As part of an autumn series, this week I share part of Chapter 1 from The 24-Hour Woman; How high achieving stressed women manage it all and STILL find happiness, (you can find last week’s entries, here).
As you read through this piece, I invite you to consider someone in your life who sounds like someone the passage below and consider how you might support them.
Come, and meet some friends of mine. Each is intelligent, confident, and high achieving in her own right. Do you know anyone like them? Are you asking questions like theirs?
a Gen Xer Who Cares for Dependents, Has a Full-time Career, and Is Both Work and Family Focused
Esther is the youngest employee ever in the history of her international engineering firm to have been appointed operations director. She has a bright career future before her at the age of thirty- two.
Esther and her husband, Daniel, are raising their young son, Mack, who spends much of his day with a caregiver. Esther and Daniel spend their weekends with Mack, who is their only child.
Esther has a wonderful marriage and loves her work. Her life looks rosy indeed to outside observers. Unknown to others, however, is that Esther has a second baby on the way. Now, at the start of her first trimester, she wonders how she can break this news to her supervisor without impacting her own future career opportunities. She knows that, in order to advance to the next level in her career, she will be expected to be mobile. She understands that this mobility might include working for a period of time in another country or taking on roles that would require frequent global travel. As it stands, she manages a team of five who are diverse in terms of culture, gender, and generation. The team is also diverse geographically, so she manages them both physically—in the same location where she is—and virtually. Needless to say, Esther has to spend a lot of time resolving complex conflicts and dealing with the diverse expectations of her team.
Esther knows that quitting is not an option, as Daniel and she need a dual income to maintain their current standard of living. But she is conflicted and overwhelmed. She already feels guilty and stressed each time she needs to take calls from home or hold meetings on weekends. The ultimate emotional blow to Esther happened when Mack fell the other day, and he ran into the arms of his caregiver instead of to Esther—who was standing right beside him. It broke her heart and left her wondering, what can I do to live a life where I excel at work AND in my family life?
a Baby Boomer Retiree Who Works, with Children Away from Home
Jen has an impeccable work ethic. The one and only company she has worked in for in thirty years is the same one she wants to continue working for until retirement. She has just discovered, however, that retirement may not happen when she’d originally expected. Jen has learned that she will need to continue working to fund her ongoing needs. The thought of continuing to work at this pace sends shivers down her back. She had thought that she could finally slow down and smell the roses, as her health is not as good as it once was.
To make matters worse, her current boss is the same age as her son. In recent months, she has had run-ins with her boss with regards to showing respect and recognition of her contributions.
Having been in the same workplace for the last thirty years, she is not sure if she can start over in the “whole new world” out there. However, being fiercely independent, she loathes asking her grown-up children for support. She wants to explore her work options and improve her relationship with her boss. How can I live a more vibrant and fulfilling life? Isn’t this really what life is all about? she asks herself daily.
a Gen Y, Career-Focused Woman, Who Also Wants to Have Some Fun in Life
Yet to relinquish her fight to retain a life outside of work, Sylvia is every bit of the young, enthusiastic millennial—eager to prove herself and live life by her own rules. She recently asked her supervisor, “Why do we have to go to work at the same time every day, and to the same place? The commute to work is terrible. I am more productive working from home or somewhere more informal. After all, my work can be done entirely from my laptop!” Sylvia was amazed with her supervisor’s answer that it has always been this way, and that she should adapt if she wants to be promoted and advance in her career.
Now, she needs to show that she is present and active at work. She has learned how to work “smart.” But she is realizing she should not be so efficient, because it does not pay to get things done quickly. She will still have to hang around the office until the clock strikes quitting time and she and the zillions of others in the office leave for home.
Sighing, she wishes she could go join the master ceramics class of a famous potter who is in town just for the season. Alas, the class is in the late afternoon, and there is no way she can leave early to pursue her passion.
an Entrepreneur Who Thought Running Her Own Business Would Give Her More Free Time to Do What She Wanted
Abigail is a mother of two, a wife, a daughter, and a home-based entrepreneur who left her job because she wanted to spend more time with her children and aging mom. She lost her dad two years earlier, and she treasures her time with her mom.
Everyone thinks Abigail has the perfect life now that she works for herself. What could be better than spending each day doing what you love while being able to be there for the children? What others do not know is that Abigail constantly struggles; she learns that working for one’s self isn’t always the best for one’s personal and professional life. She realizes that as an entrepreneur, she has to be even more disciplined than when she was in the corporate world. She needs to be sure that when, where, and how she is spending her time and energy are serving her well. After all—when you are “the boss”—the good, bad, and ugly of the business ends with you.
Abigail realizes more than anyone else that if you are the business owner, you have to care for it almost as if it was a living organism. She still struggles with telling her family members that she can’t do things with them when she is rushing for a deadline—or has overcommitted in order to tide herself over the lull seasons.
An entrepreneur, more than anyone else, is at risk of burnout. But any 24-Hour Woman can become consumed entirely with work if she is not consciously designing and living by the choices she makes.
I would love your thoughts on how you might help these women navigate work/family/personal life in this 24/7 world. What is your gift in disguise?
PS - You can purchase a copy of The 24-Hour Woman:How high achieving stressed women manage it all and still find happiness from Amazon. Hit reply and email us a scan copy of your receipt for my gift of a 3 video training series to help you achieve high performance without the burnout.
PPS - Our 90 Day Women Coaching and Mastermind will be launched soon, PM or comment below for early notice.
PPPS – Join my free Facebook Group for more resources on how to thrive in your health, wealth and self. https://www.facebook.com/groups/womenHWS/edit/
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