QBalancing your career and an active social/cultural/travel life

answered January 12th, 2010 by Colleen Moorehead

“How do you decide between immersing yourself in your career and balancing it with an active social/cultural/travel life?”

I think I have different answers to this question that applied at various times in my working career.

I have and do regularly deeply immerse myself in work because that is just the way I work… but I truly believe that we mammals are always required to surface to breathe. My immersion periods can be 2 weeks to 5 years in duration and they look different each time. 

I can remember when my youngest was born, I went immediately from delivery to prospectus drafting.   Eight months later with a successful IPO behind me, I took July off and hung with the kids at the lake.

At times in my career, I balanced between kids and work and that was clearly all the time I had and I still felt like I was compromising.  BK (Before Kids) my husband and I had some great trips I just loved and I look forward to more exotic trips as my children grow older and less dependent.  I didn’t start to run until my youngest was four because in the early years, my activities were work and kids. Once I ran, I found it was such a great mental release I couldn’t give it up. I fit in the training time for a marathon when I had no time and this was quite different from training for a half marathon or my current recreational running.

Over time, I have had room to add fitness, philanthropic interests, some travel and other passions. I have never successfully done all of them at the exact same time or at the same level or with the passion I would prefer to.  I have learned to take comfort from enjoying things when I can and to be realistic about what “thing” needs me the most. Sometimes it is work, family, a community commitment or maybe even perish the thought, my own sanity!

I believe that intrinsically, I make good decisions about what is important and what is my proper blend of stuff.

If I was giving advice, I’d say that the critical thing is to have enough ego to view your needs to be as important as those of everybody else you support including your organizations.

It is also important to occasionally look in the rear view mirror and ask yourself if you are making good choices in an uncritical, reflective way. It provides you with an opportunity to self correct. Time passes and we don’t get to play life over.  We need to feel fulfilled, make a contribution and have fun!

Thanks for asking my opinion!

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