Working women – stand proud

As we mark Women’s History month, we have a lot to celebrate. For one, we made it through the past year, which is a feat in itself. Considering most working women bear the brunt in many areas of life, such as taking care of the kids, the house and now overseeing virtual education, we can officially add the title of  “heroine” to the growing list of words used to describe women.

WE MADE IT THROUGH 2020

Yes,  last year, and this one too so far, have been tough. I’m sure there are times when you, as a female financial professional, feel pulled in many directions. “Should I schedule an evening webinar for my clients or help my children with their homework? Or, “my parents are isolated and need groceries, but I have back-to-back Zoom calls and can’t get away.” Sound familiar? The guilt that goes along with each of the decisions we make is real, and we need to realize that it is hard to please everyone all of the time. Women are experts at multitasking, and this past year put us to the test more than any other.

So, first, let’s give ourselves a big “Congratulations!” If you’re still standing, you made it! And if you can make it through 2020, there’s no telling what you can do.

THE BALANCING ACT

That said, I want to address one of the biggest challenges we, as working women, face. In good times or bad, our underlying and constant challenge is achieving some kind of balance to our lives. Underlying that challenge is the fear that if we are super successful, something or someone has to suffer. Trust me; I worried about that outcome my entire career as a financial adviser. But I want to share a personal story with you.

I started my career when my son, Kevin was 5. Because my husband was in the military, we had already moved six times in his short life. We landed in Panama City, Florida, and in 1989, I began my financial services career. 

Like many others, I worked non-stop, trying to make it in what was definitely a man’s world. I built my business doing client seminars and it wasn’t unusual for me to have six seminars in a month. In addition, I tried to network in my new city, so my mantra was that I was “out and about” for breakfast, lunch, cocktails and dinner. 

I was lucky; my husband helped … a lot. He believed in me and wanted to see me succeed, so he picked up the slack wherever he could. He’d pick our son up from school and take him to the orthodontist and to baseball practices, just to name a few. 

Still, I always had this nagging feeling that someday, my son was going to resent me and my career. While he seemed well-adjusted and happy throughout his childhood and teenage years, that worry followed me. 

AN ANSWER THAT CHANGED ME FOREVER

Fast forward 32 years. My son was up for a promotion at his job. The candidates for the position narrowed from 26 down to two as he went in for his final interview. I waited with anticipation for him to call and let me know how the interview had gone. 

When he finally called I asked, “How did the interview go, honey?” He answered: “Fine, I think it went well.” “What kind of questions did the interviewer ask,” I asked. He said, “All the usual.” And then my son said words I’ll never forget. He said: “Her final question was, ‘Who in the world do you admire most?’” I asked: “What did you answer?” assuming he would say some political figure, a sports player, or maybe his dad.  

Instead, he said: “You! Mom, you are the person I admire most in this world. I told her your personal story and how you raised yourself up out of poverty, worked really hard to build an incredibly successful financial planning business and how you ended up on the prestigious Barron’s Top 100 list and that I owed my work ethic to watching you.”

Suddenly the nagging feeling I’d carried with me for decades was gone. My son was proud of me.

QUALITY TIME VS. QUANTITY TIME

I say all of this to encourage you in your walk as working women, as a wife or partner, as a mom and as a friend. Don’t necessarily assume that your hard work and dedication to your profession are going to be your downfall. People around you, especially your children, look to you for their cues. They see your hard work as an attribute, as something to emulate. 

That said, as much as possible, schedule dedicated time with each of those groups and when you’re with them be with them. While you’re with them, turn off your phone and your text messaging. Most people would rather have quality time with you than quantity time, so when you’re with them, be in the moment.

So as we celebrate Women’s History Month, let’s stop being so hard on ourselves. It’s time to acknowledge the many areas in life where we, as women, are a force that inspires.

[More: Building your firm without bugging friends and family]

Erin Botsford founded Botsford Financial Group and The Advisor Authority. To learn more about what it takes to be a super-successful adviser, check out her website.

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