Maintaining a home-work balance is a popular topic and arguably the holy grail for many business leaders. For women, especially mothers, it can be even more challenging. Rosa Scarcelli, a member of YPO, lives a rather busy life that has forced her to finding ways to balance her private and public lives.
Aside from raising children and running a successful family real estate business, Scarcelli ran for governor of Maine several years ago. She unfortunately lost but learned much about maintaining an integrated lifestyle that supports her ambition and the needs of her family.
She remains extremely active in business and her community, garnering a number of awards including the Henry Crown Fellowship from The Aspen Institute. She also served on the New England Finance Committee for President Barack Obama.
Here are Scarcelli's tips for making a fulfilling life for herself and those she loves.
1. Establish priorities.
Leaders often struggle with what comes first. Scarcelli notes you must prioritize work or family. Once you establish that, then everything can be worked around that understanding. "My husband, Thom, and I decided family was first so we built our life around making work fit with family, not the other way around," noted Scarcelli. "It's critical to ask yourself the question, 'What are my values and how do I want to live?' It is a conscious choice to live by your values. Be prepared to re-evaluate how you accomplish this as your kids grow. Your values won't change, but your specific priorities will evolve."
2. Limit work at home.
It is not uncommon for busy business leaders to need out-of-office time to work on major projects. However Scarcelli sets boundaries to avoid disruption of much-needed family time. "Keep work limited when you are home. Be present. There is nothing more wasteful than being there and not being present," she emphasized. "Everyone feels it and you have squandered your precious 'face time.'"
3. Establish routines.
"Everyone is more relaxed when they can expect what's next," said Scarcelli. She suggested that creating a daily ritual or routine will help manage time and expectations. "We have been having family dinner most nights since my children were in their high chairs. It doesn't take more than 20 minutes a day to stop, be grateful, be present and stay connected. Breakfast works too. When sports or work interfere, make it reading time, bath time, or some other daily event you can ritualize."
4. Relax with those you love.
Everyone needs stress relief at some point during the day or week. While family can add to that stress, Scarcelli suggests making your family a part of your relaxation rituals. "When your kids are older, bike or walk with them," she recommended. "Turn your kids onto yoga when they are teenagers or run with them. Family movie night has been one of our beloved routines for years."
5. Make the most of the opportunities.
As leaders progress in their careers, they may find time with family rather scarce. That is why Scarcelli emphasizes the importance of making the most out of those small moments. "BE intentional. Don't take making life pleasurable and family centered for granted. Make a plan," she urged.
6. Make memories.
You want to look back on your life with pride and love. Scarcelli notes that it is crucial to be there for your children and partner's major professional or personal events to establish these previous, shared moments. "Prioritize being with your children for consistent rituals when they are young and their important events by the time they are 7 to 8. They remember if you were there as they get older," she noted.
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