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Employee blog: Take time to make yourself a priority


Jennifer Hildre read Arianna Huffington’s Thrive and realized her very full life had room for more mindfulness and balance.

What will your family say at your funeral?

Will they brag about how you worked 70 hours a week?

How you missed all of your kids’ Little League games?

How you ate lunch at your desk every day and never felt you could take a break from your career because you wanted to move up the ladder?

This was a reality check for me as I began reading the book Thrive by Arianna Huffington.

We live in a culture where climbing the ladder – either of financial strength or power – is the definition of success. No matter what you have to do to get there.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Huffington defines success from another perspective, and I liked it. The impact was so powerful I chose to share the book with a group of women across North and South Dakota. Many of them are taking the message back to their significant others, as it’s not just a book for women.

Several of the women in the group shared their own struggles and feelings of what success means or how to live more balanced life. One even expressed that even though they felt like they were already thriving, we were reminded that we are all a work in progress.

As leaders and business professionals, we talk about work-life balance. Is there such a thing? I think it’s a matter of perspective.

I’m continuing to work toward a more balanced life that includes:

  • Juggling three teenage children.
  • Managing the sports and activities they’re involved in.
  • My commitment to my career as a team member and leader at American Family.
  • My husband’s busy and demanding carpentry business that he owns and operates.

My commitment to being successful has never been a question. What I’ve learned is that I owe it to all of the people in my life, and myself, to find more balance. Because if I continue on my current path, I won’t thrive!

So what am I doing?

  • Tech breaks: We’re all drowning in technology, and we have to prioritize. I’m taking technology breaks away from my cell phone, e-mail and text messages to take time with family and for myself.
  • Self-care: I’ve added time to my weekly calendar for exercise and meditation.
  • Sleep: I’m working to get enough sleep each night so I’m not sleep deprived and can bring my best each day.

I challenge you to read or listen to Thrive, and redefine success in your life.

What will you do to find better balance?