Education

I Wanted Balance Between My Career and Personal Life. Now, I Sing A Different Tune.

Each year, I participate in the One Word challenge, which is a twist on making a New Year’s resolution. In the One Word challenge, you pick one word that will serve as your North Star throughout the year. The word I have chosen for 2022 is harmony. This word sums up a shift in my thinking from pre-pandemic to now.

Before the pandemic, I thought multitasking was crucial to my success in the many roles and labels I carry: mom, wife, leader, friend, daughter, sister, and many more. I had convinced myself that if I could make every birthday party, be on every committee, or even cook a hot meal daily, I would be winning in life. I was trying to make sure I didn’t let anyone down or drop the “red balls” that were in and out of my control. In turn, I sometimes came across as aloof, inattentive, and impatient while producing an insurmountable amount of unnecessary stress, self-doubt, and agony.

It wasn’t until I talked with my life coach that I had an “aha” moment. Coach Shaquan and I discussed how I was managing my catabolic and anabolic energy. Somehow, I mentioned the word balance, and we began digging into how that can carry catabolic energy. Admittedly, I didn’t buy into it at first. Balance had been a part of my way of being for years. I prided myself on rattling off the word balance anytime I participated in one of those core value activities, and now I was wrestling with the idea that balance wasn’t so good for me. My dependence on balance blinded me from the joy of being in harmony with my life, and I needed to learn to see my life as a choir and not Lady Liberty.

Operating in the space of harmony comes quite easily after living through the pandemic. The pandemic forced me to live in the moment and lean into the amazing people in my life, starting with my immediate family. I have reckoned with the notion that I am a good mother and wife, even if my family doesn’t eat a home-cooked meal every day or I’m not at every soccer game because of work. I’ve learned to lean into the expertise of my school team. My value as a leader is not contingent on me doing it all.

The pandemic has allowed me to be still and know that my role is situational at times. Sometimes I am the conductor and the composer. Other times I am just an alto singing in the choir, and I am okay with that. I no longer attach value to doing or controlling it all. I am learning to embrace my role in the moment and let the sweet melody of peace ring out.

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