I’m often asked, “Laura, how did you manage to build a professional career, raise 4 successful children, volunteer in your community and contribute to a successful family business?” I think they are looking for that silver bullet that they can copy!
The silver bullet is grit, perseverance, and focusing on what matters. Accept that there are many different ways to achieve the personal, family and career goals. In a family, talking about your family’s purpose helps all family members align personal, family, career and business activities.
We wear many hats and perform many roles in our lives. What I find useful is to focus on the few roles I am performing in the moment rather than trying to keep all the hats on at once – or feeling guilty if I am not performing one or more roles all the time.Focus on what matters to you, your family, your career, your business rather than getting caught up in all the activity that really doesn’t impact the big picture.
The best strategy for me was to let go of areas I thought I needed to control. This is harder to do than you might think. To get better at it, I had to practice. Practice also means I wasn’t 100% successful all the time. I admit, I had setbacks along the way (and still do). Reflecting on my habits helped me identify more opportunities to let go and new strategies to try.
It’s only by practicing this habit that you get good at it. Accepting that there are multiple ways to achieve an end goes a long way to reducing time spent debating and arguing about insignificant topics or in re-work. Accept help and let go of the need to control HOW the help executes on the task as long as the end goal is being achieved. I’m not saying there may be instances where HOW an activity is executed is very important. In those situations where the HOW matters, provide the support and resources so it can be completed according to the approved method.
Strategies to Let Go
I have little conversations with myself about “Why does this matter to me? What’s the downside if X is done differently or not at all? Is this time sensitive? Can it wait? Are there advantages of trying a new way? Will this approach be a learning opportunity for me? For others? Do I need to learn more about this new idea / approach? Am I an authority on this or basing my opinion on past practice or upbringing? Will this create better engagement of others in the outcome? Is this an opportunity to collaborate and achieve more?” I think you get the idea.