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13 Ways Successful Women Strike A Balance Between Work And Family

13 Ways Successful Women Strike A Balance Between Work And Family

Today’s modern working woman often has an array of many hats that she has to wear on any given day and in any given moment.

Hats can include but are not limited to… mom, chauffeur, chef, coach, wife, sister, moderator, negotiator, colleague, boss and many, many more.

Over the last 15 years in my work as an executive coach, I have had the joy of working with all sorts of amazing and successful women from around the globe. Their struggles are variations on a theme, as they try to find greater balance between the different facets of their lives while doing their best to express their genius and talents through their career and family.

As women, we’re great caretakers and will put the needs and priorities of others first but over time this only leads to failure.

What I’ve consistently seen is that most women think “I just can’t have it all.” They’re resigned to the thinking that somewhere in their busy days something has to give and most times they’re the one left holding the short stick. Often overlooking their own health and well-being in order to take care of all the competing priorities of their career and family.

So how can you actually “have your cake and eat it too?”

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Instead of trying to slice up your time fifteen ways to Sunday to fit in everything in, you have to first start with your own mindset – that your health and well-being matters. And then put into practice some new habits that will regularly fill you up so you can better serve those around you.

Here are 13 secrets of successful working women from around the world to help you adjust your thinking, and positively shift your priorities to make time for the life you’ve been dreaming of living. A life where there is a balance between a thriving career and a happy home life.

1. Set Your Compass

compass

    In other words, get clear on your core values and purpose. Your values and purpose are your internal compass for how to best utilize the natural gifts, talents and genius that you uniquely have to express in the world through your work. When you can walk your path and remain true to your values and gifts, it naturally reduces the amount of stress you experience as you honor yourself and your spirit in all that you think, say, and do in each day.

    2. Manage Your Own Health First

    If you’re energy is low and you don’t have the umph to take care of the other important people and things in your life, then everybody loses.

    Be sure to eat healthy foods that feed your body with good nutrition, and make time for some kind of regular exercise so you can work out the stresses of everyday life. If you don’t, these stressors can build up in your system and lead to a variety of health issues both mental and physical, so dodge the bullet by being proactive in taking good care of yourself. Your loved ones will thank you!

    3. Communicate Your Wants And Needs Clearly

    As much as we would like to think that our significant others can read our minds, they (mostly) can’t. Instead of having to make them guess and be disappointed when they don’t figure out exactly what you want, ask for what you need. Practice having open, honest and heartfelt conversations with your loved ones so all involved feel seen, heard and respected. They will appreciate it and you’ll avoid the mistake of assumptions gone awry.

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    4. Fill Your Own Cup

    Fill Your Own Cup

      Be sure to take time out for things that rejuvenate your spirit. Things like meditation, prayer, getting a fabulous massage or a mani-pedi, doing yoga, or taking a walk during your lunch break are all great ways to de-stress and fill your cup back up with goodness. Find a few ways that work for you and practice them regularly. It will calm your mind and ease your spirit.

      5. Giving And Receiving 100%

      It’s often said that being in a relationship is a give and take. That you each give 50% to the whole of the relationship to make it “work” at 100% – right? But the real key is to give 100% of yourself, your attention and your time in the moment, to your loved ones while asking them to give 100% of themselves to the relationship as well.

      In other words, when you’re with your significant other (or with a colleague for that matter), be there fully in the moment with them as best you can. When you give your all, they can feel it. And as human beings, when we feel seen and heard fully, our hearts open and it creates a stronger connection with another. This helps to build trust and collaboration which goes a long way towards reducing misunderstandings.

      6. Be Clear On Your Priorities

      What is the most important thing in your life above all else? What is the second most important thing in your life? The third thing that is most important in your life? When you’re clear on what needs to be prioritized first, then it’s less stressful to make choices and decisions based on your priorities as you honor your values, heart and spirit.

      7. Get Your Zzzzz

      Getting enough sleep is super important! It’s the time when your body can process through the stress of the day and rejuvenates your cells. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can create a multitude of negative affects such as loss of attention span and productivity, forgetfulness, depression, weight gain, premature aging of your skin, and health risks such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, just to name a few.

      If stress has you worrying and keeping you up at night, try various mindfulness meditations before you go to bed to slow down your system and calm your mind for a restful night’s sleep. Your body will thank you and so will everyone else around you.

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      8. Know Your Boundaries

      What are you willing and not willing to do for your work? Where do you draw the line between work time and family time? When does your work-day begin and end? When is your sacred time with family and loved ones? If need be, put it on your calendar and color code it.

