We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. —Ephesians 2:10
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Marshawn Evans is a Global Mentor and Catalyst for Women looking to Launch Their Dreams and Live Their Purpose. She equips others to AMPLIFY their lives, their leadership and their legacy by teaching the principles of influence, branding, and divine purpose. Her weekly eZine goes out to thousands of subscribers. Are you ready to unleash your brilliance and align with your REAL destiny? Sign up for a FREE subscription at http://marshawnevans.com.
Note: This is a guest post.
I worked 16 years as an executive assistant at 8 different companies. Every two years I jumped because I was ‘not’ happy. My strong desire to be an ‘artist’ and live a creative life continued to resurface repetitively and I constantly asked myself “how can I make this happen?” Creativity takes courage, and that I did not have enough of. Finally, in 2011, after teaching myself graphic design off of a $50 bootleg piece of software, I had strummed up enough freelance clients to boost the motivation.
With the support of my family and entrepreneurial friends, I quit my job to start my boutique creative agency full-time. For 10 years, my husband was a stay @ home dad, so the weight of this decision was very major for our clan. The last job I was in, I worked with a very unhappy and abusive boss, I had no other choice. Every day, I would drive to work in tears, wanting to somehow get lost or take a wrong turn so that I would not end up in that office once more.
After two years in business, plenty of ups and downs, learning, experimenting and hustling, I finally found pure JOY. I am doing what I love, which is being creative. I began working out 4-5 times a week; so I am much healthier, and dropping a few pounds on the way. I am here to support my children, and utilize my creativity to support our elementary school and church in various ways. I take time every Sunday to read, get inspired and most recently, pick up my paint brush and simply ‘create’ for hours. Each week I am working on making more time for myself, meeting clients and friends for my favorite treat (coffee) and making a new goal for myself or my business, to accomplish. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to organize a series of books titled “The Entrepreneur Within You” where we feature the stories of many entrepreneurs; this large effort makes me so happy inside. I can truly say after 16-20 years of being in various careers, I am finally happy and joyful.
As I am working on an article for an upcoming publication, I felt a strong need to have a discussion with my fellow entre/intra/corporate/preneurs about work/life balance.
Here’s a peek at the interview:
Q: How do you achieve work/life balance as an entrepreneur?
Well, I talk about work/life balance (W/LB) a lot in my chapter in The Entrepreneur Within You, and on social media platforms such as facebook and twitter. During the first year of running my business full-time from home, I had absolutely zero life, and absolutely zero balance. However, one of my contributors, and very close friends has a blog called www.mylifestylezen.com. I found myself reading it very often actually searching for clues on HOW to achieve balance. I read many blogs, sites, books, and talked to many of my co-entrepreneur friends. We have made some conclusions about this “W/LB” however, it takes a few to keep each other accountable to whether we are really achieving it. Due to the fact that many of us do not do so well in this area, we created a signature t-shirt line and facebook page called the #theysleepwegrindcollaborative – where we check in late-night to see who’s up, by doing ‘roll call’. Here’s a link: facebook.com/theysleepwegrind.
Now, back to the question at hand. It has literally taken me a year and a half to be able to consciously achieve W/LB. I was not doing this for a long time and it was causing a bad strain on my productivity and on my marriage, to be honest. My husband and a few close colleagues had to really get it through my head that I was way too much of a workaholic. I quit working full-time to NOT be a workaholic, and my workaholism got worse!
So, here’s how I achieve W/LB currently:
- Keep an accountability partner close to me (my very good friend and consultant)
- Ask others to let me know when they see me falling out of balance (my mommy tells me often and she can spot it from a mile away)
- I promise myself to listen to my body when I need rest or need to back off work for a bit
- Listen to my children, hey they tell me when I have worked too much in a day or on the weekend
- I have begun to plan 1 weekly meeting outside of the house with a client or friend, so that I can get out and play a bit
- We have planned one fun date a week for hubby and I, when the kids are now back in school full time
- I take myself on dates for tea, coffee, or shopping just to enjoy myself and reflect
- I began a workout regimen that I had not been doing before
- I love coffee, but 3 years ago switched to a ‘healthy’ coffee to reduce my migraines and jitters which has interrupted my work flow many times
- I allow myself creative freedom to help build my own artistic voice and portfolio at least 2 times a week (non-client work)
- I began drawing and soon to be, painting again (my first love of art)
- I began voicing my experiences as an entrepreneur to share stories and testimonies with others, so not to feel so alone
- I collaborate and connect with others online as much as I can – I love my Facebook community
- I have learned to outsource a bit and hired 2 consultants to help me grow my business in sales and marketing; it’s working tremendously and I feel less stressed
- After a year, I have finally embraced that hubby (who was a stay at home dad for 10 years), is here to help with the family business, he’s helped tremendously
- I have helped my children 6 and 11 to launch small businesses, publish books, design t-shirts and play in ‘art’ as often as possible to encourage creativity in the home
- I have coached quite a few other designers and authors of late, and find it encouraging to be able to support others’ endeavors
- Most of all, I have learned from a coach, to “fill my cup first, before I pour into my business, or into others” and it’s working wonders. She says, “you cannot pour with an empty cup.”
