HomeBlogWork Hard, Play Hard. Enjoy Both!

Work Hard, Play Hard. Enjoy Both!

How do women in high post, high-stress, demanding leadership positions often find work-life balance and achieve challenging goals? While the excitement of being in charge can be a great motivator to succeed, the responsibilities of leading a business on top of the responsibilities in your personal life can easily wear you down. How do they separate work and play, or even combine them in their lives? In this new series, we speak to women in top career posts to offer insights and advice and inspire you to enjoy both worlds.

Please describe yourself in one word

PASSIONATE. Passionate to work. Passionate to whatever I believe in and in attaining the goals I set no matter how. Passionate in my beliefs and ‘Never Giving Up’ until my beliefs are realised. Passionate to family. Family harmony is vital to a happy family. My goal is to ensure there is harmony as my two sons are married and I have to ensure my daughter-in-laws are happy too by not interfering in their lives but showing them I care and love them by bonding with the grandchildren and taking care of the family without impositions or conditions.

What do you think has been a key factor in your success?

A strong belief in myself that I will succeed so long I backed it with “Love and Gratitude”. Love for compassion, Love for sharing, Love for fairness, and Love for teaching. Gratitude for the opportunities, Gratitude for the loyal staff members who serve the company and Gratitude for those who have helped us.

What do you think is the biggest barrier for women in the job field today?

When women get married and have children, they leave their job to look after the kids. So, how can corporations invest in women versus men for management development? Working is a continuous process of learning and upgrading oneself, how much time does a woman invest in learning versus in retail therapy? Woman need to hone their skills, read the business news, know what is happening globally as all these global economic changes affect business. Woman need to be relevant to the changing times and needs. They need to be aware and to be alert so they can make recommendations that are relevant today.

What are the best and hardest things about being a woman in a top position?

Best thing is you are recognised for your abilities. Recognition is essential for one’s well being. Hardest? There is none so long as you are natural, you are knowledgeable, you are on top of things, you are able to perform, and you lace it with charm and feminity. We will get more respect than barrier.

It is only when you approach with aggressiveness, pride, self prejudiced and ‘needing to prove yourself’ that you face barriers. Mostly, in today’s world men are more open so long we do not challenge them unreasonably; barriers can be broken down and you harness respect instead.

Hardest thing when you are at the top is to balance between home and work. You always have to ensure you are on top of things so there is harmony. You need dedicated people around you so you can trust them to assist you attain this balance (be it the maid, your secretary, your managers and staff).

What’s your view on “women can have it all?”

I believe a woman can have it all provided ‘they can give it all before having it all.’

How do you blend your work and life to achieve the life you desire?

You have to work in many compartments so that you are able to solve each issue or problem but compartmentalise it.

You should not push your problems or your family but you can communicate with them to attain their understanding. With understanding comes support and acceptance. As you grow in your career, you too need to upgrade your family lifestyle with better education for your children, talking with them and the bonding will assist you tremendously to attain the life you desire. You must always be sure-footed and be down to earth and be real and be true to yourself and your family.

What do you do to unwind during your free time?

I play with the kids, laugh with them, cook for them. Take a run on the grass barefooted to release the electric charges in our body, to grow organic vegetables in our garden with the children so they can see it grow. Harvest the vegetables and take delight in eating it as it is so fresh and sweet. I also read romantic novels and watch dramas.

How do you manage stress?

When you are stressed, relax, sleep well, watch a movie or do some cooking for the family. The best is to sleep well for 8 to 10 hours and you wake up fresh. If you have lived the values stated above, you will face limited stress from work or family.

If stress is from world economy changes, then you need to review your strategies, you need to reconsolidate your position and look for alternative solutions and action plans that can help the business. If you are in business all these problems are bound to happen, so your mindset has to be ready to accept and meet the challenges. I will not look at it as stress but as challenges that can be converted to business opportunities.

What’s the best advice you ever received?

