Your Career Girl, Dorianne St. Fleur, on How to Find Balance in Work & Life
By Laci McKinney
As you probably witness daily, the balance between work and life is not an easy one to maintain. But Career Strategist, Dorianne St. Fleur, accepts that there will never be a 50/50 split. Still, she comes mighty close to fulfilling balance, or at least structure, in her everyday life.
Dorianne has managed to create a life where she is in full control of her schedule, despite being an HR Director at an advertising technology company, an entrepreneur, writer, mother and wife.
Find out how she finds balance in her life and the three things you can do to attain a sense of balance in your own everyday life as well.
When did you realize you could actually live in your dream and own your own company?
I think on some level I've always known I would own a business and branch out and do things on my own. I have a very entrepreneurial personality, so with anything I do, I try to put my stamp of personality and unique influence on it. I'm also a firm believer in living and working on purpose - so it was only a matter of time until I put my money where my mouth is and started to create the life of my dreams.
What does your dream schedule look like?
A dream schedule to me is one that is super flexible and allows me to rest when I need to, work when I need to, play when I need to, etc. Most days I'm up between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m., but when I want to sleep in, I do that too.
I think this flexibility matters so much more to me now that I have a daughter. I want to be able to go to every single one of her plays, concerts, or whatever else she has going on and being in a situation where that's not possible, just wouldn't work for me.
What's a typical work day for you?
I'm usually up at the crack of dawn - somewhere between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. After that I try to take some time to pray, meditate and journal. If my daughter hasn't woken up yet, then I'll work on an article for my blog or for my column with an online career publication, called The Muse.
After that, my husband and I tag-team getting my daughter up and ready for daycare. If I'm not working from home, then I'll commute about an hour to work - where I'm an HR Director at an advertising technology company.
My schedule's pretty flexible, so I don't have a set start or end time. Once I get home, it's all about my family, so I'm doing homework, getting dinner together and spending quality time with hubby.
Once the house settles for the evening, I'm doing coaching calls with my clients, working on new courses and articles or researching the latest career or travel trends on the internet. If there's anything I need to finish up for my 9-5, I take care of it at this time as well. The goal is usually to get into bed by 9:30, but that hardly ever happens - it's something I'm actively working on though. I also need to incorporate time to get my workout on, because summer's coming!
What advice would you give a 9 to 5'er looking to turn their side hustle to their main hustle?
The first thing I'd say is to make sure whatever you do, it's what you really want to do. It's not what your mom or your BFF or your boo wants. So many times women get into situations where they're pursuing a dream that's not even theirs. Once you're sure it's what you want, then you've got to map out your specific plan on how you're going to get there. What needs to happen? How long will it take? And know this - you won't go from side hustle to main hustle in 3 months. So be realistic and be patient.
Can you give us 3 tips to finding the right work-life balance?
Only three? I can really go on and on about work-life balance if you let me. But if I had to narrow it down, I'd say this:
1. Take a long, honest and specific look at what you truly value inside and outside of work. Once you do that prioritize your list, carve out time to make these things happen and commit to not making sacrifices with this time.
2. Be present in each moment you're in. If you're working on something at work, then focus on what's going on there. Same if you're at home - it's probably not a good idea to check work email while you're supposed to be reading a bedtime story to your kid (although this can be challenging). Focus on being present in each specific task you're working on.
3. The last thing I'll say is you should be very aware of (and comfortable with) the fact that there'll never be a perfect 50/50 split between work and life. And this doesn't matter if you're a 9-5'er, entrepreneur, or side hustler. Trying to work toward perfection is a sure way to get disappointed or even overwhelmed. Set boundaries and strive to do your best, but take perfection off the table.
What is your main career goal for 2017?
My main career goal for 2017 is to support 50 women (through my private coaching services) on their journey to increasing their income, having more impact and finding the right balance so they can spend time doing the things they love. For me this is always my goal. My purpose is to teach and serve women professionals everywhere to transform the way they work.
Want more work-life balance tips or career tips in general from Dorianne? Visit her website, yourcareergirl.com.