Pink Think: "I think at the end of the day you have to find a balance with what's really important." - Julianne Hough
THE LAST THING I NEEDED was a whole day spent at a conference, however wonderful it sounded.
A few weeks ago, I heard an ad on the radio for a Women Entrepreneurs Conference in Kaysville, Utah. Intrigued, I looked up the website. Even though the registration seemed reasonable, I applied for a scholarship (because it would help the bottom line, and because I can never resist applying for scholarships).
As the date approached, I decided I didn't have time to spend a day away at a conference. I had two 1200-word feature stories, an op-ed, and client transcriptions for a Christmas memoir due all at the same time.
But then I got word that I got the scholarship. So now of course, I felt obligated to go. Reluctantly, I went to the conference.
Thankfully, I did, because that conference was just what the doctor ordered.
Being in a room full of hundreds of women entrepreneurs like me was an amazing feeling. The women I talked to at my table, at the exhibits, at the workshops, all knew what I was going through.
They knew of the fear I felt. Of approaching potential clients and giving that precise pitch, only to be rebuffed politely. The fear of following up because you don't want to be a nuisance. Of the misgiving: Can I really deliver what I promised? Of wanting work, but wondering how to keep up if one gets too successful.
They knew of the inner conflict I've been struggling with more so now that I was a small business owner. Of being a mother and wife while trying to juggle a busy schedule that is self-imposed by an even harder taskmaster: yourself. Of wanting to watch that movie and kick back on the weekend with the family but there is so much to do! Of not being available to the kids even though you are "home". Of nights when you're too exhausted to even cry.
Perhaps the greatest takeaway I got from the conference was to be kind to myself, because no one else will do that job for me. One of the presenters, Tiffany Peterson of The Lighthouse Principles, advised us to make a joy list and enjoy one item within the next 24 hours. (Within hours of my coming home, I bought myself a Twix and a relaxing CD, so yes, I did it!)
The conference made me recognize that having my own business exacerbates all my workaholic tendencies. I have to say my family - my husband and teenage kids - have all been fabulous from day one as I've been getting more clients. My kids take care of themselves, pitch in with chores and in general make it so I could focus on my work without worrying what they are up to.
Still, I needed to ask myself, What am I doing this for? If it's for the family, which it is, then why am I not enjoying the family now?
Soon after the conference, I read a book by Christine Hohlbaum called The Power of Slow which gave me my much needed perspective on balance. She says in the book that a lot of our stress is self-created, because we are addicted to the feeling of "averting disaster". If you feel like you are on a hamster wheel, with all the frantic views that affords, I recommend you read this book.
Thanks to the conference and the book, I am more determined to have balance in my life. I'm avoiding working through evenings because I know my brain will function better if I give it a bit of a rest. In reality, all-nighters probably could wait until morning. I am saying no to more extraneous things that take me away from my family. I am saying yes to more fun in my life.
Have YOU found balance in your life? What are your greatest challenges? Triumphs?