I’ve been contemplating something for quite some time now. I keep getting these flashes of clarity that have grown into statements of, “what are you going to do about it Natasha?” I’ve always thought that I could have it all in life–personally, professionally, and more. The reality is, even if I could have it all (which I now seriously doubt), I would probably live a shortened life due to the mounting stress that would ultimately beat me down. Which means, that in the end, I still wouldn’t have it all. I’m not complaining, just stating the obvious.
What I’m seeing now in my 40s is that I want to have a career that I’m proud of, a strong family bond, genuine friends I can count on (and vice versa), and a legacy built on service of others. That sounds pretty simple, but for some twisted reason I chose to complicate it by saying to myself, “Natasha you can be a successful college professor at two or even three campuses, entrepreneur with more than one company, an attentive wife (to an extremely busy, high-maintenance man) and mother (speaking in the future tense), deeply connected with my immediate and extended families, a fun and supportive friend, actively engaged in communities around the world, and a dabbling blogger“. To do all of this, I’ve been investing on average 90-hours per week towards my professional endeavors and then sandwiching the remaining hours in a week with all-things-personal. It’s exhausting and pretty moronic!
After reading Anne-Marie Slaughter’s book, Unfinished Business, I couldn’t help but sit and ponder why it’s taken me this long to stop my self-created madness. Is it my competitive nature? Is it my “I won’t be limited by my gender” mindset? Is it my “don’t tell me what I can’t do” stance? Am I simply stubborn?
Well of course I am. Yes. Yes. Yes. I’m also also fairly competitive, will always strive to prove someone wrong when they bet against me, and I don’t like being placed in gender, racial, or any other ‘box’. My dad also planted an entrepreneurial seed in my mind that had layering support from entrepreneurial grandparents. I mean, did you read my blog post last week? I’ve been bred to work like a maniac!
But what’s my “deal”, really?
Honestly, I’ve gone down a rabbit hole and although it’s pretty cool at times, what I really need right now is to reimagine my life. As I stated in yesterday’s post, I want to “work hard, play hard, and enjoy every millisecond that I have on this planet…now…”
On my Natasha Foreman Bryant site I decided to make some changes to reflect my reimagined self. I used to have a”90+ Hours” page where you could read about how I invest my time professionally, but with my desire for more balance and less chaos, I’m committed to reducing those 90+ hours to something that resembles sanity, at least for me. So I changed that page title to “My Professional World”. It reflects the same content and commitments, but a different mindset and approach.
I’m not giving up or dropping a thing (at least not right now), I’m just committed to thinking and working smarter–that common sense thing many of us forget about. By delegating more and empowering more of my team members, and through consciously focusing on being more efficient, effective, and efficacious–I know that I can significantly reduce those 90+ hours (and maintain that steady ship).
Life shouldn’t just be about our resume, and we sprinkle in some “me time”. Our funeral shouldn’t just have coworkers and a few family members present. Our eulogy shouldn’t look cookie-cutter, like our names and key details were simply swapped out with some other crazed workaholic’s information.
If God wanted me to spend my life alone then He could’ve birthed me without parents, and limited my contact with other humans. He’s more than capable of that feat, don’t you think? Instead, He’s helped me to interweave hundreds of relationships with people who have touched and changed my life, and vice versa. If life has a great deal to do with relationships, then shouldn’t we be investing more time in those relationships? That’s kind of a “duh-rah” moment there, don’t you think?
So I’m officially releasing myself from these 90-plus-hour shackles. Yep, I might risk some great professional opportunities, but God has even better opportunities waiting for me in my personal life. I’m choosing to seize those opportunities and not take my last breath with any shoulda, woulda, coulda, what-in-the-hell’as. When I leave this level of existence, every person who has ever known me will say, “Natasha, now that woman right there, she truly lived a full and exciting life!”
Well folks, I’ve gotta go…I’ve got some real living to do!