6/17/13

Finding my Yin and Yang- 360 degrees of success and happiness.


From a young age when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say, my mother. (I know… CRAZY!  But true.) Not because she was a head of the PTA stay-at-home parent, but because she was a successful executive ball buster and I admired her for it. She worked hard, was well respected and openly talked about her struggle to break the glass ceiling. To me she had it all, brains, respect, power and a fabulous life. I was determined it have it all too.

After college I landed my first job in the sales department of a start-up IT Company. I worked hard, stood my ground and took every opportunity for advancement presented to me.  I also worked 15-hour days, stayed constantly plugged into the corporate machine, and never took a day off for sickness or vacation. Needless to say, I was also completely void of a personal life.  Still, I was happy because I was successful, and that was all I had ever wanted.

When my 30th birthday was fast approaching I began to look around and realize that all I had was my job.  Sure I was successful, for a 30-year old, but I was not happy, nor surrounded by the people and things I loved.  It was painfully obvious that even though I was living my so-called dream, I had nothing but a resume and a Rolodex to show for it. I was so focused on the money, power and corner office, that I completely lost touch with myself.

Sure, on paper I was successful, but internally I was miserable. I knew I needed to reprioritize my life and dreams, or most likely die of a heart attack from being overworked at 32, and worst of all, alone. So I did just that.  I took time off from work to recoup and travel. I ran off to Europe for three weeks to visit a girlfriend for my 30th birthday and completely unplug from the corporate machine. 

Along the way I found myself and crazy enough, I found my husband too, in Vienna Austria no less!. (Read all about it HERE) I spent the next three years chasing my heart and dreams and it felt amazing! I was finally living. At 33 I went back to work married and ready to maintain my idea of work/life balance. Which, thankfully I managed to do-I worked 9-5 and spent my evenings and weekends with my family and friends.  Still I was not truly happy with that work/life balance idea.  I hated my job, so the misery of it poured into my personal life.  There was no balance.

When I got pregnant I knew my job as an outside sales rep for a publishing company was not such a bad thing since I could build my own schedule and work from home when needed.  So even though I did not love my job, I loved the flexibility, and for that reason I tried to work extra hard so I had a job to come back to after delivery, since again, being an outside sales rep I had more flexibility and freedom than an inside rep. Two months after my son was born I went back to work, only to find out a month later my department was closing.  I found myself jobless with a new born.  I was devastated!

I immediately started looking for new jobs, used my network of associates to get interviews and in between panicked. Then it dawned on me.  This was an opportunity to stay home with my son and chase my dream to be a writer.  So that is what I did.  I mothered, I wrote and in between applied to dream jobs just in case...

Here I am a little over a year later, a mother, a wife and happy as can be with the way things have turned out.  I spend my days juggling my beautiful son and my writing career. My dream has always been to be a writer, and over the past year I have worked very hard to lay the foundation.  My blog is booming, I have articles published outside of my blog and really feel like I am on my way to seeing my dream become a reality!  BUT….

Over the last couple of months I have had this horrible internal struggle between continuing to follow my dreams, or just take the safe road back into the corporate world for the steady paycheck. The main reason for this struggle is that, currently, our little family lives in a tiny third floor walk-up apartment, with some very unsavory neighbors.  It kills me to think that me choosing to follow my dream to be a writer is keeping my son in this environment.  Everyday I beat myself up because I know if I would just go get a proper job with a steady paycheck, then our family could afford to move into a house with a nice yard. But then the dreamer inside of me says, just wait one more day, your big break is coming. I realize that even though my heart aches for a lucrative writing career, my heart aches more for a safe happy environment to raise my son in.  While I know a great writing career can provide that, I just don’t know if that dream will ever really come true…

I have begun to look for both the dream writing job and the "safe" job back in my field of media and advertising.  However, thanks a recent conference called the "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power" put on by Arianna Huffington and Mika BrzezinskiI have learned that my idea of a "work/life balance" is still all wrong, or more or less not the way to true success.  The idea is to not find a balance, but to find a happiness and success that flows freely back and forth from my personal and professional life. This flow will allow for more time and happiness in my life as whole.  

So now, with the help of the Third Metric conference, I have created this idea that I am looking for 360 degrees of success and happiness that brings my personal and professional life together; Think Yin and Yang. 


In what ever I choose to do I need to make sure that I find a career that I am passionate about and happy to work hard to be successful at, while still having ample time to take care of myself and my family, without feeling torn. This is a concept I would have never thought about before becoming a mother.  I worked to live, not the other way around.  Of course before my husband and child, I didn't exactly have that much to live for outside of work.... still I was a miserable wreck.  Moving forward it is crucial that I stay mindful of this concept of free flowing happiness between my professional and personal life, so that I don't find myself burned out five years down the track, or worse, find that I have missed my son growing up because I was working all of the time.

If you are completely relating to this post and have not had heard of the "Third Metric" concept and conference I cannot recommend enough that you hope over to the Huffington Post's Third Metric Page to learn all about it.  I gained so much from reading the articles and watching the talks live, I know you will too...  





In addition to being the founder of First Time Mom and Dad, April is an award-winning published writer. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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