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multi-womanI can’t leave the issue of transition without talking about women in the workplace and the huge changes they are experiencing with our information age of the internet, mobile phones and social media.  I’ve been rubbing shoulders with women in corporations and non-profits in this community for many years and listening to challenging stories. A good place to start the dialogue is Sheryl Sandberg’s  new book LEAN-IN.

Sheryl openly discusses her challenges with being a CEO of Facebook and what it took for her to get where she is today as a working woman.  Clearly her life has been “messy” and she even states over and over again how hard it is to obtain “balance” when we’re always supposed to be reachable and available.  The global world is 24 hours a day work and things are constantly unfolding minute by minute.  Her book will give you some ideas: Namely take a look at your own ability to put yourself out there (ie: be ambitious) and be all that you can be.  Then you can set boundaries when you get clear about who and what you want in your job arena and in your family.

Studies show that we all want to attain some kind of “balance,” but what does balance mean now?  If we focus so much on trying to achieve our concept of “balance” in a setting that is constantly in flux, we are constantly frustrated and overwhelmed. This increases our sense of stress and unbalancing.  Maybe there’s another way to look at this idea of “balance”?

In Forbes Magazine, (8/15/13) they recently described the Work-Life-Balance concept as dead in today’s world.  Instead, they say the conversation is really about Energy Management, Resiliency and Flexibility. “Happiness is still the ultimate goal — but happiness and work-life-balance aren’t the same thing.”  They describe happy people as those who are the most fulfilled in their lives.   So they give you some great guidelines (See below) which I have included in my work to help women begin to discover ways to put themselves and their needs in the priority mix on a daily basis.

This is such an important conversation, I believe, because the working woman of today often doesn’t feel like she is in charge of her own life.  Learning more ways for women to feel empowered is the key to women moving past their personal blocks and making their lives work professionally and personally.    It does require, however, that we as women explore our own energy and hopes and dreams a little more frequently to be sure we are on track and moving in a healthy direction.  Sometimes we need support to do this and women’s groups, friends and family are always helpful here.  So when we talk about “Balance”  in today’s world, and in the work that I do with women in my groups and classes, we are talking about learning resiliency, energy management and self-care and what each of us needs to feel happy and fulfilled (Passion and Purpose).  Here’s some questions to get you started:

1) Do I have energy for things that are important for me?

2) What gives me energy and engages me?  How often am I doing those things?

3) If I could have two extra hours in a day, what would I spend them on?

4) If I could craft a perfect day, what would it look like?

5) Do I have mental space to think?  Can I take a step back to assess what is working and not working?

6) What are the 3-5 things I need in my life to be happy and healthy?

What can I do to ensure those things?

(Taken from R.I.P. Work-Life-Balance Forbes Magazine August 5, 2013)