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The Frustrated Professional

by Wendie Blair

Are you frustrated with trying to balance everything around your professional development?

Let me just start by saying, you are not alone. Many who are trying to develop professionally find it very challenging to do so and still maintain “healthy” in every other aspect of their life. Juggling a healthy relationship/marriage, self-care, children, a home, etc. while also trying to focus on professional development can seem daunting. Meanwhile, you’re probably telling yourself that you don’t have a choice. You must go through professional development in order to either maintain everything else in your life, or, for every other aspect of your life to fall in line.

This is probably more common than you realize!

Most people believe that to have balance an equal amount of time and effort must be given to all primary categories of life (I.e. professional development, spouse/mate, children, self-care, etc.). Trying to create balance from this perspective will undoubtedly present frustration and challenges.

These categories do not hold the same weight, therefore should not be viewed from an equal stance. How to decide how much time and effort should be put into each category should be handled the same way organizing a list of goals is handled – by prioritizing.

Do you prioritize the main categories in your life? Better yet, how do you go about prioritizing the main categories in your life? Is professional development at the top of your list? If yes, is this by choice or circumstance? These are questions you need to ask yourself.

Now, before we go any further let’s be clear on the context in which the word “balance” is being used. Afterall, this is where most misdirection comes into play and why people automatically tend to think “equal distribution”. The word “balance” can be used in either noun form or as a verb. As a noun “equal distribution” is prominent. However, as a verb, value dictates weight rather than equal distribution. The most effective and efficient way to create and/or maintain balance within your professional and personal life is to utilize balance in its verb form. This allows you to focus on proper distribution vs. equal distribution.

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s move on.

Start by making a list of your top five primary categories. Put them in order of value. Be honest and reasonable. To be honest and reasonable when putting your list in order of value you must ask yourself. What feeds or will feed the other? Can one exist without another as a prerequisite?

Now that you’ve made your list, did professional development make the cut? Why? Why not?

Professional development is essential in sustaining yourself, a home, a family, etc. This is not to say you should be consumed by it or it should be your main priority, but it most certainly plays a significant role in having a balanced life. Not developing professionally impacts your livelihood. In return, a domino effect occurs negatively impacting every other aspect of your life. This effect is a good indicator as to the weight professional development carries and a reflection of its primary status.

Remember, balancing your life does not occur through equal distribution, rather through proper distribution.

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