Striking a Balance by Jamie Martin
Webster’s dictionary would define balance as “a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.” But I stumbled upon this definition: “Keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fail.” Wow! That’s powerful. Both these definitions encompass what the Board hopes to achieve for ourselves and for you this year. We hope to foster an environment for you to achieve your goals in all walks of your life. This is not to say we have figured out the answer to all of our “balance” issues. However, we aspire to achieve balance for ourselves and within the League, as well as set you up for success both in your League role and in life.
So how do we find balance? I don’t have a magic wand, but these are the things that help me keep balance and not totally lose my marbles. I suggest the following: organize, prioritize, delegate and communicate, stay positive and assume the best, be present, evaluate and take time to refresh. Now, let’s dive deeper.
- Organize: With four kids, a husband, a full-time job and a desire to serve the community, my household is nonstop. I’m sure yours is the same. I could not survive without my planner and lists. Write down what you need to accomplish. Make lists before you go shopping. Form and distribute an agenda before you lead a meeting. Being organized will actually save you time. So, take time to do it.
- Prioritize: After you write your lists, go back and think about what you really need to do. Can the toilets wait a couple more days to be scrubbed? Do you really have to run to Starbucks to get treats for your kids or would they prefer you take that same 15 minutes to go for a walk with them and talk about their day? Think about what really needs to happen today. Do those things. The rest can wait until tomorrow.
- Delegate and Communicate: Ask yourself if the task on your lists has to be done by YOU. For years, I have cleaned my house once a week – regardless if it needed When I went back to work, that was a major stress. I didn’t feel like I could financially hire someone to do the job for me (like I wanted it to be done), so I turned to my kids. We created a chore chart, reward system and bam! The house is clean within one hour each week and we all live to talk about it! Let’s look at a different example. In writing this article , the lead editor kindly contacted me two weeks in advance and gave me a lovely reminder a couple of days before the deadline. I was swamped with work and needed to protect my time with my family. What did I do? I asked for an extension. Better to communicate in advance that you are going to be late or are having a hard time with an assignment than to simply not do the task out of shame or embarrassment. Communication can buy you time and forge stronger relationships with team members.
- Stay Positive and assume the best in others: When life gets overwhelming, it’s so very tempting to just break down in a hot mess feel sorry for ourselves. Instead, as cliché’ as it sounds, stay positive. Take a deep breath; take a ten minute walk to clear your head; talk it out for a few minutes with a loved one or good friend. Often, they can offer perspective and help you accomplish your “to do” list. For me, anytime I start to get negative about myself or situation, I also start thinking negatively about others and that leads to destructive and unproductive habits. Try to stay clear of these pitfalls. It will save you time and help you keep balance.
- Be Present: WARNING: This is the hardest one! At least for me. After you’ve organized, prioritized, delegated and communicated, be present wherever you are. For me, that means not thinking about emails to send or locker notes to post when a student comes in to talk about her college essays. It means really listening to one of my girls about their day and not frantically answering emails or texts from my phone. Oh, the STRUGGLE! We’ve been made to believe we are superwoman if we can multi-task. But really, we get more accomplished and build stronger relationships when we remain present wherever we are.
- Evaluate: Want to know if you are achieving balance? Evaluate your values. I need to know that I am connected spiritually; that my husband knows I love and appreciate him; that my children feel loved, listened to, and provided for; that my body and psyche feel good from exercise and balanced eating; and that I am truly contributing to the world around me. Evaluate often your core values to ensure you are “striking the balance” you desire.
- Take time to refresh: Our bodies are not created to constantly be on the go. We need time to take a break, rest, SLEEP and refresh. That looks different for each of us. The point is we must refresh if we want to do quality work in each of our core values.
Have an idea for how the League can maintain balance and/or help its members to strike balance? Please email Jamie Martin.
IN THE COMMUNITY
Making an Impact After Hurricane Matthew: Gift Card Donations
Thousands of people across our state have felt a tremendous impact from the effects of Hurricane Matthew. Many of us are from these towns or have loved ones and friends in these areas that were hit the hardest. We have heard firsthand the challenges these people are facing and will continue to endure in the months ahead.
We, as a League, have a great opportunity to pull together and support these areas through various relief efforts. What an opportunity we have to impact our state by supporting those who need it the most!
How can you help now?
Gift Cards Donations – We are collecting gift cards to Target and Walmart in five dollar increments to distribute to impacted areas. Drop off gift cards with a staff member at the Julia Jones Daniels Center for Community Leadership. Gift cards will be sent to the Junior Women’s Association of Greenville, NC and Junior League of Fayetteville every Friday starting October 21. These groups will distribute them to hurricane victims in their areas.
We will also be rolling out several other ways that we can participate in relief efforts. Stay tuned for more information in the coming days.
SUSTAINERS: THINGS TO REMEMBER
From the Member page, go to Resources, then Sustainer Resources or view your Sustainer Calendar here.
Community Service Opportunities
From the Member page, go to Resources, then Sustainer Resources or view your Community Service Opportunities here.