My granddaughter lives in Florida, is passionate about Disney World, and visits there often because, as she puts it, "That's where the real princesses live." Her favorite is Princess Belle because her name is Lilah Belle and the two of them have talked about having the same name.
Every young girl dreams about being a princess and living happily ever after. Anne Sweeney, cochair of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC Television Group, is the princess running a $19 billion media kingdom who has discovered that "happy ever after" doesn't equal work/life balance.
Sweeney knows that, if you let it, work can be all consuming. "I do have a hard time around my family," says Sweeney, who avoids morning meetings and tries to leave the office by 6 PM. "For a lot of years, I read every article about time management...I think when I finally gave up on the idea of balance, it was a really happy moment. You can drown in to-do lists. Or you can have a happy, messy life. Which I do."
Work/Life Integration (not balance)
Today’s women are better educated than ever before. They have accumulated a wealth of skills, have learned to be adaptable, and have been told that they can do anything they want to do. The upside is that they have become independent, self-sufficient, and confident of their abilities. The downside is that they will readily admit they have not found the enjoyment or satisfaction they once imagined. The reason they attribute to the problem is that they have taken on too much. These days, most women dance to a frenzied beat, believing just because they can, they think they should. We were taught if we were capable of doing something it shouldn’t be necessary to hire it out or look for help.
This has led women to become frustrated by experiencing long days and a never-ending “To Do” list. All too often, businesswomen don’t give themselves a break. In an effort to squeeze even more into their nightmarish schedules, they make choices that actually undermine their health, their family life, their careers, and important relationships.
Both society and individuals struggle with countless expectations, too much to do in too little time, and the fact that they receive little of the support or recognition they want—and deserve.
Men with little insight into—or appreciation for—a woman’s unique predicaments, biology, and socialization patterns have attributed her problem as one of time management! They then have proceeded to write a number of articles and books suggesting how she “fix” her problem. However, their suggestions are based on what works for men—and those suggestions are largely unhelpful for women. Besides, having read many of these self-help books, it’s clear that the male authors have been fortunate enough to have had at least one woman doing a considerable amount of work for them; otherwise they couldn’t possibly fulfill all their goals and expectations on their own.
In examining this dilemma with a succession of clients, we realized that women do not automatically experience the same professional issues that men routinely face. Instead, they struggle to be all things to all people— and along the way they neglect themselves and their own priorities.
As executive and business coaches, we began our own journey to investigate the factors that are causing all the strain, stress, and frustration among generations of very bright and articulate women. What we discovered serves as the backbone for the book, "When Doing It All Won't Do: A Self-Coaching Guide for Career Women," and for the solutions, strategies, and essential tools we outline in the book. Our goal is to help women make their lives easier, richer, happier, and saner.
This book is dedicated to all those hardworking women everywhere who are willing to embrace liberating change. Believe that your situation can change and you are halfway down the road to making significant changes. Know that change always comes bearing unexpected gifts. Change starts with the right attitude and the motivation to reclaim your time and your life!
Sources: MORE magazine, December 2012/January 2013
When Doing It All Won't Do: A Self-Coaching Guide for Career Women (ebook $9.99 and Paperback Workbook Edition $14.99)
Women and Time (ebook $0.99 and paperback $9.99)