder of Rowepryal; Evelyne Sevin, partner at Egon Zehnder International; Jane French, head of strategy and product development at Citi; Greg Ellison, managing director at Barclays Wealth; and Anat Bar-Gera, chairperson at 4G Africa.)