All of these things combined have helped me achieve a fun/amazing/encouraging and exciting W/LB over the past year.
Q: You said that you attend a variety of events, where do you find the time?
Well, when we published The Entrepreneur Within You almost one-year ago, I promised myself, and the “brand” that I would either plan 1 event monthly or participate in another organization’s event where we could promote the book and the movement. So far, we have, and sometimes more than one per month. For the events we have planned such as book signings, book brunches, TEW jr. meet-ups, live author workshops, picnics and more, I have always had my side-kick, daughter Jasmine (11) who is such a mini-event planner. She loves helping me plan the logistics, get creative with party details and embrace others assistance in the process. We always have great deal of sponsors and volunteers which is amazing.
I recently found that my 16 years as an executive assistant still shines when planning events. I absolutely love it and it gives us something to look forward to outside of work once per month. When we have an event coming up, I often end up working late nights, early mornings and finding time to coordinate things while I’m half asleep, but it’s all worth it in the end. We have had some great times collaborating this year with the TEW Crew!
I look forward to reading the full interview once it’s available, and of course we will share it with you!
For now, please visit our facebook page and let us know how you achieve W/LB!
All about Anthony
“Dream BIG—Plan, get excited and take action NOW . . . the world is waiting to cheer your success.”
PRODUCER/SCREENWRITER/SPEAKER / ACTOR/COMEDIAN
Prior to starting his own consulting firm, co-owner of Dramatic Impact Productions of Redondo Beach, CA, and authoring his first self-improvement book “L.I.F.E Intentional, Living In Fullness Everyday”, Anthony worked as a professional speaker and teacher of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) for world-renowned author and speaker Anthony Robbins and ARA, Inc. He is currently combining his talents as a producer, screenwriter, actor and comedian with a feature film in pre-production, and hosting the highly successful talk show “Trending Topics w/Ant&Shira” (www.LATalkRadio.com/Topics.php).
In the course of a diverse 12-year career in all aspects of mortgage sales and real estate investments, real estate investment management, financial/assets portfolio management and employee benefits development, Anthony L. Smith has proven to be a skilled executive, visionary entrepreneur and trouble-shooter and turnaround expert.
Anthony leveraged his skills in his personal and spiritual life, health, and relationships; as well as professionally with award winning, high profile Realtors, developers and construction companies, network marketing organizations, friends, students, and a host of other people and institutions, throughout the Chicago land area and Southern California; established employee benefits with companies as large as Methodist Hospitals of Northwest Indiana, Majestic Star Casino, City of East Chicago (just to name a few); while specializing in meeting the needs of these professionals and organizations.
“Failure is not an option…therefore, success is inevitable!”
For listeners, executives and professionals, owners of closely held businesses and other clients requiring assistance with advanced strategies for personal and/or business development and management, and consistent increase in profit margins, and those wanting above average individualize success, Anthony L. Smith brings a wealth of experience and strategies to help facilitate your goals.
Just finalizing some deets for The Entrepreneur Within ~ Book Release Coming 10.28.2012 ~ just so happened to come across my application to, The School of The Art Institute Chicago, from 1994. At the time, my awesome art teacher Craig A. Anderson told me STERNLY, “go to business school” ~ instead I demanded to go to “art school” and spent $25,000++ of my parent’s money in one year only to QUIT.
Shaking my head now, as I am nearly done with my “business degree” at age 35, I reflected back to the letter of recommendation that Mr. A wrote for me to get into the art school.
He said, “Julie is committed to her art and her inspiration has helped many of her classmates. Her positive attitude and her self discipline will be a welcome contribution in any class she may participate in at the Art Institute. This opportunity will enable her to expand and expand her talent.”
As I reflect on this piece of paper today, I realize that my MISSION was always to do art, inspire others and be a business woman. The ONLY thing that is a little cloudy is that the second I quit “art school,” I got a job at the corporation where my dad worked (because he made me) so I could afford my rent. Through 15 years of corporate life, I bounced from jobs every two to three years. I had a few incredible companies that I worked for such as Nike, Accenture and Home Depot, but I also had a few that de-inspired me. The end result is that every single opportunity that we encounter is an opportunity to GROW. Do not stay PAST your expiration date as Rhonda Alexander would say in TEW. Do not fail to live your PURPOSE as Bernada Nicole Baker would say. Do not overlook the excellent business relationships in your life as Glenn Murray would say and certainly, do not forget to ask for help as Merry Linden would say. Do not be a serial entrepreneur as Patrice Perkins quotes in the book. Do not let getting fired over a text message deter your dreams (@Shaniqua Anderson) and certainly “marry your destiny” (Corliss Johnson). Do not let anyone have power over you, as Nicole Knox would claim, and be a “power keeper.” I could go on and on and I will go on and on very soon.
We have over 12 writers / guest authors moving on the journey of publishing the TEW book and I am beyond excited. I am surrounded by loving and hard-working business owners and entrepreneurs, mentors and faith-movers and shakers. I am gracious for all of them right now as we move to “marry our destiny,” one step at a time.
We stand to WIN.