Why Strong Women Don’t Juggle!
As women today, we have far more choice in all aspects of our lives: education, careers, business, relationships, and when/ if we have children. Choices, generally, that did not exist for women 40 years ago.
Yet recent research including that of Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers from the University of Pennsylvania (The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness) suggests that despite gaining more freedom, women across the globe have become less happy. Wolfers says of the data “We looked across all sectors — young vs. old, kids or no kids, married or not married, education, no education, working or not working — and it stayed the same.”
The notion of declining women’s happiness is currently a hotly debated, multifaceted topic, with no tidy explanation. Stevenson suggests that happiness is beside the point and comments that “We’re happy to have our newfound abundance of choices, even if those choices end up making us unhappier.”
Marcus Buckingham, Strengths guru and author of the newly released book “FIND YOUR STRONGEST LIFE: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently”, stated during a recent interview “Choice is inherently stressful, and women are being driven to distraction.”
With the smorgasbord of choices available to women, in business and in life, the possibilities are endless, but not all equal. Here are some simple steps I’ve collated from a range of experts to making choices that lead to more happiness and success:
1. Identify Your Strengths
Listen to what makes your heart sing, and cultivate it. Identify your strengths – those activities that energise, empower and motivate you. Make choices based on your strengths as these are the areas in which you will grow the most, achieve your best performance, and make your greatest contribution.
2. Catch & Cradle
Instead of “juggling” all your duties, responsibilities, tasks, & roles in life – Marcus Buckingham suggests you “catch and cradle” those activities and moments that you enjoy – that make you feel strong. This way, you get to hold on to them longer, and savour them – feeling more engaged with life. Buckingham goes on to suggest that you make choices which deliberately imbalance your life – to achieve greater success and happiness.
According to Joanna Brash, co-author of “How Remarkable Women Lead: The Breakthrough Model for Work & Life” successful female leaders are connected to other people. Whilst having a professional network is important, deeper relationships give them a feeling of belonging, whilst recognizing the role of the people around them both reinforces and accelerates their personal growth.
4. Focus on the Positives
Often we can paint a dire picture when things go pear shaped, however no situation is ever 100% good, or bad. Diagnose (and rectify) the problems, then actively chose to direct your focus toward the opportunities in every situation.
5. Build your Business on Something you Love
Building your business on something you love will set you up to work hard enough to make it successful advises Personal Branding Expert, Dan Schawbel. When making decisions about building a business “Think about what unique value you can offer the marketplace, how you’re going to deliver that value, and what support and resources you’ll need to pull it off.”
The five simple tips above will help you to find your way through the maze of choices, and carve out your own authentic path to happiness and success.