How do you do it all?
Riggs & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial, Inc.
Balance is not a state of effortlessness. Ask any dancer. It requires effort and small muscle movements to keep the body in equilibrium. Without those small movements, larger corrections are required until balance is completely lost. Being married and business partners, we find work/life balance brings a whole new level of challenges. For us, it begins with our core values. Decisions regarding time, energy, and resources are consistently gauged against those values. Keeping our core values in the forefront, good communication, followed by a healthy dose of flexibility are the small muscle movements for us. We’ve also learned to balance working on the business, which is as important as working in the business. Time away is also very important. Time to truly unplug as well as a change of scenery can boost creativity and focus strategic thought.
It is a constant juggling act, and I know I could not accomplish what I do without a tremendous network of support from my husband, family, friends, and colleagues. Over the years, I have gotten better at the art of saying no, which I think is critical. My husband and I have made attending all of our son’s sporting and school events a top priority, and I have focused my time on the nonprofits about which I am most passionate and for which I think I can make the greatest impact. I do not think it is possible to find a perfect balance, but I appreciate that my career, firm, and clients allow me flexibility, so that I can do the work I love while also giving back to this wonderful community and being a present wife and mother. There will be plenty of time in retirement for sleep, right?
As a husband, father, and business professional, my schedule is anything but simple. I remind myself often of the importance of balance. When I began my current role, a friend of mine gave me this advice, “You will always succeed if you prioritize your life in this order: your faith, your family, and your work.” I lean on my faith for guidance, I rely on my family for motivation, and because of that, my work is fun. It’s rewarding work, but often demands time outside of regular business hours so work/life balance is critical.
When our kids were younger, we used to occasionally ask at the dinner table (one of the best places to find work- — family balance by the way): “If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?” Great debate often ensued. While some days, I thought hurling thunderbolts might be really helpful in my work, I usually settled on the ability to stop (and control) time. Then I’d be able to do all the things I wanted to do. Barring the supernatural, my best advice is a really good calendar. Schedule work stuff. Schedule family time. Schedule volunteering. Schedule some quiet time too. And schedule some travel. Getting away from town and routine is a wonderful way to reflect and rebalance. I’ve been blessed with amazing people in my life, starting with my family and continuing to friends I work, play, and worship with. Balancing it all is a joy as much as it is a challenge.
Author Barbara Kingsolver wrote, “The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” For me, work/life balance is living inside my hopes for my life, my family, and my community. I want to learn something new every day or do something new that adds value to who I am as a person. For my family, my priority is to “be there” as they discover their hopes for their lives. For my community, I want my volunteer service to matter in ways that make others’ hopes possible. I manage my time so that I am where those things can happen. I don’t waste today stressing about a mistake because tomorrow is another day to figure it out.
Early in the development of a business, it can be quite complicated to juggle building a business with church activities, while still trying to have time for family. It becomes paramount that you recognize, then prioritize, from most to least important. Then set goals to complete the important daily functions at work, and leave off the things you don’t need. Everything changes, so you must adapt to change, set realistic and attainable short-term and long-term goals, by order of priority, then work to achieve them, daily, weekly, monthly. It takes self-discipline, but it can be done! One vital tool that has worked well for me is Biblical: “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all of the things you have need of will be added unto you.”