Last Friday I had the wonderful honor of speaking on a panel about work/life balance. The panel included some folks I truly respect and admire: Kim and Kyle from Baltimore Print Studios, and Jennifer Cooper of Classic Play; and it was a great conversation moderated by Kara (from A Creative Reality). It's always great hearing and learning from other creatives about their experiences, and I walked away with a lot to think about.
Although I still have so much to learn about work/life balance I feel as though I am growing to have a better understanding of how to prioritize what's really important to me. Because I wanted to share what I've learned and because I am an educator who loves handouts, I created a little work/life balance worksheet for the event. It's a little exercise to get folks thinking about how they can prioritize and focus their energy.
One section asks to list three words that one wants to live by.
Several years back, one of my students was presenting his work to a group of design professionals and during that presentation one of the professional designers gave my student this great suggestion of designing with three words in mind. She said to the student that whenever she is developing an identity for a brand she asks the client to list three words that fully describes the attributes of that brand. Designing to those three words helps keep the designer focused and allows her to weed out concepts that do not fit. I loved it and have used that technique since then.
But it never occurred to me to apply that technique to my life. Not until a conversation I had with my friend Tanekeya Word some time ago.
sidenote: I have to say that Tanekeya is one of the most talented, beautiful, and brilliant people I know. She consistently blows me away with her depth of knowledge and insight, and her work is fascinating. Please check her out tanekeyaword.com, she's amazing!
So in that conversation we were talking about following our passion and making sure they align with out belief-systems and values. This is when Tanekeya posed to me that wonderful question: what are three words you live by? I didn't have an answer then, but when we got off the phone I pulled out a thesaurus and my idea book and filled pages with words and ideas that were important to me. I found them, and now if projects and opportunities do not fall in line with those words I don't do them. Simple as that.
What about you? Are there three words that inspire, focus, or guide you? You don't need to share them here, matter-of-fact I would keep them close to you. But you can say yes or no, or feel free to share other strategies that keep you grounded, balanced, and focused.
Big thank you to Kara and Jen for inviting me to speak on the panel and to Tanekeya for the inspiring question.