By Tasheé Singleton
Member of IMA's Young Professionals Committee, President of IMA's Chattahoochee Valley Chapter, and Accounting Manager for Foundation Properties, Inc., at Columbus State University in Columbus, GA.
Work/life balance - what a topic to discuss!. As young professionals (YP), we continue to struggle with this topic due to real and unreal expectations that are thrust upon us as we begin our journey in the infamous "real world." The way we think about the balance has a significant impact on the way we manage the work/life issue. A few key things to consider are values, positive thinking and priorities.
Values and Positive Thinking
Values are critical to our day-to-day living. It is what grounds us and defines us as a person. Why does positive thinking matter? Well, I believe 90-95% of the battle is within our mind.
Listen to the conversations that transpire throughout our day. How many naturally begin with positivity? For example, let's say you take initiative and present information to your boss in numerical and graphical format. A co-worker says "Oh my God! I can't believe you just did that! Now they will expect us all to be overachievers." You can either take on this astonishment as a condescending comment or as a way of always keeping your co-worker thinking what innovation is next.
Values and positive thinking lead us to our priorities. Yolanda Adams, an American Grammy and Dove Award winning gospel artist, says it best when she notes that life is about faith, family, friends and fun.
Everyone has a different measure of faith. However, faith is what makes us different from one another. It is the crux for our values and belief system. Faith is doing what is right when no one else will. Faith is pushing through the rough times because we know the experience will make us stronger and appreciate the value of the principle(s) exposed.
Family is the backbone of our life. Our families support us when we fall and shine. They are our safe haven. Their opinion matters and we need to include them in our decision making. It is a sign of respect. At the end of the day, my family is my number one priority and cheerleader. Their support is critical, and makes the difference between having a house and a home. They may not agree with every decision, but they will respect and support us because we solicited and incorporated some of their input in our decision.
Friends foster our interest and provide a different perspective of life. Friends are those who we trust outside of our family, such as confidants, mentors, support systems and even acquaintances. The challenge is to trust them with our dreams and allow them to assist us in shaping our lives.
For fun, do something you like and make this a consistent activity. I like to read and interact with children. After college and the first three years on my job, I realized I had excluded both entirely.
I value leading by example. I wanted my daughter to know she could be part of something, such as work or volunteering, and still have quality time with family and self. I made a point to take my daughter on a date every pay period. This was exclusively her time and even today she speaks fondly of these moments. She also observed me taking moments for myself to read something fun (nothing to do with work or school). Needless to say, I see her sneaking off to read on her own.
Often we make time for everything else because it appears to be critical. We should question is the activity truly value-added for my life? The key is to make time. It is a choice. Prioritize, expound on values and do not compromise...and love yourself.
Get a notebook or journal; write down your values and dreams. Prioritize your list. Make notes about what you have done to progress toward those goals and lessons learned along the way. Review it often.
It's surprising how reflecting on your activities, values, and dreams drives a balanced lifestyle. Work/life balance is truly that...a lifestyle.