Every year a number of Boston Financial associates attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women. Being the largest conference of its kind in the country, the event hosts a number of prestigious speakers and packs a full agenda of educational break-out sessions.
This is the second in a series of blog posts recapping the experiences our associates had at the event.
It may sound cliché, but when you attend a big event like the Massachusetts Conference for Women, there is something for everyone. The themes that emerge tend to echo the season of life you are in. Two years ago I attended the conference for the first time. I was in my first week at Boston Financial and trying to prove myself in a newly created role of social media community manager. That year the conference fueled my desire to drive organizational change and elevated my knowledge of how to effectively communicate in the workplace.
This year, as a new mom trying to figure out how to integrate my family with my career, the event spoke to me in a different way. I was drawn to a session called Strategies for Success in a Lean-In World. Working at Boston Financial, I am surrounded by working moms every day. (In fact, 60% of Boston Financial’s employees are women.) After listening to five high-powered panelists who have quite literally done it all in their professional and personal lives, I figured I would share the following well-tested advice with all the women from whom I have learned so much…
Keep your top five priorities in check. Your career is only so many hours of your life. Make a list of the five things that are most important to you. Those are the five things your time should be distributed between. If something comes up that falls outside of your top five, it might not be worth your time. Everyone on the panel had happiness at home at the top of their priority list.
Rely on your support system. I am not someone who likes to ask for help, but even Hillary Clinton, the most prominent conference keynote speaker, said one cannot succeed without a reliable support system. Whether it is family, friends, colleagues, or outside help, you need a team; people who help you daily and people you can call in a pinch.
Your life is not one chapter. It is a long novel. You can have it all, but maybe not all at once. What chapter are you in now and what chapter comes next? You need to be self-aware enough to know where you are, and honest and clear enough to know where you want to be in the future.
“There is a time to lean in and a time to ask others to lean in.” In her book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg urges women to set boundaries and abandon the myth of “having it all”. However, it isn’t that simple. Leaning in may be part of the answer, but it isn’t the whole answer to a fulfilling life. Though your priorities may not change, you may lean in to different priorities during each chapters of life.
After months of wondering if I really could make it all work, this year’s conference reignited my passion for my career and reminded me that I am not alone in the quest for work-life integration. With the strategies for success I took from the session and a supportive workplace like Boston Financial, I feel more confident than ever in my ability to thrive both professionally and personally.