Thoughts and such like.....
Have you ever got caught up in the tyranny of the urgent when all the systems and habits you've been practicing for ever seem to disappear into the ether? This past few weeks has been a whirlwind of activity, some good some not so much! Clients coming and going, volunteer projects coming together, meetings, lots of phone calls and emails, as well as interviews as I work through a feasibility study. On the home front I've been winterizing my home and set in motion plans to visit family after Christmas! And, in among the frenzy of activity no real down time for me.
I was talking to a client this afternoon about the same problem, as things get busier, and energy gets used up in one area, we deplete the energy available for other things in our life and shortchange those we love, as well as those things we love to do! One of the things I do love about working with individuals is that I always learn so much from them, and in the process I grow! I can see my reflection in them as we work through the challenges they face.. the challenge of having too many balls in the air, too many people looking to them to get things done, and sometimes the challenge of taking on too much.
One of the biggest challenges I face, and a weakness of mine is giving my time to others and causes I believe in. And often, I offer free what I should be charging for... this was brought to my attention again at lunch by a colleague who is working on a volunteer project with me, I set about to pick his brains about developing my business. He went through the process of asking simple questions that made me really think and focus on who I serve, how much I give away either through reduction in fees, or just through offering services. He sat me down and questioned where my attention was, who my ideal client really is and asked why should anyone pay me for stuff when I was giving it away! He's made me aware that in the process of trying to help others, I've been shortchanging myself and my business. A challenge I've sorta been aware of, when it has come back to bite me, such as the time I gave free coaching to an acquaintance who then went out and hired a coach because of the value she'd received! I struggle between volunteer projects and expanding my business, however no one has ever called me on it - until now! And so what to do...
I'm taking time out to really think deeply about the questions posed today. My clients have varied from business to personal, and a mixture of both. I truly believe that life is life and we can't separate our work life from everything else - life is life. However in order to grow, I hear time and time again, that I should specialize, focus on one area and move my attention to there alone, difficult for one who loves to play the field as it were. I like people, I like working with them to delve into whatever challenges they face, however because of this I'm apparently seen as too generalist and should really focus on one area. I'm going away soon to visit my sister, and in the process it is time to refocus and decide what path I want to take. So, I know I have quite a few readers out there, tell me your thoughts - you've read my blogs over the past year, and heard my voice, now I'd like to hear yours, please.
How do you balance your volunteer life with work and life? What do you do when you realize you've dropped all those good habits you've cultivated and how do you travel back to balance? What about those big decisions and complex challenges, how do you make decisions on which way to go? I'm open and interested - talk to me!
Maeve O'Byrne's Blog