When introducing myself in new business settings, I often mention that I’m on the third iteration of my communications career. Over 30-some years, my rewarding professional life has expanded, contracted, and expanded again. And during every phase, I’ve maintained a rich personal life, a robust family life and an active volunteer life in leadership positions. It’s a balancing act to be sure, rarely easy, but oh so worth it.
There’s no simple formula for juggling life’s priorities. There are a few principles that have helped me navigate, however. I’ve relied on them for years and can say they’ve worked for me. More importantly, they’ve shaped me personally and professionally. Maybe there’s a tidbit here for you, too.
- A solid spiritual foundation offers me daily strength, perspective and motivation for life’s knowns and unknowns, purpose in every activity and engagement in a God-sized enterprise that is much bigger than my own small life.
- Prioritizing using the principle of the Ps: People first, pets second, plants third. This may seem like a silly way to determine what to do next, but it helps me figure out what’s most important in the moment. It’s most applicable at home – where plants are actually my responsibility – but it has applications for the office, too. People are always first, projects are second, and plants are still third.
- When it comes to volunteering, I only do it if I love it. Sure, there are parts and pieces of many volunteer responsibilities that I don’t love, but overall, something strong and meaningful draws me to make the investment of time, energy and resources. As a result, I’m deeply involved in a few, meaningful – and demanding – volunteer roles.
- I believe in “good enough.” Life isn’t perfect, and many parts of life don’t require perfection. For example, when busyness overwhelms, I revert to good enough housekeeping. It works great for as long as I need it to.
- Rest and refreshment are essential. This can be challenging for someone in the sandwich generation, working full-time, and invested in significant volunteer roles. Periodic time away from the demands of work, coupled with daily engagement in reading, relationships and exercise feed my spirit and restore my attitude.
Somehow, those principles have allowed me to enjoy a wonderful family, satisfying work and rewarding participation in volunteer leadership. And yes, some days, life’s out of balance and I’m scrambling. Then, it’s time to recall the values and perspective that guide me. Intentionally pausing reframes my thinking and feelings, and brings balance back into view.
- Beth Fredrickson, Senior PR Counselor