How To Define Your Destiny – Choices vs Change

I spoke about balance on Friday and it reminded me of a conversation I had with a group of amazing women in Phoenix AZ. All mothers, mostly married, all good friends who had stayed together through highs,  lows, kids and careers that took from the White House to Microsoft. Their insight on the choices they have made in integrating career and family is really about making choices and strategies for being in charge of what you want – great advice for anyone managing working, living and loving. It’s easy to fear change — the unknown– but if you build in choices to your “plans” you can stay true to your path.


“You can have choices. You can make your own choices. Don’t just take what’s given to you. You have the power to define what you want and ask for it. Don’t take the first thing that’s given to you.“


“When I worked at Microsoft, they used to say you have to be your own CEO. You have to be unafraid to ask for things. That’s exactly what we’re talking about. Don’t just accept what’s given to you. Don’t be afraid to say, “This is what I need.”


“Have a plan.  Figure out what you want to ask for from your employer. Don’t just go in and say, ‘I can’t do this. I can’t do that.’ Go in and say, ‘I want to work part time. And guess what, I found this woman to job share with me. She’s a rock star and here’s the deal: You lose us both if you don’t agree to this. You don’t want to lose us both. Here’s what we deliver for you.’

People may think you’re just lucky because you can stay home or you have a  job that is flexible enough for you to do both But I think you can be in charge of your destiny. Don’t accept that you have to work 12 hours a day and not be home at night. I was able to manage a path that would allow me to be the mother I needed to be and have the career I wanted to have. But I had to ask for it and I had to define it. And it is not that I am not working. I worked my entire life, I have two kids, and I am still working. I just don’t work in 12 hour block.  I work from home.” [for last six years].


“You can’t fear change. You have to open your mind up to “what is the best for me and my family right now?”.  You have to look at all of the obstacles in front of you…a bad economy, a job that doesn’t offer flexibility, the need to pay the bills, your desire to work vs. be there when kids get home from school  —  look at everything. But then you have to be really smart and know that things change. I always knew what I wanted to do. When I got married, I knew that I wanted to continue to work. I knew that my career was something I wanted to invest in. Now, if I had to redo it, I would step back and say, “You cannot underestimate the power of what kids do to you. Building the ability to have choices into your strategy, doesn’t mean you foreclose one over the other, but you position yourself for choice.”





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