Own My Life?

I went to a seminar/workshop yesterday at the Rubbermaid Newell Headquarters here in Atlanta. Organized by Mom Corps, the topics all revolved around how to maintain balance in your family life when you work. Whether you work full-time, part-time or not at all, the speakers and panelists were actually pretty encouraging. Refreshingly, what I heard from just about all of them was the message of priorities and specifically making spouses and kids—our families–priority number 1.

I love my generation. We really do have our prioroties straight, even though we don’t always live up to keeping our priorities straight. We at least keep trying.

The following statements are some of the interesting things I heard yesterday:

Change or define my definition for success-not someone else’s definition of success. Boundaries. What do I aspire to do or to be? Don’t be focused on what other people are doing.

Don’t let other people define “success” for me. Your best solutions come when you lack resources. If you have unlimited resourced you won’t be motivated to be creative. If there is ever a time you have less to lose, i’ts now. While every one else is sticking their head in the sand, you have an opportunity to stand up and stand out.

An economic slowdown that will finally slow us down! This might be exactly what we need.

Try something new. Go for a job in an entirely new industry. Reinvvent yourself. If everybody is changing jobs withint the same industry, their resumes will all look the same. So, if you come from a different industry then you’ll look different, better and have a different/better perspective to offer the company/industry.

If you are going into an entirely different industry, tell them, “I know to you I look like some one just out of college because I have no experience in this industry. So pay me as you would pay some one just out of college and in three months I’ll show you I’m worth more.”

Know your ideal client.

The trophy story—Shaquille O’Neill’s father only let him display his trophys for 2 weeks in his room and then he made him put them in the basement. The reason? He told his son if he was too focused on his accomplishments in the past he wouldn’t be focused on the accomplishments of the future/where you want to go/your goals.

We need mentors.

Do you want to climb the ladder? What is at the top of your ladder? What does it look like up there? What’s at the top of your ladder may be a lot different than what is at the top of my ladder. You’ve got to define your own success. Write it down and know what it looks like. It might not be the corner office with the big salary. It might be a warm, cozy home, healthy kids and spouse and good friends?

There was a lot of talk about the “box.” Inside the box. Outside the box. Think outside the box. F’igure out what the “box” looks like and then think differently.

For example, you graduate, get married, get a starter house, have kids, get a bigger house, etc…

Perhaps, instead, you stick with the starter house or go down in house after having kids or stay home with your kids or go to work or start your own business.

We all agreed it was more difficult for men to ask for and get flexible work schedules but women can and should ask for this if that is what we want? It’s not the “mommy-track” any more. It’s the “flexible-track.”

I’m not part-time—I’m still 100% committed. I just have a flexible-schedule.

And that was key. Scheduling. Schedule your days. When the kids get home from school, turn off your cell phone and be present for them. Don’t do cell phone and try to be present…doesn’t work. Kids are smart and perceptive.

Skills from motherhood: organization, containing chaos, managing stress. Mothers set the emotional tone of the family. Better listener, open to other points of view, expert multi-tasker, better prioritizer…

And things we learn at work we can take home to share with our family like news, information, life lessons.

Make a point to think about how I spend my time and who I spend my time with. Who are the people that suck the life out of me? Spend less time with drainers. Deliberately steer your time to people that make me feel good, inspired, better. Spend time with people aligned with my values. Instead of ignoring the positive and dwelling on the negative, ignore the negative and dwell on the positive.

Don’t have unrealistic expectations about what I can do—I’m only one person!

Parenting: take a step back and help your kids be the best they can be…don’t get into the competitive sport of parenting. Be present. Really listen and know your kids.

What I do for a living is part of me, but it is not me. I waste a lot of energy of self-doubt. Set my own pace. Life on my time, my pace.

I’ll write more about this workshop tomorrow. There was a lot more. I really enjoyed it. No talk of God, which I found odd and lacking. But it was pretty good, nonetheless.

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