Being me

12 03 2008

I attend a lunch talk yesterday, in celebration of International Women’s Day. The forum was about Achieving Balance, Fuelling growth.

There were 4 speakers, female leaders in their own right, senior leaders in the corporate organisation, a MP and the boss of an executive search firm. The topics touched on women being catalysts of change, finding a balance between choices and how women can climb the career ladder.

The session that strike me the most was on finding a balance between choices. The speaker was sharing her story, about how she almost wanted to quit her job because she felt guilty for not being there with her young children due to work commitments. To her surprise, her family all discouraged her to do that because they could see that she was enjoying what she does at work.

I went through a similar dilemma before. It was definitely not like I was at the peak of my career, a top honcho in an organisation, but I felt the guilt of not being with the kids when I was travelling initially in my new role. Thankfully it was just a short period of time, and I had the support from my husband and family.

Society norms often see the female as the nurturer, the caregiver for the family. Now this definition and stereotype has proven that it’s not about gender, it’s about what this individual is about. Men – breadwinner, Women – caregiver? Many women end up striving to be this super-woman: mum, wife, career woman etc. All of us, men included, face stereotypes but do those social norms matter at the end? 

There are reasons why these women are leaders in the corporate world. They love what they do, and they made one point clear:  we have to define our priorities in life. What matters to one person may not be important to another person. In our own ways, we are leaders of our life, and we find our niche in this society. When we are happy within, it shows and it’s absolutely impossible to please everyone.

Not everyone wants to be up there in the corporate world. Many that I know want a stable job, time for family and personal pursuits. When you want more, you do more, and it requires a delicate balancing act. These women at the top work their way there, using their own talent, experiences, and certainly some level of sacrifices to get to where they are, but the end result that is important: to be happy.

To be happy with what you do, who you are. It’s a simple philosophy, many of us want to be happy but aren’t sure WHAT makes us happy. So we struggle through life, finding that what others prescribed as success may mean nothing for us.

My takeaway from that session: I’m happy where I am, who I am. I am good now.

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