A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with a woman whom I consider to be a mentor, a friend and a real-life superhero: Representative Tameika Isaac Devine, founder of The Possibilities Institute. I really wanted to pick her brain about this whole notion of “Work-Life Balance,” and see if it was something that was truly attainable…or a mythical creature like the unicorn my daughter so deeply loves.
20XX is the love child of my “coming of age” in turning 40, and realizing who I really am. I start all interviews with this question: When did you realize who you were? I think we are always realizing who we are. I have had several transitioning periods in my life. A few that stand out are (1) I used to run with a fairly large crowd of girlfriends. People I thought validated me. When I “lost” some friendships that I thought would be lifelong, I felt I was alone. I realized that I didn’t need other people to make me feel loved or important. I knew that many people compromise themselves and their values to be part of a crowd and I realized that I didn’t need that. That situation made me mindful of what true friendship is and made me realize that sometimes you have to keep your circle small to have people who can truly appreciate and respect you for who you are. (2) Losing our son James Henry , when I lost my son I realized how your life can charge in an instant and you need to enjoy and appreciate what you have. That helped me not worry about what people expected of me but I needed to be happy.
WORK-LIFE INTEGRATION: What exactly is that? Work Life Integration is finding synergy between your professional and personal lives. Work Life Integration allows you to be true to yourself and your goals by not sacrificing what is truly important.
Does balance really exist? What does that look like? True balance is unachievable, does not exist. Society has made us believe that in order to be happy we need to have work life balance and when we don’t we think we are failing. But having true work life harmony allows you to give yourself permission to let your priorities to drive your actions.
I thought I had “a lot going on” as we like to say, but you wear many, many, hats: Wife, Mother, Author, Councilwoman, Attorney, Life Coach, Public Speaker…Did I miss any? How do you prioritize your daily demands? I plan my weeks out on Sunday and try to make sure I schedule time to do what is important to me and my family. I review my to dos every day and shift priorities as needed. I manage expectations of myself and others and don’t allow others to dictate my schedule.
What is a Life Coach? I am a certified personal and executive coach but I like to call myself a work life integration strategist and leadership mentor because I focus my work on high achieving professional women specifically around work life integration strategies and leadership.
How Do I know If I Need One? Most everyone can benefit from a coach. Even coaches have coaches. If you need support and accountability around your goals and help taping into your full potential then a coach could be helpful.
What is the Possibilities Institute and how can it help those of us who need help “getting our lives together?” The Possibilities Institute is a peak performance public speaking, coaching and consulting firm specializing in helping women leaders and working moms with work life integration strategies and leadership mentoring so they can excel professionally while maintaining a family first lifestyle. I help by providing coaching and trainings. You can find more on my website at www.adevinelife.com
You wrote a book entitled “Think Like A CEO, Act Like a Mom”. Explain the title. CEO’s run companies based on a clear sense of principals. They have a clear vision and goals for their company. The same way a CEO runs a company, we need to run our lives that way. And if you apply the same principals a CEO does to a company to your life, you will have the direction in your life that will allow you to enjoy your life as a mom.
Do you feel that you have reached your personal level of success or is there still more that you aspire to attain? Of course there is a lot more to do. When you stop setting goals and trying to achieve them, you aren’t living up to your full potential.
Before you leave, what quick tips can you give our readers to begin the process of work life integration?
- Set priorities that reflect your values. If it doesn’t align with your values and goals, it is not worth your time.
- Limit time wasting activities and people
- Have a supportive tribe that can serve as accountability for you