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Work/Life Balance: Integrating Personal & Professional Priorities

Have you heard of Help A Reporter Out (HARO)?

The service puts sources in touch with reporters who are interested in covering specific topics. I encourage all of my clients to sign up – and I also keep an eye out for topics they may be able to pitch.

Earlier this week, I happened to be up at 3:00 a.m. - because that’s what time my brain thinks it’s time to get to work - and I read a HARO post asking for moms to talk about how they maintain balance when they work from home. “MOMpreneurs” was the call for sources. I’m not sure I love that title.

But, it made me think… Do I have work/life balance? Does working in my pajamas make up for the fact that I'm working at 3:00 a.m.?

A little over a year ago, I was featured on the cover of Mind + Body’s Motherhood issue.

Jennifer Jones Markiewicz Mind + Body

Don't let this photo fool you. I have pores in real life.

I didn’t know I’d be on the cover – it was a little jarring to see my face in those vending machines in Old Town. I certainly had no business being the “poster child” for motherhood or work/life balance, but I won’t pretend like it wasn’t an honor.

In any case, through our interview the writer, Andrew Kensley, concluded that I had learned to integrate my role as a mom with my career. He didn’t ask me that directly, but the way in which he summarized our conversation pointed out that I was doing a pretty good job of managing both of these roles.

The line that particularly struck me was this:

“Consequently, the devoted career woman, wife, and mother looks at her job less as a wedge between different segments of her life and more as an intersection.”

I would have never reflected on my life quite like that if Andrew didn’t spell it out for me. (Thanks, Andrew!) But, it did ring true. My son was my inspiration for the work I was doing, and my career helped me have better conversations with him. One hand washed the other, so to speak.

What a gift. Not only to have that kind of relationship between both of these important points in my life, but to have an opportunity to see it through someone else’s lens. If you had asked me on the day that article came out if I was doing a good job balancing my career and my personal life, I could have given you a thousand examples that pointed to “no.” But those would have been the minutia – I didn’t get home in time to have dinner with my family the night before; I had to leave work to take my son to a dentist appointment last week - the list goes on.

But, the big picture was that, yes, I did have “balance” even though my life wasn’t compartmentalized and set on opposite sides of the scale.

Does that perspective apply to how you maintain your balance?

Since that article was written, I resigned from an awesome job to launch Colorado Transition Partners. My day-to-day routine is far different than it was a year ago. Seeing that HARO post made me wonder…am I doing a good job balancing everything?

My short answer is…kinda. My career still inspires new, interesting conversations with my son. And, though his relationship to my work is different now, he is still an inspiration. In fact...

My son is launching a company. He was inspired by hearing stories of how my clients have established and grown their businesses. Walking him through the process of developing a company with an easily-digested strategic plan has helped me think through how I can make my services even more user-friendly.

Iron sharpens iron.

Most of my clients are working way more than they ever have before - but the work is fulfilling. And, for some, that alone makes a difference in their personal life. The fact that they have more control over when and where they work also provides a version of balance that they may not have felt even when they worked fewer hours. When they contact us, we can throw the lifeline that can help them keep that balance for the long haul so they can sustain their passion and maintain their relationships. ...and maybe even take a vacation.

I don’t have this whole work/life thing figured out. Not by a long shot.

But, with an objective perspective, I learned that there is more than one way to define "balance." It doesn't have to be an hour-for-hour trade. Integrating my “real” life into my career gives me the peace of mind to know this is what my version of balance looks like…for now, anyway.

How do you define your balance?

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