We had the good fortune of connecting with Margaret Meloni and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Margaret, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I have spent quite a bit of time considering the magic formula to work/life balance. And I learned that there is actually a formula that applies to ALL of us. The formula is … The formula is what YOU make it. I cannot tell you exactly how many hours to work and how many hours to play or spend with family. It is a personal decision. It depends on your values and it changes. YOU know when you are not achieving the right balance. You feel off. You are tired, and annoyed, and concerned that you are missing out on things. I revisit my own work/life balance formula. a few times each year. There might be times during the year when I do not mind putting in some extra evenings and weekends in order to meet a specific goal. There are also times during the year when I would rather not work extra. When the sunsets become later in the day, I want to enjoy some of that sunlight. When I was brand new in the workforce I was eager to work and to learn and to get ahead. I worked for many hours. My co-workers were my friends and when we were not working we went out after hours. Almost all of my time was just one long workday. And often weekends too. There have been times in my life where although I enjoyed my work it was more important for me to spend time with family and friends away from the office and away from my electronic leashes. There have been times where I worked 70-hour weeks and was completely happy and there have been times when I worked 40-hour weeks and was completely happy. The key was that my workweek fit my definition of work/life balance. Once, before I worked for myself, I visited a potential employer after lunch on a Friday. The elevator was packed with employees from this specific organization. MOST of them were complaining about working yet another weekend. They were comparing notes on how long it had been since they had an entire weekend off. I don’t think I am a slacker, but I also knew that at the time in my life, that type of demand was not appealing to me. Now, if I do work multiple weekends in a row, it is for my own business. And I still might not love it, but I made the call to take on the work that required overtime. I only do this when it advances my specific goals. Of course, it is easier to be happy when your definition of work/life balance fits with those to whom you are closest. As my parents aged, I was happy to be able to take more time to be with them. Even if it was just stopping early enough to check-in with a phone call. If your idea of work/life balance does not consistently match the idea of those you love, you might look up one day and find that you have work, but no life.
What should our readers know about your business?
There were many times when I was ready to go back to work for someone else. And each time, I would receive a call to create a course, or to teach a course, or to come be a speaker. This was great, but I was determined that I was going to coach IT, professionals, and project managers. And I did. But finally one day, after freaking out over how to build my coaching practice, I received another call – to teach. And it finally hit me – I am a teacher. I share that because if I had remained so intent on being one specific thing, I would have missed the opportunity to follow a path that I loved, and that allowed me to be of service to many others. I came to see that teaching can be a form of group coaching. And I loved seeing my students go off and do amazing work. I still love that. The common wisdom is that you should NOT dilute your brand. Do not confuse people. Like many others, I have more than one interest, So yes, I teach people how to be amazing project managers AND I am also a human being, and willing to share my life stories with you. One of those stories is about how I learned to make friends with death My current challenge is to move forward with teaching death awareness and to build an audience that is ready to have difficult discussions. If you are looking for an overall theme here, let’s go with evolution. As business owners, and human beings, we need to grow, and change, and evolve and be ready for our next act.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A week in SoCal. How fun! Let’s go down to San Diego and visit Old Towne. And there needs to be tacos and cerveza and margaritas. Once we walk that off, we can come back up the coast, and perhaps stop for sunset cocktails at the Montage. Or for something more casual, make sure that we visit the downtown area of Laguna Beach and pop into some galleries. If you are looking for a beach visit, Crystal Cove is a beautiful choice. Of course, we need to spend time in Long Beach. We can take a gondola ride through the Naples canals, and stroll Second Street in Belmont Shore and find just about any kind of cuisine that we are craving. A visit to Shoreline Village, plus checking in on the otters at the Aquarium of the Pacific is a necessity. We can also take a historic tour (or the haunted tour) of the Queen Mary. An overnight trip or a day trip to Catalina Island would be fun. For first-timers, a tour of the island and sighting Bison is fun. And either snorkeling or a glass-bottom boat, because the water is so clear. Brave of heart? There is an amazing ziplining tour too. The Santa Monica pier is a fun destination. If you enjoy walking you can stroll on the path over to Venice. In both locations, there are great people-watching, and plenty of excellent choices for food and beverages. The Getty has beautiful views and captivating art exhibits. For extra ‘Getty’ check out the original location in Malibu too. You may want to drive up the coastline to Malibu and check out the beach houses of the rich and famous. Actually, for museum lovers Los Angeles, has plenty to offer, Los Angeles County Musuem of Art, the Natural History Museum, and you can see the space shuttle Endeavor at the California Science Center. Go to downtown Los Angeles and visit BOTh China Town and Olvera Street. There is much to do and see. Yet, with a week, it is tempting to visit San Francisco. You can take a nice long scenic drive to the city by the bay. And if you love wine, don’t forget to make time for Napa Valley. Or, if you stay in SoCal, there is Temecula and also Santa Ynez. Which reminds me, Carlsbad is a fun visit to a Danish village. Definitely touristy – but this about being a tourist. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Along the way, I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing organizations and people. For teaching, I have always considered Marty Wartenberg to be my mentor = somehow he decided that I could teach and that I could develop courses, and so I believed him. https://www.linkedin.com/in/marty-wartenberg-5809401/ I also owe a debt of gratitude to Varaz Shahmirian https://www.linkedin.com/in/varaz-shahmirian-b4abb85/ and Stephane Muller https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanemuller8/ for continuing to give me new and interesting opportunities to teach. And, Dr. Lewis Lancaster to keep my going on my path to my Phd in Buddhist Studies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Lancaster When it came to writing, once again someone showed up who believed that I could do it, and he led me through the process of writing a book. Special thanks to Azul Terronez of Authors Who Lead .https://authorswholead.com/
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