Monthly Archives: February 2017
Finding the perfect balance between being on-spot with work but also enjoying your personal time is tough. How do you avoid the burn out?
Because I am young, I feel that I am career driven, more than any other area of my life. I have so much to learn and so far to go. I am constantly taking classes to improve myself, and I put my all into work. On the other hand I recently got engaged, and enjoy spending time with not only Jason, but my family and friends too. So how do you find balance?
For me, finding this balance wasn’t the easiest. A year ago I decided had to change my focus and my entire career in order to achieve any balance at all. Now that I have some balance, I have to keep working at it or it will slip away. My work-life balance will obviously change over time, according to what is happening in my life. I will have to adjust my sails when I get married, have kids, advance in my career.. this will all change the way I structure my life.
It is a tricky balance, and it will be ever-changing, so I wanted to get some input from some of the most successful ladies that surround my life. How do you do it?
1. Trust and Rely Others:
My good friend Sharon, who has worked her way up to be extremely successful in the hospitality world, said that in order to have a home life, she had to put trust in her team. Sharon said, “Being able to “disconnect” when I leave the office, for me, means mitigating those concerns that keep successful people up at night. I put the majority of my energy into putting kind, strategic, energetic people around me. While I have many goals and “stakeholders”, my associates come first. I ensure their work environment is fun and inspiring so they can focus on the operation. I always like to say that no one cares about what you know until they know how much you care. My team is my family; they inspire and uplift me and I do my very best to do the same. I recognize their accomplishments and offer resources when they are struggling. This enables me to walk away each day and know that they will put forth the same effort I do. You cannot do it alone and no great leader should try. I measure my success based on the success, happiness, and growth of my team.”
When asking my best friend’s mother, Sue, how she stays successful at work and also balances her home life, she said, “It is about making mistakes and learning from them…”I had to learn to balance family and career. Not an easy task. I was lucky in many ways as I had a partner who was willing and able to pick up any pieces I couldn’t. Parenting was a balancing act that took a lot of organization but I made sure there was no disappointments in my beautiful daughter’s world. “
I loved this bit of advice, and I think it ties in well with how Sharon responded. You have to put your trust in others. You can’t do everything yourself. You have to trust your team, whether it be at work or at home. They can handle it when you aren’t able to be there. They can cover any stones left unturned, and can help you create the type of life you want to live (if you let them!)
2. Draw the Line:
Knowing when to say no is difficult, especially when you are just beginning your career. I struggled with this in my first job, always taking on crazy tasks that led me to work well into overtime. My friend Nicole, who now works at one of the best PR/Ad/Marketing/Design agencies in the St. Pete and Tampa Bay area, had the right idea when she said to know when to draw the line. She said, “My first job out of college threw boundaries out the window. I would get texts from my boss at 11:00 pm or even 6:00 am demanding to know what the status of project XYZ was. After only two months I was sick with anxiety and depression. I walked away two months later (having only been there a total of four months) knowing that wasn’t the life I wanted for myself. I very strongly believe that once it starts affecting your health, you have to leave. End of story.
Now, Im lucky enough to have a job with an incredible team that has only ever supported me and helped me to grow in my position. I would never have ended up at Hype Group if I hadn’t stood up for myself and left my first job. Drawing that line in the sand can be terrifying, but a wise person once told me that sometimes you have to go through the fire to be truly prepared for what lies ahead. I can handle (almost) anything my job throws at me now. So speak up, ladies. Don’t shy away from hard work, but draw that line when you know it’s being pushed too far.”
3. Plan for all aspects of your life.
When I had my retail job, I felt like all I would do is work and sleep and eat and repeat. I had a crazy retail schedule and I felt like I could never see my friends. Then, my friend Meredith suggested that I actually schedule out times to see friends. With my work schedule, I would usually have time in the mornings, and so why waste that time? I began scheduling time to grab coffee with friends instead of sleeping the morning away. What a difference! Meredith, who is an Admissions Counselor for a private college in Florida, said, “A big part of finding balance is scheduling fun time, in the same way I block out time for a meeting or work event. If I have friend dates and family time to look forward to, I have added incentive to get through my errands and chores (and my work day)!”