      The more you practice honoring these boundaries, the more you’re honoring your core values. You’re also establishing separate neural pathways in your brain for those different areas of your life. As you do this, it becomes easier to “code switch” or change gears in your mindset to leave work at work and be fully present with friends and family.

      9. Be Mindful Of Your Energy Drains

      Are there some ‘Negative Nellies’ or ‘Hateful Harolds’ in your life? You know those folks who are always trying to pull you down into their latest drama, “woe is me” story or other negative mindsets that drains your time, energy and focus?

      Notice the people and situations that are sucking you dry of your positive life force. Limit your interactions with those kinds of people or eliminate them all together if you can. The less you collude with their story, or buy into it, the less they have something to attach to and will eventually take their story elsewhere.

      10. Schedule Regular Play Dates

      Schedule Play Dates

        Just as much as your kids need play dates with their friends, so do you with your significant other and girl friends. Taking time out to let your hair down and be your “adult” self instead of Mom, or boss, or colleague creates downtime for your hard working brain to just have fun, be silly and do what floats your boat with friends and loved ones.

        11. Dance With Your Inner Muse

        We all have some kind of creativity that comes through us. It can look a thousand different ways such as painting, writing, gardening, cooking, knitting, and dancing just to name a few. When you take time to express your inner muse, it allows your right brain to light up and activates various pleasure centers in your brain. This releases a cascade of happy chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin which leaves you feeling good and creates a positive ripple effect into other areas of your life.

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        12. Ask For Help

        As a recovering “I can do it all by myself” kinda woman, it’s taken me a long time to learn how to ask for help from others. Truth is, when you’re plate is full, there is no way that you can do it all by yourself! When you’re willing to ask for help from those around you for various things you give them the opportunity to be of contribution to you in some way.

        All of us want to be of service in good ways – it’s hard wired into our DNA. When you allow someone to share their expertise or assistance with you, it’s the same as receiving a gift from them. They feel good about giving it and you get to practice graciously receiving their gift of kindness.

        13. Let Go Of The Small Stuff

        dandelion close up

          In each day there are bound to be issues and challenges that come up which can easily drag you down the rabbit hole of stress, worry, fear or frustration. When you’re clear on what your core values and purpose are, then it’s easier to choose your battles based on what’s truly important, what’s going to move you forward in a good way and serve the greater good.

          When you are able to let go of the small stuff you build up your energy reserves for more important things that need your time and attention.

          As you try on these different keys to having more balance, let me know what works best for you and the positive shifts you’re noticing in your work and home life. I’d love to hear!

          Featured photo credit: Morgan Sessions via download.unsplash.com

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          Last Updated on February 20, 2019

          17 Versatile Work Skills That Will Gain You More Career Opportunities

          17 Versatile Work Skills That Will Gain You More Career Opportunities

          When we look at a job advertisement, it can seem as though employers want an exhaustive list of experience and technical skills from their new hire.

          They list desirable qualities such as ‘initiative’, ‘team player’ and ‘strong work ethic’. Those words can mean a variety of things to different people and it can be quite hard for employers to illustrate fully the combination of technical and soft skills they want their potential employees to have.

          What they often want is a mix of versatile skills that make it easy for them (and you) to adapt to the changing needs and demands which occur in businesses today.

          After all, adaptability and innovation are what make businesses thrive.

          In today’s ever-changing environment, versatility is a mandatory attitude every working person needs to have. With the following seventeen work skills, you will not only make your employer extremely happy and confident that hiring you was their best decision, you will experience greater personal satisfaction and results.

          1. Know What You Want but More so Why You Want It

          Employers need to sense you have a solid idea as to why you are a fit for their role and their organization. They need to sense you have your own sense of purpose.

          However, it can be a double-edged sword to say you know exactly what you want to achieve and gain if you are successful in your application and interview.

          Some employers can perceive this as arrogance; your needs first, theirs second. What employers are really looking for is your internal sense of knowing that potential to join their organization is a winning combination for both of you.

          2. Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution Skills Save Money, Lost Productivity and Efficiency

          Can you agree to disagree? Can you evaluate without passing judgment or at least be self-aware of your own biases? Can you put these aside to find solutions for the betterment of the team?

          Employers look for versatility in soft work skills that bring peace, lower stress and contribute to creating harmony. If you have ways with words to help heated arguments reduce to a simmer so there is space for compromises, negotiations and reasoning to take place your employers’ respect for you will jump at least tenfold.

          Peace-making skills are invaluable in changing workplace culture, particularly toxic ones. Any good employer knows a strong in-house negotiator will save them thousands of dollars in engaging an external mediator.

          3. Know How to Set and Reframe Your Own Goals

          Much research has documented that when employees have a clear purpose, mission and goals, they are more likely to be highly productive. They are less likely to flounder around in many directions nor be busy and not produce results that matter.

