Someone asked me how I developed Pathways to Peace – my course that supports people across their workspaces and homes, helping to reduce stress and improve workloads (which can be domestic as well as employment-related!)
Here’s my answer…
If you’re feeling weighed down by both work and home responsibilities, if you feel like you never get anywhere in spite of gargantuan efforts, that what you do achieve is never enough, I can relate. I’ve been exactly where you are – frustrated, sometimes in tears, often exhausted.
You can successfully leave overwhelm behind and start to enjoy both your work and home life, and, it can work whether you are self-employed or working for someone else. I know, because I did it. I discovered and developed resources and techniques that made managing my personal and professional lives simpler. And I can help others achieve similar change in just 6 weeks.
My early work experience was one of overload and overwhelm – all self-inflicted. I took on a huge role running a $14 million account for the biggest IBM re-seller in the southern hemisphere. I worked incredibly long hours. I took work home on the weekends.
I understand now I was basing my self-worth on my value to the company, and I had a very unhealthy and unsustainable work and home life…
When I left, my replacement only lasted 2 weeks before having a breakdown. They replaced her with two people working full-time to manage what I had done single-handedly.
I’m no longer proud of what I accomplished, because long term, it didn’t serve me or anyone who followed me – and the company took advantage of my willingness to put everything else aside.
My personal relationships suffered from neglect. I was exhausted by the time I got home at night. I was handling that massive account and I really don’t know how I did it without making costly errors.
I learnt something very important from that job. I learnt that you have to be able to balance give and take between work and home life, because if you don’t, everything suffers.
So in my future work roles (corporate trainer, event manager, theatre logistics manager, celebrant, healthcare trainer, classroom teacher, performing arts teacher and academy principal), even though I continued to work incredibly hard – whether self-employed, working for someone else, or a combination of these – I worked smarter. I found ways to make things easier and more efficient. I developed skills and tools that enabled me to manage heavy workloads and my home life, without burning out or getting overwhelmed.
I acknowledged that there are super-busy times with deadlines and variables that require long hours with intense bursts of concentration and activity.
I also acknowledged that there are opportunities that come during periods of calm.
In the calmer times, I’d take a shorter working day, make time for lunch and leave early. Some days were only 3 or 4 work hours.
Making a conscious decision to do this – to flow with demands but take time back for myself when I could – created something that was not only sustainable, but really rewarding. The quieter times allowed proper reconnection with family and friends, as well as giving me time for reflection and self-care, and I was able to build the reserves I needed for the busier times.
Those quieter work periods meant I could put extra time into home-related tasks that needed attention (you know, cooking, bill paying, shopping, cleaning, gardening, preparing tax returns!)
Busier work times were no longer resented – they became opportunities that challenged and stimulated, instead of being situations that made me feel like a landslide was about to engulf me.
Suddenly, I had balance. Balance didn’t mean that work and home became equal – it meant I had the reserves and skills to give more to one than the other when necessary, that I could organise both work and home to make meeting the competing needs of both soooo much easier.
I’m now completely self-employed and enjoy flexibility, but you don’t have to be self-employed to gain flexibility. Remember, I put these skills and tools into practice over many years of working for others, too.
Creating a course to help others do this didn’t even occur to me until an old friend commented about a year ago, “how do you do it? When we chat, I can see how incredibly busy you are and yet you never seem frazzled or stressed! You seem happy! I want to be like that too.”
That comment inspired the development of my course, Pathways to Peace.
I’ve been a professional facilitator and course writer for years, so I outlined the skills/tools and information I felt would best assist people who felt overwhelmed and stressed, then thought about the best way to deliver the training in order to reach anyone who needed it. An online course platform was the answer. Given COVID-19, that was a really good decision!
My professional background, and the strategies I developed, contributed to the material in the course and can be applied to any sort of employment.
Problems I faced in my personal life and the solutions I found also contributed to the course in terms of home life. Just how do you keep going through bereavement, divorce, moving house, surviving cancer, experiencing abuse, having children…?
This course is different – it’s professional and personal development rolled into one. This course is for your workplace and your home life. This isn’t an either/or course, it’s an all-embracing one.
So the way it works is – I offer support – individually and in small groups via Zoom, some live content and online material, to help you get to where I am. I’m living my life peacefully and productively, without overwhelm, distress, or where my relationships suffer.
I want to help you achieve the same – a work and life balance that’s sustainable and enables you to love what you do and how you live.