I am and have always been very dedicated to work, I thrive in the work environment, I love the challenges and the mental stimulation. When I had children, I could never have planned the change motherhood bought about in me. The dedication and focus that had always been a big part of my work life was transferred to my personal life. The same drive to be good at my job morphed into a drive to be a good mother and to be a good mother I needed to be present, to be active in their life, to witness all the wonderful things my children accomplish and for them to know I was there beside them more than I was absent.
I thrive when I am passionate, when I have purpose I make great things happen, I achieve massive momentum. I left the corporate world to find greater freedom, to show my children that life is for living, to never have regrets, to never settle for less, to never lose your passion and purpose. It isn’t necessarily the easiest route to follow but it is by far the most rewarding, the most satisfying and the most fulfilling.
This initially caused some dilemma, the corporate environment couldn’t give me what I wanted. I wanted the same opportunity to work and be challenged but I wanted total freedom and flexibility to do it on my terms, my way around my personal commitments. I didn’t want the constraints of clocking in and clocking out or working set hours, I didn’t want the constraints of sitting in traffic for an hour or two each day missing out on valuable time with my children, I didn’t want to be micro-managed or work for someone who didn’t inspire me. I couldn’t be bothered with nor was I interested in office politics. I wanted to take my children to their after school activities, I wanted to take the day off on my children’s birthday and do something special with them (a yearly tradition), I wanted to take the summer and school holidays off with them rather than be constrained to 4 weeks annual leave a year, I wanted to be there for them when they were sick each and every time instead of having to juggle an allocated 10 days of sick leave a year.
I wasn’t prepared to settle for less, I didn’t want to waste months or years doing something that didn’t inspire me, that didn’t light my fire… I didn’t nor do I want to live with regrets.
Easier said than done? Absolutely. But if you want something bad enough and you are prepared to commit and work smart, if you are willing to step outside your comfort zone that illusive work/life balance that so many of us crave and strive to achieve in our lifetime is achievable.
Sometimes you need to take a leap of faith… but do so with a carefully laid out plan that clearly defines what it is you really want, write down all your connections and identify who can help you start you on your journey in pursuit of greater contentment and happiness. But most importantly, use that desire to achieve greater freedom to motivate you to create change.
Susan Stevens is the founder of New Zealand-based Meme & Co, a jewelry and accessories company with an innovative, woman-centered business model. She has over 18 years experience in sales, marketing and advertising, she climbed the corporate ladder and was committed to her career but her priorities changed when she had her children. Life became a struggle, trying to find a balance between wanting to retain her worth and independence in the workforce without compromising her ability to be a present and attentive mother.
Then, Susan made a terrifying leap – leaving a six figure income to no job and a big mortgage. With a very strong resolve never to go back to the corporate world, and through commitment, perseverance and a passion to succeed, she found as one door closed other doors opened. It was this journey that gave her the motivation and the drive to create an opportunity for other women who want to be in control, who value their independence, who want to be empowered. Her drive to keep a balance between work and family life ultimately resulted in `taking a leap’ into the unknown and embarking on a personal journey of self reflection, new challenges and growth.