          Employers know well that employees who develop their own goals and can align these with those of the company are more self-driven, self-sufficient and take greater ownership for performing their role.

          And the benefit is not only to the employers. You personally will find greater personal satisfaction from achieving targets you have chosen to set yourself. Everyone wins!

          4. Great Time Management and Organization Skills Make You Highly Productive

          Being able to exercise versatility with these work skills needs no explanation. Great time management does not mean multi-tasking. It actually uses more brain power and reduces effectiveness.

          Having great skills to prioritize your activities and demands, being able to assess how long things might take you to address are planning skills which greatly aid effective and better execution.

          Working in harmony with your colleagues’ timetables makes for better teamwork and workflow plus a less stressed environment.

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          In today’s working world, any strategies for reducing stress-invoking opportunities are like finding golden nuggets. Your employer will want to hold on to those for dear life!

          5. Be a Flexible Team Player by Being Able to Change Roles When Required

          Employers will be looking to see how flexible a team player, a potential employee could be.

          If you are a natural leader, being a better team player might, in fact, mean you stepping down from the helm and encouraging someone else to exercise and step into their leadership potential.

          It might be more beneficial to your employer to play the role of Indian as opposed to the Chief in certain situations. Stepping into different positions on your team not only helps you grow but also the rest of your team.

          Employers relish having a versatile work team which can adapt and is ready and willing to play different roles, even if uncomfortable when crises happen.

          6. Initiative, Self-Motivated and Driven

          When you have your own internal reasons for looking to undertake a role your motivation is driven by something sizzling inside of you.

          There is a personal drive and desire for the satisfaction you will experience when you meet a certain target that no other person will be able to give to you.

          When you can genuinely identify and demonstrate your own personal connection to the role’s objectives and the greater goals of your employer’s business, they will see you have an internal drive that they don’t need to whip and flog to keep the momentum going.

          Any employer will be grateful they just need to help navigate you and support you with the right tools and network and off you go.

          7. Be Confident but Not Arrogant

          Imagine if you were conducting initial telephone interviews with shortlisted candidates and one of the questions they asked was:

          “How long would it be until I’ll be eligible for a pay rise or promotion?”

          There is a significant difference between being confident and arrogant. Employers are not looking for confidence purely in you being able to perform every aspect of your role at gold star level.

          It comes with being comfortable to say you don’t understand, you have made a mistake, you need support, further training, acknowledging what your limits are and being willing to risk stepping outside your comfort zone.

          When you’re a new kid on the block, respecting that you may need to learn to walk before you can run is essential. Unless it is your job to start making significant changes from day one, chances are you’re going to create enemies if you’re so confident your new methods and ideas should replace existing processes.

          8. A Positive Attitude

          Demonstrating positivity as a work skill that will truly win over your new employer is about being genuine and actively applying strategies which look for the glass half full.

          Recruiters and employers are not dumb. They can easily see through short-term bright smiles, nervous giggling and general ‘you just need to think positive’ statements.

          In the face of grueling challenges, employers are going to look much more favorably on that candidate who can acknowledge the negative features of a situation but still encourage another solution-focused perspective to be adopted.

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          Even better, if you can use language effectively to demonstrate how you have adopted a positive perspective and helped turned around a tough situation.

          It is one thing to have a positive attitude but your potential employer will see you as a superhero if you can show them how you have successfully applied it.

          Take a look at these tips to learn more about staying positive:

          10 Tips To Make Positive Thinking Easy

          9. You Are Resourceful but Know the Value of Asking for Help

          There is nothing more unproductive (let alone frustrating) than that person who simply asks out loud a question to their team when they could simply have Googled the answer.

          Or worse still, they have a manual at their fingertips which has the answer to their question…they were simply too lazy to look for themselves.

          Be that person with Sherlock Holmes as their middle name who sleuths like a dog after a buried bone. You can research and turn over stones to discover and learn what you need but you also are able to ask for help and assistance when you need to.

          Any employer will relish that person who looks to discover the answers to their own questions first before reaching out and asking for help.

          Hesitate to ask for help? This article may just change your mind:

          Afraid to Ask for Help? Change Your Outlook to Aim High!

          10. Emotional Intelligence Creates a Harmonious Workflow

          Despite the level of seniority of your role having a strong ability to handle emotions is fast becoming an essential work skill (and also life skill).

          It is even more desirable for any employer when your work skill set includes the ability to detect, adapt to and have skills in managing certain emotional patterns of others you need to work with, manage or report to.

          So much time, energy and productivity is lost due to individuals’ lack of skills in this area. Any manager who can see you possess and can demonstrate such versatile work skills will think they’ve won the managerial lottery!

