It’s been about a month now since I’ve been back at work full time. So much is different about this job, about what I consider “work”, and how I think about work compared to how it was before the near 6 year “military spouse/stay at home mom gap” that I filled with entrepreneurship and education, as some of us do.
Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” approach to strategy isn’t just a nice book I gave my team 10 years ago. It’s an approach I try my best to live and work by every single day. I ask myself constantly “Why am I working on this?” “Why is this my priority right now?” If I can’t give myself a good answer I move on to something that’s more meaningful or relevant or pressing and return to the thing I questioned doing later – but only if it’s necessary.
It’s HOW I answer the question “why” that helps me reconnect with my core values and has helped me understand that it’s not time I’m managing, but my self. How I allow myself self to react, to expend energy, to rest, to think, to contribute, to connect, to create, to love – these are the actions I aim to “manage”. These are the measures that help me in that daily struggle we all have trying to keep the many aspects of our selves and our lives harmonious.
By no means is this a perfect practice. I fail at it often. I fall apart from time to time. I struggle with the crazy number of responsibilities that are crammed into my daily life when I’m solo parenting 3 kids, managing our home, our happiness and health, and my career, while my submariner husband is hustling inside that massive boat hiding stealthily under the sea. I know he misses the chaos of our busy family life, but I also know he enjoys the focus and the challenge of his work there. It’s work that requires him to ask “why” on a daily basis, and as his partner, just as he does for me, it’s my job to make sure his answers are aligned with his values, with OUR values as a family, and that we don’t lose ourselves in this incredible and complex life of service we lead.
I hope the article I shared brings a little bit of perspective and comfort to those of you trying to do it all. Especially my fellow military spouses. It’s hard to stop chasing productivity for me, but it gets easier as I start allowing myself to pursue what I value and “chase” personal peace.