4. Know yourself and your limits.
When asking my best friend’s mother, Sue, how she stays successful at work and also balances her home life, she said, “Knowing my limitations and how to work with them.” I loved this advice because usually you hear people say, “The sky is the limit!” But realistically, everyone has their limits, its is how you handle them that makes the difference.
5. Know that it’s okay to make mistakes.
Sue also said her success was defined by “Making mistakes and learning from them.” Sue said, “In my early twenties I was successful because I had to be. I was independent, living by myself, working two jobs and trying to make my way in this world. I went through a few relationships that were not good choices for me until I found the right guy. Success in those days was making mistakes, picking myself up and keep moving forward until I got it right. It was probably the hardest time in my life. Living from paycheck to paycheck relying on only myself and my abilities. However it gave me a great foundation for the years to come.”
6. Work hard for the things that matter.
I think it is really important to identify what the most important parts of your life are. Then, you can really structure your work, and free time around that. Sue said, “Marriage, a child and a career is the biggest balancing act women are faced with. Each one is a full time job within itself. I put so much time and energy into parenting and my career I did not have much energy left for my marriage. There are times you don’t realize that you are unsuccessful in something until it is too late. This was almost the case here. I found myself faced with an area that was going to require time and energy. Time and energy I didn’t have. But I dug deep and found it. It was hard work. I went from a balancing act to a juggling act. How did I do it? I’m not sure, but I did. My marriage survived and now 30+ years later I would have to call it a success.”
It is so important to give time to the things that matter in your life. Working hard at your career seems obvious, but don’t forget to work hard on your relationships too. In the end your relationships with others are so much more important.
7. Leave work at work and home at home
When asking my own mother about how she keeps a successful work-life balance, she simply said, “Leave work at work and home at home.” Which I thought was interesting, because that getting increasingly harder with modern technology. When I wake up in the morning, I check my emails, and I check my social media campaigns to make sure nothing went haywire while I was asleep. Its a habit, and I would like to think of it as a good one.
I really thought on it, and I think that the term “Leave work at work and home at home,” doesn’t have to be so literal. I am perfectly fine with making sure everything in my work world is running smoothly when I am “off the clock,” but I have to draw the line somewhere. When I am out with friends, or spending time with Jason, or my family, I shouldn’t be checking my work emails, or checking up on the latest advertising campaign. We have to switch off sometimes, we have to absorb our “out of work” world to the fullest potential. You should put just as much effort into enjoying your relationships and home life, as you do enjoying your work.
I think that is how you find balance?
I don’t know, I am still working on it 😉
All for now,
As you all probably know, I proudly identify myself as a feminist. A feminist is simply someone who believes that men and women should have equal opportunities and rights. (No fluff or politics added.)
The idea of taking a man’s last name when you get married has lived as a tradition within the patriarchy for quite some time. When you dig into the history of why women take a man’s last name.. it is anything but feminist. Historically, a woman would take a man’s last name because women were thought of as a man’s property. (Which I am definitely not a fan of…) When looking at the subject from the perspective of the church, a woman would take a man’s last name because when you marry, you become one. (And I am not in the business of loosing my individuality.)
Marriage certainly does not represent the ideas of property and loss of self today, but we still have the tradition lingering around. So the question is…what does it represent today?
Many feminists would probably question why I would want to take the Blount name and give up Faulconer for good… but to be blount… becoming a Blount is so meaningful to me. 😉
I don’t want to change my last name because I have conservative, traditional, or religious reasoning. Jason has told me on numerous occasions that he doesn’t care what I choose to do, so his feelings don’t weigh in…. but I will most definitely be becoming a Blount.
