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Juggling Is Not Just For The Circus

Have you ever felt like you have too many balls in the air and you’re trying your best to juggle them all so that you don’t drop any of them? Maybe I should rephrase that question from, “have you EVER felt that way?” to “HOW MANY TIMES have you felt that way?” Right?

Recently I had an offsite with my team at work. We spent the first day presenting our 2017 plans and sharing some best practices across the team. We spent the second day doing something I thought would be a fun way to combine team comradery with a skill we all need every day. We learned to juggle! Since we’re always juggling - work, family, friends, hobbies, community involvement, etc…- I thought we should try to learn how to do it right! Turns out juggling 3 balls is just as hard (maybe harder) as juggling life.

As a working mom of 3 “almost” grown up girls (24, 21 and 15), I feel like I know how to juggle quite well. Even before I became a mom, I felt like I was always juggling things in my life. That’s just how I am – I like to stay busy, stay connected and stay social. Turns out, I have been learning juggling lessons all my life, but I think some of the biggest and most impactful lessons occurred in college during my time in Delta Zeta.

I rushed the sorority in my freshman year because I was looking for a group I could connect with. I remember going through Rush and meeting so many amazing young woman, some of which would become lifelong friends. Some people don’t like Rush, they find it repetitive and draining, but I enjoyed it! I liked talking to so many different people and hearing their stories. Learning about their interests, backgrounds and hobbies energized me! As I think back on those college experiences, and my more recent juggling lessons, I want to share some tips and advice that I’ve learned along the way and some things that might make juggling life’s tasks a little easier.

Value the Talents of Others: People are who they are. It’s important to love and respect the talents that every person brings to the table. I look across my current team at work and I see team members who are analytical and can manipulate data like no others, some who are creative and artistic, a few who have amazing project management skills that keep us organized, and others who offer humor to make us laugh and keep us sane. Each individual contributes to the team in their own unique way. Relying on each other, and the expertise that each person brings, is what makes the team work best. Teamwork is important – so don’t be afraid to ask for help, advice and guidance from other team members. When you rely on others for their expertise, you’ll have more time to juggle your own duties.

Communication is Important: In today’s world it’s so easy to connect in other ways besides talking to people. But I have to say - the good old fashioned way of communicating – talking face to face, and having a conversation, still trumps sending emails or keeping up via posts on social media. Sure, I understand that sending emails is the way we now communicate. Each day I look at my inbox at work and judge how productive I am by how many unread emails I have left! But sometimes, the most progress comes from talking to people. So communicate, talk, speak up!

Don’t be worried that what you say isn’t going to matter, because it usually does! What you have to say will contribute to the conversation and may spark others to share ideas and expand the conversation. Many times, I look back on the day and realize how many people I met with, the decisions we made, the ideas we generated, the stories we exchanged, and believe those interactions were what made the difference, made us move forward. One less email to write makes juggling my email inbox a little easier!

You Get Out of it What You Put into it: I believe that if you are committed, involved, and invested in what you are doing, you will reap the benefits of the experience. Every opportunity is one to learn and grow. I made Delta Zeta a priority while I was in college. I had other responsibilities too – school, work, family. I did not join the sorority because it was expected of me, I did it because I loved it. I loved the people, the activities, the sisterhood, and the fun we had together. I realized that you have to invest yourself and be committed to doing the job, showing up and participating. And, if you don’t enjoy it, then maybe it is not for you, and you can move on and do something else. It is the same in other parts of our lives. Make the most of every experience and if you don’t like it, move on and find something that makes you tick. Juggle something else!

Failing is Freedom: We all fail along the way. That is how we learn! I know that is cliché, and you’ve heard it a million times, but… never bad to hear it again, and get it in your head that it is true, so don’t shy away from that lesson! How many times have you looked back and said something like “20/20 is hindsight” or “I wish I knew then what I know now”? Learning is just part of life and mistakes are the stepping stones to success. At the team offsite, as we learned to juggle, one of the lessons was “if you drop the ball, just pick it up and try again” (in my case, it was try again & again & again and… again!). That is how you learn, so embrace the mistakes and learn from them.

Set Goals and Chart a Path: I am a strong believer in planning, but I really like to execute. However, I have realized that if you don’t plan, it is hard to figure out what you will execute. But, the funny thing about plans is… they can ALWAYS be changed. Just because it is on paper does not mean that you will do it, but it does give you something to aim for, and if along the way you change course, it is probably because you learned something new and needed to pivot (had to use that word, because that is what people like to say these days).

This year, my team offsite was learning to juggle. Last year we spent some time at an improv theater. The next offsite we may learn how to swing on a trapeze. I’m seeing a theme here … life is a circus!. But, the master jugglers are not always in the circus, they are your family members, your teammates, your sisters… they are YOU! Embrace the juggle - learn from the experience and have fun!

As members of Delta Zeta, the Theta Rho chapter remains committed toward personal development and enrichment through staying Truly Connected to our outstanding network of alumnae. Holly Bowyer was president of the Theta Rho Chapter of Delta Zeta at CSULA where she graduated in 1985. She lives in Pasadena with her husband, 3 girls, and a few pets. Currently she is the VP of Portfolio Marketing at YP, The Real Yellow Pages, in Glendale, CA, where she oversees product marketing, voice of the customer research, messaging, positioning, and content and event marketing efforts. She has spent most of her career in media. Prior to YP she managed her own marketing consulting company, Media Marketing Minds. At Yahoo she managed the B2B marketing team and also spent a number of years at the Los Angeles Times, heading up the Advertising Marketing team.

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