The best advice I received is from the books I read which influenced me a lot in my living. The books are: The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die by John Izzo and Hidden Messages of Water by Masaru Emoto.

What’s your advice for women out there?

Be Yourself, Believe in Yourself. You must take the trouble to look after yourself, stay beautiful but do not be vain. Always be positive and become LOVE itself.

Describe yourself in one word

PERCEPTIVE: The easiest way I would define perceptiveness is in my ability to sense and understand everything that happens around me, filter them and act upon them objectively to create valuable and meaningful outcomes. As a mother and a career woman, there are so many different circumstances coming towards me at every moment of the day and I realised that I have to stay calm so that I can continuously care about my personal needs, as well as the needs of my family and the needs of everyone around me.

What do you think has been a key factor in your success?

In my early years, I have been inspired by my parents. The discipline and tenaciousness they have taught me helped drive the passion for me to succeed. And as a young adult, I have been guided by many good mentors in my career path. My moral compass has never wavered and coupled with firm self-discipline and perseverance inculcated in my formative years, I saw that I could adapt myself to any situation. Wherever I am, I was prepared.

My husband and I share many similar ideals. We hold deep respect for each other, and we give each other healthy doses of unconditional love and personal space. We both love to spoil our children but maintain a firm yet caring family atmosphere.

Looking across the job field today, what do you think is the biggest barrier for women?

The biggest barrier for women is the lack of confidence to take on the leadership role and not taking enough responsibility in advocating their own success. This fear could be due to the perception that they will lose the work life balance if they choose to pursue career advancement. I believe that when opportunity knocks, grab it and make the best of it. The key to having the best of both worlds is to set goals that really matter, and work on them first and forget about the rest because they will work themselves out. For example, when you plan to be with your children, nothing else supersedes their needs.

What has been the best and hardest thing about being a women in a top position?

The hardest thing is the guilt that you feel whenever you don’t spend enough time with your loved ones. It is therefore my goal to try to achieve my personal goals while trying to involve friends and family. In this way, I am not multi-tasking, rather achieving more by doing less.

What’s your view on “women can have it all”?

Yes, women can have it all if we maintain balance in all the aspects of life.

How do you blend your work and life to achieve the life you desire?

Work life balance has different meaning to different people. Some think it’s the flexibility of time or having more time with the family. For me, a positive meaning to work life balance has to do with achievement and fulfilment. As a nutritionist, if my work can bless one more person with a healthy body and my words can bless another with a happy heart, then I have achieved the life I have desired.

What do you do to unwind during your free time?

To unwind, I watch Korean Dramas. And in the weekends, I learn and refine my Penang Nyonya recipes.

How do you manage stress?

By finding a quiet spot, sitting down, closing my eyes for 10 minutes, and breathing in and out slowly helps with managing my stress. By controlling my sugar, salt, oil and carbohydrate intake, I free my body from physical stress.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

Health is wealth. You can’t achieve anything without physical and emotional wealth. Surround yourself with good friends, be close to your family members and pursue a clear spiritual path. After all, health is not limited to physical health but also social, mental and spiritual health.

What’s your best piece of advice for women out there?

If you are a working mom, don’t feel guilty of not spending enough time with your children. Let every moment be a treasured one. This will be difficult especially when we are tired. Find ways to be energetic with good nutrition and healthy living habits. Just being there for your children is good enough. Remember, it’s about quality time and don’t count on the number of hours.

If you are a career woman, pursue a leadership position without sacrificing your personal moral values, ethics and health.

To all women, the grass is always greener on the other side. While all of us are facing daily challenges unique to our lifestyle choices (marital choices, career choices etc.), our strength lies in being comfortable in our own skin, facing the shortfalls that come with each choice and loving ourselves totally and unconditionally.

Where would you like to see yourself five years from now?

Live in the present. Fall in love again with your present self. Nobody can predict what will happen tomorrow. So if we live with kindness, love and happiness right now, the future will shape itself to be everything we have ever wanted.

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