Many organizations run on a school year calendar, and there are often two or
three events to choose from on any given day. As anyone who is running their own business knows, it is important to get out there and be very active at these kind of events - and that is what I strive to do.
September/October is also the season for high school field hockey - and that means I need to make choices.
My daughter is a senior this year and is playing on the varsity team. I made a commitment to myself to attend every game this season - that means I often miss events I really feel I should be attending but they conflict with the games. My choices were validated when an event came up that I really wanted to attend - a potential client was speaking and I felt that I should be there. I thought to myself, perhaps I need to miss this one game and go to the event instead. But I held true to my commitment, and decided to miss the event and instead go to the field hockey game even though I felt a little guilty.
It ended up being the best field hockey experience I think we have had to date. Not because they won or because it was a shutout, but because they are winning together and they are working as a team - and that is an amazing thing to witness. It was a very special night. The parents, the senior parents in particular, are sensing that we are near the end of this journey with our daughters and we are appreciating every one of these wonderful moments. I realized if I had gone to the event instead, I would have missed this entire experience and this wonderful evening in my daughter's life.
Business is important. Family is more important. Our children grow up quicker than we think possible, and their time with us is fleeting. That game reminded me why I started my own business in the first place. I want to be there at 3 o'clock in the afternoon when that game starts. I might need to work late into the evening or get up at the crack of dawn to get something finished, but that is the choice that I make.
Whatever commitment you have made to yourself, in your personal or professional life, be sure that you hold yourself to it. Don't compromise - make your choices and stick to them no matter what your inner critic or outside voices may be telling you. To thine own self be true.
Debbie Millin is President of UpperLevel Solutions - a Boston-based firm offering part-time and interim Chief Operating Officer services, operational assessments as a health check or as part of due diligence, and executive project leadership.