As Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for Freddie Mac, I know all too well the challenge of trying to find the right balance between your career and personal life. As women, many of us also have the added pressure of feeling guilty that we are focusing too much on advancing our careers, and not spending enough time on our responsibilities as wives and mothers.
Having that balance starts with knowing what is truly important in your life. I have found that doing the things that support my wellbeing, like spending quality time with family and friends, being active in my church, and serving others, has helped me to be more successful in my career. It also helps that my chosen career is something I am very passionate about. While it can be challenging at times, I am invigorated by speaking at diversity events, sharing best practices, educating people on the importance of fairness and inclusion in the workplace, and teaching them to look at things from a different perspective.
My advice to any professional is to first define what balance really means to you. Each individual’s road to success is paved by what is uniquely important to him or her. Once that has been defined, you can begin to create your foundation because we will all need help and support from our loved ones. As soon as I admitted that to myself, I easily found the support I needed at home, and at work, to ensure I was able to deliver on the things that meant the most to me.
It is also important to realize, for women especially, that you can have it all, just not all at the same time. You can move up in your careers and still focus on your family. There may be times when you need to make lateral career moves to have more time at home, but you can still gain new skills and experiences. Once your personal circumstances change, you will be equipped to focus on that next move on your career ladder.
We are all striving for the same things, doing well at work while doing right by others and ourselves. It’s not always an easy task, but you can learn to strike the right balance by pursuing what is most important to you as a person.