The months of March and April are a flurry of activity for me as I go on a self-imposed, and much-awaited break during the summer months.
I was asked of my views around work-life balance in a recent interview in Toronto. And plain and simple my response was: “I think the whole notion of balance is overused, lacking any substantiate meaning.” You see, What I would subjectively refer to as a balanced life may be too overs-stimulating or who knows–maybe someone else in my shoes would pack more things in their schedule yet!
The past couple of months though, I feel I have been doing double duty both at home and work—a remodel, a major move, some health issues with older family members, plus doing work, and organizing events on the two nonprofit boards that I have co-founded and traveling for my book tour to boot.
Would I in any way, change anything about my life. The answer is a resounding “NO”. What I am beginning to understand through experience ( And yes… it seems like theory and other people’s wisdom are not as impactful as true-life well-earned experiences) is that life has its own ebbs and flows. Some days, I feel I am handing everything smoothly, while at other times, I feel I am overwhelmed. But that is the reality of life, isn’t it?
But in the midst of all this, I have come to see how much I cherish all the fullness in my life—the time spent with friends, husband and my two boys; how I get filled with so much energy when I come out of a talk or a book signing. Each and every of these moments, when I was completely focused on experiencing that moment was fulfilling and nourishing.
Reflecting on my speaking tour this past month, I can tell you had 3 real highlights that I would love to share.
I had been invited to be the keynote speaker for the Pepperdine University Women’s conference earlier in the month, hours before I was due to fly out to Hong Kong. A day earlier I thought I was utterly out of my mind for keeping both of these events on my calendar. But when the day came, I surprisingly enjoyed every single moment of the day. I absolutely loved speaking to a group of intelligent and ambitious professionals and graduate students, who had so much to share with me as well. I also discovered that a part of me is still that Psychology Professor of yesteryears, and I revel spending time with students, deans, and researchers.
No sooner when I returned from my trip to Hong Kong, I was on a plane heading to Austin, Texas. Neiman Marcus was hosting a book signing and talk for me and my dear friend, Suzanne Deal Booth, was chairing the event for me. I spent the day having girlfriend time with Suzanne, catching up over lunch and great hike near her home. The next day, I met with so many incredibly talented women over lunch at Neiman Marcus… I met an incredible woman by the name of Megan, who had essentially organized a fundraising group to save her all- women liberal arts college from closing down. Would you believe this core group of 8 women raised millions of dollars in the course of a month? It is even more fascinating that they raised such a huge sum mostly through interfacing over the internet! Now that was incredibly inspring!
And finally, I am just returning from the heals of a very special book event in Toronto. (As a matter of fact, I am writing this blog on the plane.) Suzanne Cohon, a brilliant and exceptional executive in Toronto, had graciously organized a cocktail reception celebrating my latest book. My friend, Ruth Mandel, who also is a member of Women Moving Millions had also invited some friends too, which brought the total of attendees to 90 people. What I loved most was the diversity of the women present. The guests ranged from corporate executives, directors of foundations and non-profits, to moms and teachers and community activists. There was a special electricity in the air last night as women were discussing ways in which they want to give back and also bring in the new generation of girls into the leadership fold. Now this was the true meaning of what I wanted to accomplish with my book.
And now, as I am heading home and preparing to host our family Passover dinner, I think how lucky I am to have packed all these experiences in the past three weeks.
Who knew when I was a little girl living in Iran, that I would one day go around the world, have a meaningful and exciting vocation, and meet so many people along the way? Who knew? And the icing on the cake is that I have these loving, incredible men in my life (my boys and my husband of nearly 28 years) supporting me. Now it makes all the madness of the days all worth it and then some!