3 Principles That Help Working Women Win The 4 Parts Of Life

How can working women "win" at all the four key aspects of their lives (work, family, self and community), rather than having to give up on some of it?

How can working women “win” at all the four key aspects of their lives (work, family, self and community), rather than having to give up on some of it? 

Work-life balance always seems elusive for working women. There was a lot of debate on social media and women’s forums when Pepsi CEO, Indira Nooyi expressed her view that “Women cannot have it all.

Here is a different perspective.

“You don’t need to try for balance. You can learn to do something better,” says Prof. Stew Friedman of Wharton School, Pennsylvania University.

Four-Way Wins & Total Leadership

In his book Total Leadership, Prof. Friedman explains three principles that can help us integrate the four domains in our life – work, family, self and community, achieve satisfaction in all the four domains and become better leaders with richer lives.

In Four Way Winsmy career as a banker, I am proud of my growth and achievements; yet, there have been several moments of guilt, despair and frustration at not being able to spend time with family, or missing out on social occasions.I have been so enthusiastic about work that I have pushed myself beyond limits, leading to health issues.

I still remember my daughter’s school annual day function which was also the day of audit in my branch. I was under tremendous stress.  I took three hours off from work to rush to my daughter’s school, watch her act in a play and win prizes, then rushed back to office to work till late in the night.

I have seen several talented women colleagues making a compromise – letting go of their career to take care of their small children. There were others who compromised on family and personal health, as they wanted to prove their performance at work. I have seen that any compromise leads to stress, frustration and deterioration of health.

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now

When I attended the Total Leadership program offered online by Prof. Stew Friedman, I wished I had learnt these principles earlier – and now wish that more women experience this learning to make their lives better.

The three principles that help us become better leaders with richer lives are:

Be Real – Act with authenticity

In this section, we reflect and learn to understand our selves better and what we want in life.

  • What are our core values?
  • What is important for us?
  • What is our leadership vision?
  • What is the importance we give to the four domains? How much time do we spend on each of our domains? What is our level of satisfaction?

Be Whole – Act with integrity

This section helps us understand why we need to integrate the four domains.

When we are unsatisfied in the family domain, we find that it adds to our stress at work.

When we can’t find time for exercise and relaxation, it leads to lower efficiency at work.

So how do we find time for all the four domains? – Work, family, self and community?

We begin by exploring the following questions:

  • Who are our stakeholders in all the four domains?
  • How do they impact our vision?
  • What are the expectations of stakeholders from us?
  • What are our expectations from our stakeholders?
  • How can we engage with our stakeholders and win their support for our collective vision?

Be Innovative – Act with creativity

This is the fun part. We learn to design experiments that can help us make small improvements in our lives; implement the ideas for three weeks with measurable success.

One of my experiments was to block time for fun with family; another classmate negotiated with her employers that she would go home early one day in a week to spend time with her daughter.  It was fun sharing our experiences and learning several ideas from others.

An online course useful to women

Why do I recommend this course for women?

  1. The video lectures and assignments help us reflect, understand, experiment and share our learning
  2. We learn to give and receive feedback and learn from the experiences of others.
  3. The discussion forums are intellectually stimulating; we are able to connect with people from various professions across the globe and learn from each other.

How do we find time for the course?

The Better Leader, Richer Life course is offered online on Coursera – we have a week’s time to view the video lectures and do the exercises. The course was such fun, and so inspiring and enlightening that we used to wait eagerly for the next week’s lectures. This course will help you invest in yourself for ten weeks and take you on a leadership journey where you can improve not only your satisfaction with life but also make a difference to others.

What is the course fee?

This is a world class course offered absolutely free. (If you want a verified certificate for your CV, you pay a nominal amount).  The good news is that due to popular demand the second session of the course starts on October 5th.  

Warm wishes to all my women readers for achieving satisfaction in all the four domains in life and making a difference to this world!

Pic credit: Orangebrompton (Used under a CC license)


About the Author

Vanaja Shankar

Author of book, Hello Banker. Founder, Trainer at Banxzu training and development solutions. 23 years of banking experience, 13 years training experience read more...

8 Posts | 29,896 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

All Categories