Can women have it all? Pt 1
It is said that a woman cannot have it all.
With the drastic increase of women in the labour force, many are grappling with the question, "Can I have a career and still effectively take care of my personal and family life?"
If you missed the 2015 Leaders to Leaders seminar held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, last Wednesday under the theme 'The Power of Sisterhood II: Juggling Act (towards work and family - Life Harmony)', then you would have missed five dynamic presentations that would have helped you to answer that question, and tips on how to make it all work.
Moderated by Flow's Gail Abrahams, the distinguished presenters included Minna Israel, distinguished fellow at the Mona School of Business; Audrey Tugwell-Henry, senior general manager, retail banking division, National Commercial Bank (NCB); Chorvelle Johnson, president and chief executive officer, Proven Wealth Limited; Coleen Montague, principal of Wolmer's High School for Girls; and Therese Turner-Jones, country representative of Inter-American Development Bank.
Today, we bring you part one in our two-part series focusing on the sound advice from these powerful speakers - Chorvelle Johnson, who spoke on ' Chasing an Elusive Concept: Work-family-life balance'; and Audrey Tugwell-Henry - 'The Impact of Career Choice on Personal and Family Life'.
Johnson established that life is like a combination of different types of fruits which signify the sweet and sour parts of your life, which need to be pulled apart, honed separately, and then brought together so that you have a favourable balance. "Balance does not mean 50/50. It means segmenting your life in a way that works for you at that point in time," Johnson shared.
In other words, "work-life balance is not an elusive concept, but it takes effort, commitment and support," Johnson added.
But according to Tugwell-Henry, you first need to acknowledge that you are not a superwoman, and when bitter moments arise you are better able to cope with them, "One may think that you must be a superwoman to be a successful working woman in today's world. But I must tell you that I am no superwoman, never have and never will be," Tugwell-Henry told the audience.
Johnson noted that a balancing act is considered an 'inside job' and there is no formula. No one can tell you how to balance your life. You have to find a balance based on your lifestyle.
Johnson highlighted that your career allows you to afford the things in life that contribute to the well-being and happiness of your family, but can be dampened if you are unable to meet time lines and not get promotions.
To remain grounded, she advises knowing your goals, objectives and timelines, limiting time-wasting activities, working smarter not harder without overexerting yourself, knowing your support team can improve efficiency in your career.
Tugwell-Henry shared a similar sentiment, outlining the three habits she adopted from Stephen Covey's book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:
1. Be proactive - this is about taking responsibility for your life and not blaming anyone for your situation.
2. First things first - prioritising the things that are important. Not jumping to try and do everything.
3. Sharpen the saw - means preserving and enhancing my greatest asset ... me".
She noted that your family and close friends are an all-time support group in good, bad, and indifferent times, but they sometimes get left out. "I have to admit that family support is very important when as a woman you decide to pursue a career and work full-time. My family has been extremely supportive, especially my husband." Johnson advises that establishing rituals and traditions, sharing regularly, setting aside time for your husband or partner separate from time for the children, making lasting memories and having bucket lists can all take care of the family segment.
While Tugwell-Henry noted that she reads Stephen Covey's book to help her to successfully manage her life as a working mother, now she finds all that she needs in the Bible, Johnson reminded the audience that the spiritual segment of her life reminds her that there is a bigger being that guides and gives hope, which can also affect you by having the faith to fall back on.
They advise that meditating, appreciating life, welcoming the opportunity of a new day, and giving thanks often, by the second, minute and hour will help build your spirituality.
Both speakers believe that 'me time' is very important and is used to take care of their most important assets, and that's themselves. So unplug, take time to reassess, exercise and eat right; regroup, refocus, just be quiet - listen to your body your positive energy, assess your goals and your progress, set new ones. If me time is ignored, this can result in a health scare.
Johnson advised that women should enjoy their lives by not being reactionary, be in control, and remember that balance starts with them; maintain positive vibes, positive reaction and positive results.
Catch part II next week.