OK, this is the deal.
Your time is a scarce resource. How you allocate it is central to how successful your career will be. If you take on board all the other things that you need to do in order to build a successful career — including the right skills and experience, the right network, the financial understanding that I endorse – it is pretty unlikely that you are going to have time for much else.
I am often asked if I am happy. I find this a strange question.
Happy at that precise moment? Happy in general?
I personally believe that happiness is the wrong measure of success. I think that if we strive for happiness as a goal in its own right, we will always be unhappy. In my experience, it is simply not possible to be happy all of the time.
If what you are expecting is continual happiness, which is not achievable, then by definition you will always be unhappy. If you aim for the impossible, you will always be disappointed. In trying to have it all, you are almost certainly making sure that you will fail.
Back in 2007, Carol Bartz, former CEO of Yahoo!, was the CEO of Autodesk . This is what she said about trying to have it all — or, at least, trying to achieve the kind of ‘work–life’ balance women often think should be their goal:
Where I disagree with the concept of balance is, balance in itself connotes perfection which means that every day, I have to be a very great CEO, a great mom, a great public citizen. I should do some volunteer work, and I should call all my friends. And should call my grandmother. Maybe I should bake some cookies. So, every day I should be perfect at all of these things. That doesn’t work. That puts too much strain on all of us.
I think it would be a good idea if we all stopped thinking of trying to achieve ‘work–life’ balance. That implies that work is not life, whereas it is part of most people’s lives. I prefer people to think about ‘life balance.’
I believe that if women know what their priorities are, and spend their time in line with those priorities, they will achieve their goals — including their career goals — much more easily.
Excerpted from "Sharpen Your Heels" by Mrs. Moneypenny by arrangement with Portfolio Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright © 2012.
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