I am choosing to become a Blount because:
1. We are not becoming one, but we are becoming a team.
“We are a team,” is something that I say to Jason often. He and I are both pretty stubborn people, and don’t like to ask for help. However, life isn’t always easy, and sometimes you just need to ask. It is reassuring to remember that both of us are both working towards a common goal, and we are there to lift each other up. When we get married, we don’t plan on us mushing into one. We fell in love with the separate people that we are, and that will not change. I will stay Megan, and Jason will stay Jason. But, we are both on the same team, and now we are making it official.
2. I do not feel dominated by my man.
I do not ever ever feel as though Jason tries to show dominance over me. Jason is my perfectly balanced counterpart and treats me as an equal person. If I did feel threatened, or feel like I was being diminished, I might put up a fight to keep my identity as a Faulconer. However, I don’t have any kind of insecurity about my relationship with Jason. I certainly don’t feel like I am going to be any less equal if I change my last name to Blount. We are a team, we balance each other, and…
3. We are becoming a family.
The most important part of my marriage to Jason is that he is becoming my family. We will be The Blounts, and our children will take our name. I don’t look at it as taking his last name, I look at it as Blount becoming our family name. Honestly, if I had some sort of attachment to my last name, I might consider asking Jason to take my last name, but I like the sound of Blount better! (And that’s perfectly fine!)
Ultimately, changing your name is an extremely personal decision. I don’t think it should be determined by societal pressures from either side of the fence. I don’t need to keep my maiden name to keep my individuality, and I don’t need my last name to feel equal to Jason. I also don’t need to change my last name because of tradition, or because it is what I am “supposed” to do.
I am changing my last name to Blount because it makes sense for both Jason and I. Jason is my home, and my family, and we are both so happy to commit our lives to each other.
Let’s Be Blount.
When I talk about meditating, I usually get one of two reactions. The first being a weird look, and an eye roll, or the second reaction of curiosity and confusion.
Listen folks, meditating is not always sitting in a seated position with your fingers making a circle at your knees. It is not always magical and spiritual, and full of insight. It is not always chanting OM loudly with crystal bowl music behind you. It is actually not as mysterious as it sounds.
Meditation is different for everyone. Sometimes it takes time to figure out what works for you, and that is ever-evolving. Something that worked for me two months ago might not be applicable to me today. Recently, the only time I have been finding to meditate is right before bed. (Yes, sometimes I catch myself falling asleep, whoops!) So, I typically lay down with palms up with a guided meditation in the background. See, Jason on the other hand, he gets freaked out by guided meditation (don’t ask me why) so he does better in silence or with gentle music in the background.
You have to find what works for you. If I have time, I love to do chakra balancing meditations with a guide. (PS- there are great guided meditations on the Podcasts app!) But realistically, I don’t have time to do a full-blown guided meditation every day, or every week even. I do, however, try to make it a point to meditate every day. Think you don’t have time for that? That is EXACTLY why you need it. Ease yourself into it… You can “meditate” while you shower, while you drink your morning coffee, before you fall asleep. Ideally you would be sitting still, and resting your body. I realize that sometimes life doesn’t hand you the time to zone out for an extended period 0f time, but you truly owe yourself 10 minutes a day. Work with what you have.
So wait, how do you do it?
Again, there are multiple kinds of meditation, but this is how I like to do it:
– Lay or sit in a comfortable position
– Make sure your phone is on silent, but play some tranquil music in the background.
– Gently scan your body to see how you are feeling
– Focus on your breath. Feel your lungs fill up with air, and then empty again. Listen to the rhythm of your body.
– Keep in mind that meditation is not the absence of thought, but simply learning to let your thoughts come and go with ease. You are bound to think of something while you sit there in silence, but meditation is learning to let go.
– When you find yourself too deep in thought, focus on your breath. This will help your mind relax a little.
– Another way to stay relaxed and keep your mind off things is by “shutting down” each part of your body. Start with your toes, feet, ankles, legs, and move your way up to total relaxation. (Although I will warn you, this usually puts me right to sleep!)
So meditating isn’t this big weird mystery. It is just being still and quiet to let your body, mind, and spirit connect.
Meditating is checking in with every aspect of your being to make sure you are on the right track, to ask yourself if you are acting like the person you want to be.