By Hanan Awaad
“How do you do it?”, This is how the young woman asked me when we sat down to discuss her proposal to collaborate. I answered: “You are so busy yourself!”She continued, “But you are a consultant, you run several businesses and organizations, you write, you host a radio show and a YouTube channel, you edit a magazine, you facilitate workshops, and you are a wife and a mom … but I do only two things, my fulltime job and my new social enterprise.”
I have been a career woman and a business mom for quite some time, almost two decades and throughout the years I have learned seven lessons that I shared with my new friend and would like to share with you as well.
YOUR LIFE EVOLVES … CONSTANTLY
The only constant in life is CHANGE; this is what I heard my professor in the faculty of engineering says over and over. Whether you want it or not, changes will happen. Changes in your body, your personality, your lifestyle, your physical environment, to everything and every aspect of your life. Only when you accept that change is a must, you can start managing and mastering it.
YOU ARE AS STRONG AS YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM
Many women claim that they are strong and, can multitask efficiently (or this is what we think), and they built themselves without the help of anyone. In fact, throughout my life and the experiences of other career women around me, I realized that no one can succeed without the support of others. Think of that interviewer who gave you a chance and gave you the job, the encouraging words of your friends, that meeting with an older lady who gave you the best advice you have ever had, the friend who agreed to babysit your child while you are busy working, and so on. We all need a robust support system around us.
A robust support system means that you have the strong foundation in your life so you can build, grow and eventually succeed. But the question is” what is your support system?”
The support system is all the aspects and resources of your life that can support you in your journey and help you achieve your goals. So, ask yourself “who are the people in my life that I can depend on?” ,”who can help me?” “who can guide me?”. Take the babysitter, for example, she is an integral part of the support system of many career moms as she takes care of the kids while the mom is busy doing another task.
Not just your babysitter but also your mentor, your husband … just name any person in your life who can give you something, provide you with something that can help you focus on the crucial areas in your life …. those are your support system.
Your support system is not limited to people. It also includes your car, your home, and anything you own. I always advise people around me to take care of their possessions; not because we are greedy and materialistic, but because these things are part of our support system. So, if you don’t care for your car, it will eventually break down and won’t support you to go to places. If you don’t care, for example, of your furniture, your clothes, your phone, your laptop, you will have to replace these things to live a comfortable life. So take care of the physical stuff that you have in your life as they are part of your support system. I addition to people and possessions, your education, your skills and your qualifications are considered main elements in your support system. So basically we can define your support system as “everything in your life that can help you achieve your goal.”
I learned that in order to be a successful career woman, a successful mom, a successful partner and a successful spouse, you need to create a reliable support system around you.
YOUR VALUE IS DETERMINED BY THE PROBLEMS YOU SOLVE NOT THE PROBLEM YOU CREATE
You need to be a problem solver, so find solutions to the challenges and the issues that you face in life. Help others solve their problems. If you are in business, ask yourself: “what can I offer that solve my customer problem?”, If you are a mother, ask yourself: “what can I offer to my kids to be happy and prosperous? Remember the more you hone your skills as a problems solver, the more your value will increase
YOUR EFFICIENCY DEPENDS ON YOUR ABILITY TO LEARN
Although we always strive to be efficient and effective and productive, to do so many things in the shortest possible time with the highest possible quality standards, we forget that in order to be productive we have to become lifelong learners. Not only to be lifelong learners, but also good learners and good students. Good learners learn by observing what’s happening around them, they learn by reading books and applying the knowledge and the wisdom that they extract from books and their own experience and the experiences of others.
Once you elevate your learning skills, you will find that it takes less time to achieve your goals. You will find shortcuts to manage priorities in your life. In a nutshell, you will be efficient.
YOUR REACH IN LIFE IS AS HIGH AS YOUR VISION
As a career woman I always have a vision; a long-term goal that I want to attain. The higher my goal is, the more persistent I become, and I work harder to find ways to get through challenges. So dream big, don’t dream small. Dream big, but act small. That means you need put a long-term vision but focus on the details of the present and the steps you take one step at a time.
YOUR SUCCESS DEPENDS ON YOUR FOCUS
The moment you lose focus, you will get lost and will spread yourself too thin. Your success depends on focusing and eliminating all these unnecessary noise and distractions in your life. So try to find out the one big dream that I mentioned earlier and keep your eye on it while ignoring all the noise.
YOUR ENERGY IS DETERMINED BY YOUR LIFESTYLE
Having enough energy is crucial to your success. You need energy to accomplish your goals. The level of your energy is determined by your lifestyle. If you didn’t care about your health, your food, your movement, managing stress, getting rid of toxic people around you, preventing yourself of becoming energy vampire to others, you would deteriorate your energy.
So, to be energetic, you need to assess your lifestyle and make those small changes that can revamp your lifestyle. Once your lifestyle is changed, you will have enough energy to care for the people around you and to achieve your goals.
Those were my seven lessons that I have learned throughout my career and my life path until now. Write me down in the comment section if you learned other things that we can share, and we can learn from each other.