Balancing Work and Life: Advice from Sue Wigston

A couple of weeks ago, the ladies discussed the idea of living in balance.  Often, it’s a struggle to strike the right mix between managing work obligations and one’s personal life. Sue Wigston joined us in the See Hear Love kitchen to chat about how, as a leader, she finds balance, which  — as the COO of Eagle’s Flight and the mother of three children — she does amazingly well.

As the Christmas season draws near, it can be even harder to juggle work, family, social obligations, and buying and wrapping 50 different gifts. I’ve taken some of Sue’s top tips for balance and applied them to taking some of the stress out of this busy holiday season.

Define Your Values

Sue built her career in a way that still allowed her to be there for her kids’ sports and school activities, since that was important to her. She worked with her boss to figure out a way she could perform most of her job between the hours of ten and three when her children were in school. By stating her values up front and putting boundaries around the way she worked, she was better strike a work-life balance. This holiday season, figure out what’s important and come up with a To Do list that supports what you value. If you want to see your friends but also have gifts to wrap, organize a gift-wrapping party. If you want to take several days off work to see family, talk to your boss about completing projects ahead of time or the possibility of working remotely.

Be Willing to Delegate

People who face burnout often do so because of their desire to maintain control. A key question Sue likes to ask is “Where am I holding onto power?” Sue learned that she does not have to do it all and there are lots of tasks she could give to someone else. She has learned that it’s worth it to invest in people up front so that you can delegate more things over the long term.  She also learned that even if people don’t do things the way you might do them, delegating things allows you to have more balance. This Christmas season, what can you delegate? Can you get your kids or nieces and nephews to wrap some of your gifts? Can you buy cookies instead of making them?

Be Willing to Ask for Help

Most women are born nurturers and would rather burn out than risk burdening someone else. If we want to live a balanced life, we need to say no to some people, and we need to ask other people for help. This Christmas season, enlist some help. Ask your kids to set the table and help with the laundry. Ask your sister to pick up an extra gift at the mall. Ask your employees or colleagues to take on more of a project so you can spend more time at home. Most people are happy to help as long as they feel supported and appreciated.

Start with Love

Given her senior role in training and development, it’s hard to believe that Sue once was terrified to speak in public. What motivated Sue to conquer her fears was her desire to bring out the best in other people. Core to Sue’s approach is her deep love for people, using Jesus as a model. Whether you are coaching Fortune 500 company leaders or helping out at the holiday bazaar, if you see your mission as loving others, it will help provide you the necessary perspective and motivation to bring more balance to your life.  This Christmas season, instead of battling for a parking spot at the mall, spend time with those you love. If you’ve been asked to work the late shift on Christmas Eve, think of yourself as blessing those who get to spend their Christmas Eve at home. When looking to live in balance, love is the best place to start.   

Use Your Faith as a Foundation.

Often, we live our lives out of balance because we believe the Enemy’s lies about who we are. Society tells us we have to be skinnier, prettier, wealthier, and smarter, and we can drive ourselves crazy trying to live up to the standard of perfection. Sue urges us to recognize the lies and seek out Biblical truths. Knowing that God loves us will help us to establish the healthy boundaries that allow us to live in balance. This holiday season, know that you are loved by God even if you have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, bring Oreos to the bake sale, and give your children’s teacher an envelope filled with cash.