Diversity Woman Magazine

WIN 2018

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: http://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/927951

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Page 44 of 51

d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m W i n t e r 2 0 1 8 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 43 By Kimberly Olson B y appearances, Hajar Shirley had a good life. A successful busi- ness technology leader, she was married to her college sweetheart and had two young children. But something was awry. "I was exhausted," she says. "I felt like I was on a hamster wheel." More than one in four Americans say they're "super stressed." Professional workers feel increasing pressure to get to work early, stay late, and be ever-available, creating a new "time macho" culture, a term coined by Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of New America, which addresses the challenges of rapid techno- logical and social change. Meanwhile, the average employee takes only 54 percent of his or her allotted vacation days. Work-related stress can make us ir- ritable or depressed, zap our concentra- tion, compromise our relationships, and even impact our physical health. A study of more than 600,000 workers by Univer- sity College London, for example, found that those working over 55 hours per week were 33 percent more likely to suf- fer a stroke than their peers who worked 35 to 40 hours. But you needn't choose between ca- reer and a personal life. ere are ways to thrive at work while making time for friends, family, and personal interests. Hire a coach To disembark her hamster wheel, Hajar Shirley enlisted certified life coach Annie Lin, founder of New York Life Coaching. e two focused on three areas—career, family, and fun—brainstorming strategies for achieving balance. Shirley hired an au pair for hectic times of day, for example. "I helped Hajar practice being present so she could show up more fully, with family and work," Lin says. "We achieved that by prac- ticing meditation and thought inquiries." Upon becoming pregnant with her third child, Shirley once again sought Lin's counsel. She wanted to soak up ev- ery minute of her son's early life, recon- nect with her daughters, and pursue a lifelong dream—teaching at the univer- sity level. "I like working—but not 60 hours a week," she says. "I told Annie, 'I'd like to work ten to twelve hours a week.' I can make a great impact in ten hours, but I was so nervous to have this conver- sation. I wanted [my manager] to know that I was still invested in my career." Shirley discovered that her company actually wanted to promote her, so Lin helped her negotiate favorable terms, in- cluding working just a few days a week. "I took the promotion, I'm doing the uni- versity thing, and I'm the mom that I want to be," says Shirley, who's also prioritized date night. "If you give me the flexibility, I can do great things." DW Life > The Balancing Act ISTOCKPHOTO A Well- Rounded Life Learning to disconnect from the job can help you become more engaged at home and work

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