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Something has to give...

career mindset Aug 12, 2022

I read Serena Williams's incredible letter to Vogue about her announcement that she's moving on from her tennis career. I'm in tears.

Ms. Williams writes, "Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family...

...But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give."

I find Ms. Williams's letter timely for several reasons.

I’m currently working with an executive at one of the big four consulting firms who has been with her company for over two decades. She’s now a mother of two under the age of 10 and as much as she wants to stay with her job, the demanding work schedule conflicts with her desire to prioritize her family life.

Her work circumstances make boundaries impossible because her job requires her to be on call 24/7 to respond to emergencies, and the organizational structure prevents her from hiring more people.

I, like Ms. Williams and my client, found myself in a dilemma two years ago where I knew my current business model was not permitting me to have the work-life balance I was seeking and my burnout was getting the best of me.

Often we might love our careers or businesses, but we hit a point where things are no longer working and "something has to give".

I wish US businesses were more conducive to a balanced work life, but sometimes we have to leave what we once loved to move on to something that honors our needs at the moment.

I love that Ms. Williams shared in the vulnerable statement, "Praise to these people, but I’m going to be honest. There is no happiness in this topic (of retiring) for me. I know it’s not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain. It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine."

I know my client is experiencing a lot of pain leaving a company and people that she loves. For myself, I had to mourn that my past business structure was no longer working.

Yet, there is so much excitement and hope moving forward.

Ms. Williams shares that she's excited to move on to her work with Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm supporting people and businesses that she believes in.

My client is enthusiastic at the prospect of working for a small boutique consulting firm which has an organization structure and workload that permits more work-life balance.

I'm thrilled that I'm shifting to a business structure that allows me to hire talented associates to serve clients and a membership site that lowers the barrier of access to my coaching materials. 

While Ms. Williams, my client, and I all had to give up something and experience pain and loss, we are letting something else come in (Family). My hat is off to Ms. Williams for her vulnerable piece and sharing all the pain and excitement of this transition. I know many of us can relate.


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