          You can learn how to improve your Emotional Intelligence from this article:

          7 Practical Ways To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

          11. Be Able to Adapt Your Learning Style

          There is no real evidence that using preferred learning styles actually increase the rate at which we learn nor the effectiveness of certain styles.

          However, being able to make changes to what we are given to learn and adapting it to suit our needs and preferences does help us settle into a new work transition sooner.

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          We also need to recognize that even though we feel uncomfortable learning a new skill a certain way, it might actually be the way we need to receive it to cement the learning. It is also likely that our new employer only knows or has a budget to deliver training in a certain way.

          Either we can choose to adapt or resist but we know for sure the latter is not going to benefit to anyone.

          Want to find out what your learning style is? Take this quiz:

          How This Learning Style Quiz Can Help You Make the Most of Your Life

          12. Flexible Leadership Style

          Dan Goleman has conducted extensive research on different leadership styles, emphasizing that being versatile to switch between different styles (e.g. authoritative, coaching, affiliate, coercive, pace-setting) and knowing when to do is a fundamental skill for any leader.

          Being able to change your style to lead other people is as important as how you lead your own role responsibilities.

          If you want to be a better leader, these books are great resources:

          15 Best Leadership Books Every Leader Must Read To Achieve Success

          13. Incredible Communication Skills That Actively Listen and Give Clear Messages

          Strong and effective communication across all mediums takes time, life experience and highly developed intuition.

          Knowing when to use email, a face to face conversation or telephone discussion is one thing. Another is to use words which emotionally connect and influence the receiver to accept, hear and heed your message.

          Great communicators know that it is their responsibility as much as the receiver for good communication to take place. However, they also know that the receiver may not feel this is the case.

          When you can listen equally, be sensitive to read between the lines to hear the message of ineffective communicators and can respond kindly with inspiring, equalizing and encouraging words, your influence and general likeability as a new addition to your employer’s team will develop in leaps and bounds.

          These books are also nice resources to learn effective communication:

          13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships

          14. Accountable, Responsible and Dependable

          We’ve all worked with people or managers at some point who lay external blame the instance something goes wrong.

          Contrary to popular belief, making mistakes and owning up to it is a highly desirable and versatile work skill that gains loyalty and understanding particularly when mistakes occur.

          Owning up to errors early allows both yourself and the business to recover quickly and shows you’re willing to take responsibility to continue forward on when you have stumbled.

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          When you illustrate you can do this, you build your employer’s trust and faith in you.

          15. Exercise Proactive Self-Awareness

          Self-reflection is a highly empowering work skill that contributes greatly to becoming better and performing better.

          When you actively look for the achievement, celebrate your success and look for pockets of where mistakes you have made can be corrected you improve faster, become more effective and make your work easier.

          When you start to look at your own errors, receiving feedback from your employer about the same errors can feel far less confronting and having corrective conversations is easier, transparent and far less stressful and emotional.

          You naturally increase your resilience and make life easier for yourself and your employer if you conduct regular self-check-ins and keep your employer updated.

          Here’s how to practice self-awareness:

          How to Increase Your Self Awareness to Be Much More Successful

          16. Apply a Problem-Solving Growth Mindset

          When faced with a problem or challenge, your ability to activate a growth mindset is a highly versatile work skill employers love. Not only are you able to reduce the pain and anguish that a fixed mindset can sustain but your ability to remain open to possibilities to find different pathways or ideas is refreshing and helpful.

          If your thought patterns automatically ask: “How can we?” or you often think “there must be a way”, you will only contribute to creating growth opportunities for your organization and inspire others to think the same way.

          Learn more about developing a growth mindset here:

          5 Ways to Cultivate a Growth Mindset for Self Improvement

          17. Be Teachable

          If you have ever tried to teach someone a new skill or technique and they keep reverting back to traditional ways that are familiar to them, you might have become frustrated to the point of giving up.

          Don’t be that person who’s stuck in tradition which no longer serves the business. Whether you are entering a new environment, learning new software or negotiation skills, know that all employers need people who are open to being taught.

          Innovation is a core concern of every business. Innovation means change and change means doing something different.

          Stay Versatile and Keep Learning

          Technical skills can often be taught. Ray Croc illustrated how well a systemized franchise can dominate the planet. Over 36,000 McDonald’s establishments around the world are run by managers barely in their twenties!

          Soft work skills, however, take time to develop, learn and confidently apply.

          There is a key combination of work skills that would make any candidate employer’s dream. However, the essential factor underlying all of these work skills is versatility.

          Equip yourself with these 17 work skills, stay curious and keep learning; and you’ll always nail the job you want.

          More Resources About Career Success

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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