April Leite

How I Created Balance and Redefined Success for My Life

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We hear it all the time:  ‘She has it all,’ or ‘she is so lucky she has her dream job!’  But what does it mean to have it all?  Can anyone have it all, and balance the perfect career, life and love?  Personally, I get frustrated when I hear people say she has anything.  No one just has a career, a relationship, or a perfect body.  They work for it.  They are not lucky - they have put in the necessary time and energy to yield their desired outcome.  Period.  It’s not easy, it’s not magical, and what is ideal for one person may not be ideal for another.  The key to success and happiness is not the pursuit of perfection.  It’s about achieving your individual, personal balance.

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The first step in achieving balance is deciding what you really want in life, which is not as easy as it may sound.  People often look at what others have, or what they have achieved in their careers, and think, ‘That looks amazing, I wish I had that.’  But again, all too often people look outwards instead of inwards to fulfill the desire of what they perceive to be considered successful.  Why envy the woman who owns the Five Star restaurant if you yourself are not the type of individual who enjoys working nights, holidays and weekends?  Just because he or she is happy with his or her  specific career choices does not mean that you would be too if you were to follow in their exact footsteps.  

Keep in mind that your dreams can also change, and that’s okay too.  What may be your idea of a ‘dream job’ at age 25 may no longer fulfill you at age 35.  And if that turns out to be the case, there is nothing wrong with that.  When people are open to the possibility of change, they are less susceptible to feelings of disappointment or failure.  Personally, I have never subscribed to the idea of anyone having a failed career.  Rather, I like to think that they chose, or circumstances chose for them, a new path.

There are many career paths to choose from; Some people choose one career and stick with it until retirement, while others may have five different careers over the course of their lifetime.  When trying to achieve balance, it’s important to keep in mind that priorities often shift within a lifetime.  The woman who owns the Five Star restaurant may suddenly decide that working nights and weekends may not be conducive to having a family.  She may sell the restaurant and decide to work part time teaching cooking classes so she may spend more time with her kids.  Does that mean her career as a restaurateur was a failure?  Of course not.  She is finding her own balance between career and family and making new choices in order to achieve happiness.  On the same note, if that woman decided to continue working full time while starting a family does that make her any more or less successful as a parent or career woman?  Once again, the answer in my opinion is a resounding NO.  The perfect balance between career and family for one person will not always resemble the perfect balance for another.

When it comes to personal fitness and ideas of beauty, those standards can be just as varied as career choices.  Personally, I have been as small as a size 2 and as large as a size 12.  For me to maintain a size 2, I need to work out 5-6 nights a week for at least 2 hours a night.  I did exactly that for a few years and I absolutely loved it.  One day I decided that I was spending so much time at the gym however, I felt as if I was missing out on a social life.  My priorities shifted and as they shifted so did my definition of balance.

 All too often people look outwards instead of inwards to fulfill the desire of what they perceive to be considered successful.

Today I fluctuate between a size 6 and a size 8 but I am comfortable in my skin.  My exercise comes in the form of walking several miles every day.  My husband and I have our own dog walking business so we get to walk together, and spend a great deal of time together during the day, while we work and exercise at the same time.  My evenings are now free for my writing and I get to socialize with friends and family as well.  Some will look at my choices and say, ‘You are so lucky, you get to be outside all day, and play with dogs, and walk through the park with your husband, while I am stuck in an office.’  However, those same people may not be so envious when it is pouring rain outside or there happens to be 6 inches of snow on the ground.  Those things don’t bother me so much because for me, at this point in my life, part of balancing my life, love, and career means being able to stay fit while owning my own business and working with my husband.  Being able to make my own schedule is also high on my list of priorities which is another perk of becoming your own boss.  Now I am certainly not suggesting that anyone quit their day job and become a dog walker.  All jobs have their risks and downsides and dog walking/pet-sitting is certainly not for everyone.  What I am suggesting is this: you can create the life you have always dreamed about and you can achieve a balance with your career, life and love when you look within yourself as opposed to looking at others.

Remember that life is full of possibilities and dreaming never has to end.  You can have more than one dream and, if one dream does not come to fruition the way you had originally intended it to, then dream a new dream.  There are no failed dreams in life only shifts in their outcome.  Stop measuring your own success by other people’s standards .  You are an individual living a life with circumstances that are specific to you.  As life evolves, so will your priorities.  If you are able to adapt to those changes, then you can find balance, happiness, and success.  You can have it all when you work at what is important to you.  Most importantly however, is that you realize that the only measure of success carrying any weight is your own.  Be open to the possibility of change and you will always be able to achieve balance.

 

I am originally from Massachusetts. I went to Barry University in Miami where I received a BA in Communications. I started my Masters at Fort Valley State in Education and finished at the University of Phoenix. I have published two children’s books, have a novel coming out in the spring, and I currently own and operate pupwalks.com. I currently live in Manhattan with my husband and our two dogs

 

 

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