Congratulations to the American Business Women’s Association on its recent anniversary. Sept. 22 marked the 60th anniversary for this professional group, offering a time to acknowledge not only a national business women’s organization, but on a broader scale, the efforts of women in our community and across the nation who have a duel focus – professional opportunities in the business community along with responsibilities in their roles outside of the workplace. Today’s businesswoman must have a strong sense of who she is and how she fits in the world. Through her own self-awareness, she can assess her strengths and establish both professional and personal goals as she contributes to the workplace. While establishing her presence there, she must balance time and energy with other aspects of life: family, home, friends, church and community. With the challenges found in these roles and relationships, it’s vital that she take care of herself – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Whew! A tall order for any woman, especially in these challenging times. So, how can today’s businesswoman achieve the success she desires in the marketplace, without losing herself in the process? The following suggestions are offered as a guide to women desiring create that balance. 1. Clarify who you are and what you desire your life to reflect. This focus will be your foundation to build upon, a centering place to connect each aspect of your life. 2. Establish priorities. These will provide structure and guidelines as you determine what to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to among the many challenges you face. The wise businesswoman recognizes that while priorities may be set in place, circumstances of life change, calling on her to assess how she’ll respond flexibly without losing touch with those things of fundamental importance. 3. Set personal and professional goals. If you’re not careful, you can easily get caught up in reacting to immediate issues and become scattered as you move from task to task. Then you to wake up one day and realize you are not moving forward. Clearly defined goals provide direction and encourage opportunities for growth. 4. Identify your source of strength and support. Where will you turn for wisdom and guidance? What will renew you when you feel drained? Who will be there to help you maintain your focus and provide a place of accountability? Who will be your encourager, your personal cheerleader, your constant friend? Who will offer unconditional love and acceptance as you celebrate success and cope with failure? 5. Gather resources. Today’s successful businesswoman recognizes she will need assistance to successfully meet the demands coming across her path. She may turn to family, friends, church programs, community organizations and businesses offering needed services. In addition, she’ll find professional organizations dedicated to supporting women in business through education, professional development, networking and relationship building. 6. Take care of yourself. While God tells us to put Him first and to have the heart of a servant as we connect with others, He also gives us clear direction to take care of ourselves – physically and emotional, as well as spiritually. Yet, today’s woman often neglects these areas of her life. “I’m too tired.” “There’s not enough time.” “I have to get everything else done first.” “I need to take care of someone else.” “I feel selfish doing something for myself.” However, when she does take care of her needs, in essence she’s taking care of someone’s wife, someone’s mother, someone’s employee, someone’s friend. Everyone benefits. I once heard a minister’s wife introduce her husband as the head of their home and herself as the CEO. She had left a successful leadership position in the business community to devote herself full time to managing her home. As she spoke, I was reminded that as women in today’s world, our efforts might be channeled in different directions – home, workplace, church, community. Yet, we all share a common denominator: each of us has been given a unique blend of talents and abilities, along with opportunities to use them. It’s important to honor those gifts to the best of our ability, wherever our life journey takes us. We should live life to the fullest as we embrace all that our Creator has designed for us. Blessings to businesswomen out there; and happy birthday to ABWA. Nancy Williams, M.Ed, LPC is a licensed professional counselor, speaker and writer. Send comments or questions to her at www.nancywilliams.net.

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