Editor’s Note: Ambassador Tanya Williams explores the concept of work-life balance with Babes in Business and chats to two women who are doing just that. Robelen x
Fact #1: There are only 24 hours in the day.
Fact #2: We have to choose how to divide our time during those 24 hours.
Fact #3: Most women have to make priorities between work and family.
According to our friends at Wikipedia, work–life balance is a concept that involves proper prioritising between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, leisure, family and spiritual development). Surely achieving this balance is about attitude and priorities, right? At a recent Babes in Business lunch aptly titled “Get a Life”, the panel explored this very concept, asking what is balance? It seems that learning how to manage our boundaries in harmony is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves. Hosted by Tric Gibson, the panelists included Therese Kerr, Sally Healey and Karen Vercoe. The group asked attendees what our main purpose in life was, and of course it is different for every person. According to the panel, we as women do a good job at putting ourselves last and do a great job at creating balance for the people around us. Society rewards busyness and sometimes we forget to create some flexibility and harmony in our own lives, based on what we believe in.
I am always intrigued by women who can successfully achieve this balance so I wanted to delve more into the topic and talked to two Brisbane women who are doing just this.
Jo Basett from Living Savvy has made a career from balance. I love Jo’s description of herself on her website. She describes herself as “an executive and performance coach, team leader and facilitator, wife, mother of two spirited little people, big-time dreamer and idea explorer and founder of Living Savvy – a movement to inspire women like you to live your dream life, and to give you the tools you need to make it happen”. Wow! Now you can see why she needs to create balance in her life and why she is so good at it.
The first time I met Jo, I was impacted by her positive attitude and the general happiness she exudes. I was lucky enough to have Jo take some time out of her busy schedule to sit down with me.
What inspired you to start Living Savvy?
It evolved from my past background in the health industry. I started to find the bureaucracy soul destroying. I had two goals, I wanted to start coaching and help woman and to be able to exercise in the sunshine every day. I don’t work well within a box and needed to create a life that worked for me.
How do you balance your work, media appearances, health and fitness, husband, friends and kids?
Family is priority and I work around that. It is give and take. As woman, we can choose many things in life and I choose to make my family my number one priority. There has to be flexibility and it’s not just about what you are doing, but keeping a step ahead.
What is your secret to making it work?
I have given up certain things to achieve this balance. In a relationship with kids it’s not just about you, it’s about your family unit.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Constantly keeping a step ahead and that needs flexibillity
What do you do when it does go off track?
I find physical activity cathartic. It’s like therapy and I love to do exercise or go for a run to get that balance back
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Hopeful, enthusiastic, real, considerate, direct.
What drink best describes you?
A glass of champagne – it’s sparkling and full of anticipation.
Another woman who made an immediate impact on me when I met her at an event recently was Peta McClure. Peta was recently the Store Manager at Michael Hill Jeweler’s flagship Queen Street Plaza store and has now moved into a recruitment role in their head office.
She has been able to dip in out of her role with Michael Hill Jewelers who, as a company have supported her life choices and recognized the benefits for them to do so. Her son, now 2.5 years was a big change in her life and she recognises and admits to finding it very difficult to deal with the loss of that sense of self.
Did you find it hard to learn how to balance career and having a child?
I love my son dearly but losing that independence is like mourning the loss of yourself and I think (that as women) we fail to recognise and deal with this. My career was a huge part of my life for so long, and I was never particularly maternal, so it was very hard to accept this huge change in my life and priorities. I found that the hardest thing to deal with.
Tell me about your corporate background?
I was always very career focused and I have been lucky to have spent 13 years working for Michael Hill Jewelers who are very supportive and understand work-life balance. In all the roles I have had with them, I was open and honest with them from the start and as such we both knew the boundaries and what would work for both of us. Having this type of support makes a big difference in our ability to create the kind of balance we all need to be successful, both for the employee and employer.
How do you balance your work and family?
I was honest with my employer about how many hours I could commit to them every week so we set strong guidelines from day one. My husband and I also made a commitment to put family first and work within those guidelines. All the decisions I make are about balance and are perhaps driven by fear. I have a nanny and childcare which allows us to both have careers but within the boundaries we set for the family. Again, family always has to come first for us.
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Tenacious, honest, driven, loving, infectious.
What is your personal mantra in life?
Strive to achieve.
What is the best advice you can give other woman?
Be true to yourself and listen to your gut instinct. As women it is something we don’t trust enough.
I am always in awe of women who take charge of their lives and make things happen like Jo and Peta. If you want it, you can create it. It’s about priorities and laying ground rules, just as they and the women on the ‘Get a Life’ panel reiterated. A good piece of advice I heard at the lunch was that there is a difference between doing and being. Whatever you want in life is achievable if you believe it. Advice well worth following I would say.
To find out more Babes in Business, visit www.babesinbusiness.com.au.