Two weeks of reflection, life as a 37 year old woman without children

“Sometime you have to let everything go-purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything-whatever is bringing you down – get rid of it. Because you will find when you are free, your true creativity, your true self comes out” – Tina Turner

I’ve just had 2 working weeks with the children away. They have been with the in-laws to save on some childcare costs and to give them a mini Essex holiday.  A full weeks childcare for 3 children is £500 during the holidays..we simply can’t afford it.

Alas this week and last week I had Monday to Thursday, 3 nights of going to work when I wanted, leaving work when I wanted. I could socialise and do what I wanted and could have a lie in. But what happened? Well I worked a lot..I started work most days at 6am on the laptop at the breakfast bar, sometimes insomnia (like now) wakes me up at 3am. So I sit here and do some kind of work. It happens to be the busiest time ever at my work in terms of validating and then negotiating a huge deal at work. I’ve got an important role within the project team that I absolutely love, but its busy. I have possibly worked 2 * 50 hour weeks.

But…this is also good. I have had some time to reflect on work, life, work life balance. My paid day job, my entrepreneurial ideas and plans for the future. I have had some real guidance from brilliant people at work who have given me their precious time to share with me their feedback on my performance and given me guidance in the direction of my role. Mentor type relationships have flourished with brilliant people. I have managed to grab coffee with friends who need guidance from me and am nurturing relationships with young talent who need a bit of help sometimes. And I have removed some negativity from my work life, the ‘mood hoovers’ and gossipers are dealt with and no where near my life.

It’s amazing what you learn when you really listen to the feedback of trusted colleagues, I have learnt this week:

  1. Focus on my core job and doing it brilliantly. This should be 80% of my time.
  2. The biggest share of the 80% is stakeholder management. My job is mainly to influence my huge spectrum of stakeholders.
  3. Communication/listening are massively important. Sometimes I just need to shut up and focus. My opinion is not always needed.
  4. I’m actually really good at the people management side. I have a great team of people who I have sort of adopted. They want guidance. They help me to achieve much of my job and I help them with feedback and continuous improvement plans.
  5. Stop doing other peoples jobs for them. Feedback from my director, who is the leader of a few 1000 people!  Focus on home, the role my objective are based on. All the other stuff, only do it if it adds value to the day job.
  6. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. This week I got time in my chief’s diary. A great opportunity to showcase me, the job I do and the shops I look after. Store visits. I asked him, he said yes and wants to do it every month.
  7. Feedback is a gift, its offered in different ways. Sometimes directly, other time more softly. But listen, and decide on whether to act on the feedback.
  8. The power of mutual promotion, encourage relationships with peers who you can promote/talk about good stuff they do, who will repay the favours. Have a wide reach of these friends who ‘get you’.
  9. Read the right books. I’m reading ‘lean in’ by Sheryl Sandberg. It’s amazing and its helped gather these thoughts. Highly recommend the book to anyone who needs a little guidance with busy lives.
  10. Get the balance right in life, sometimes you need to dial up family, sometimes its work. Make this adjustment every day. Make a conscious decision every day and stick to it.

A lot of brilliant lessons for life learnt from some amazing people this week. I feel privileged and ready to have a holiday and switch the balance back to my children.

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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

I write about personal finance made simple, lifestyle choices that will save you time and money, as well as products and services that offer great value.

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