7 Ways to Juggle Obligations as a Professional Woman

Jennifer Dennard @JennDennard
November 30, 2016  | Last Updated: November 30, 2016


I had the opportunity to hear former Olympian and University of Tennessee track star Missy Kane share many words of wisdom related to juggling the obligations we sign ourselves up for as professionals, mothers, wives, and volunteers. At the beginning of her presentation, she explained that, “We all want it all, but we need to realize that too many ideas and commitments can lead to disastrous falls.”

I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there. Personally, I have an overwhelming need – almost a compulsion – to serve – to give, give, give until I have nothing left, which can quickly turn into burnout and one great big fall (or in my case, meltdown). I learned my lesson several school years ago to not sign up to volunteer for every single thing – to keep some fuel in my tank so that I have enough energy to care for myself and my family. 

Missy’s remarks helped me to better understand the need to focus on what I’m really passionate about, rather than attempting to be all things to all people. She offered six ways women can keep themselves on track and on top of the commitments that mean the most to their physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.


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1. Find your passion. Take a moment to think about what gets you excited. What’s on your bucket list? If it’s something you’re considering as a future business endeavor, think about what you most often get thanked for. That wonderful scrapbook you made as a birthday present? The 30-minute conversation you had to help a friend prepare for an interview? Your passion is waiting for you to realize it.

2. Ask for other’s advice. Choose good mentors, and make sure to surround yourself with coaches who care.

3. Learn from your mistakes and laugh at yourself. I’d also add that it’s ok to fail as long as you fail fast and …

4. Keep on plugging. Missy, who spent years training for her eventual Olympic glory, rightly believes that overnight success is fleeting and not as meaningful as a hard-fought victory that involves overcoming obstacles. As a tennis player, I can personally attest to this. Winning a match in short order is not nearly as satisfying as one in which my opponents put up the fight of their lives. And losing a hard-fought match means so much more than letting myself get bagled.

5. Get outside your comfort zone and remember that it’s about progress, not perfection. If you want to try something new and exciting, Missy advises that you remember to hold on to your core values and faith while doing so. In a nutshell, respect yourself and your neighbor, and abide by the Golden Rule. You’ll go far if, on a daily basis, you are kind and make someone feel special.

6. My favorite: Help others along the way. A journey – whether it’s on the track, tennis court, or up the corporate ladder – is not fulfilling if you do it alone. Give someone a hand up as you get back on your own track.

I’ll add my own number seven: Don’t compare yourselves to others. Everyone’s track is different. It’s important to remember that no one can do yours as well as you!


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