Monday, May 13, 2013

Three questions to help you lean in to work-life balance

Sheryl Sandberg made a splash near the beginning of the year with the release of her book Lean In, her manifesto for women to redefine their career away from a "having it all" mentality to one of personal responsibility and designing a life that allows for both work and family.

The difficulties that face women have long been studied and reported, and a recent poll indicates that women still feel at a disadvantage professionally despite headway they have made and changes in the workplace. Making intentional decisions about one's career is important for anyone but is especially important for women. The tension between professional and personal-life obligations can create a sense of imbalance and unhappiness. Consider the questions below to put clarity and intention around work-life decisions:

What are you willing to compromise and not compromise for work and family? While there is no such thing as perfect balance in one's life, being able to set boundaries and stick to them - whether it is always being home for dinner or achieving a level of professional success - will give you a value-based foundation on which to make your decisions and "draw your line," increasing your life satisfaction.

Where are you feeling supported and not supported? In both your personal and professional life take some time to think about the level of support you feel. Where would you assess it on a scale of one to ten? If it below an eight, consider why it is that way how much of it is environmental or personal? Put yourself in a place of empowerment and design some actions from there.

What would help you achieve more balance in your professional and personal life? Alongside deciding what to compromise and not compromise, consider what choices you can make to help you achieve the balance that you want to achieve. It could be a decision of asking a partner to be more of a presence with family-related chores or it could be that you delegate more time at the office or even work from home. Put a critical eye on how you do things to see if there is any room for adjustment.

While there is no question that the American workplace needs to do more to accommodate women, use these questions to strengthen areas of your life that are weak and to design a life that leads you to feel accomplished personally and professionally.

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