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Finding a sustainable work+family rhythm

Today we're featuring an email interview with Becky Hammond | Founder + Strengths Maven at isogostrong.com. Becky is a work-from-home professional and full time homemaker and has been for several years. You'll enjoy her take on finding a happy and healthy work+family rhythm.


Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, and your business:

Just about 11 years ago, both my family life and work life was changed forever. My husband David and I discovered a language that transformed the way we communicated, connected and supported each other, and even more importantly, dramatically changed the landscape of our repeating conflicts. That language dripped into my career in healthcare marketing and into my entire life!


Today, largely thanks to the Strengths-perspective and the power of the StrengthsFinder language, David and I have been happily married for almost 18 years, we have a fantastic {and large?!} brood of kids, and I am living in work that I love.


I live and breathe my company’s mission of “fueling life-changing stories through the power of YOUR unique and brilliant Strengths” and bring a unique family-first approach to my StrengthsFinder® work with corporations and individuals {isogostrong.com}. I thrive on writing, team building, creating awesome resources, winning, hearing big ah-ha moments, connecting over coffee, podcasting, adventuring with our four kids...and a healthy dose of decaf coffee and chocolate!


Why did you choose to pursue a home-based career?



We lived in Japan for the first 3 years after we had our first {+ second} baby. I will be forever grateful for the Greater Plan that put a pause on work after having a baby. Being home with our kids, exploring the world, and building lasting relationships in Japan {the city of Isogo--thus the name of my biz!} gave me the silence + space to get to the bottom of what I wanted life to look like when we returned to the States.


By the time we were poised to return, I had both sorrow in my heart for what we would leave and excitement in my step about what was beginning. I knew I needed to share the power of the Strengths-perspective


and StrengthsFinder language, and even more so, I knew that I wanted David and I to be the primary influencers in our kids’ lives. That is the driving force of my decision.


Within three weeks of our return, I was across the country getting certified as a Gallup Strengths Coach, and just like that, my home-based work began.


How do you mentally approach the synthesis of work + family?

I have absolutely had some significant mental and emotional breakdowns about my work + family rhythm. {Ask David if you want the gory details!} It is a challenge! But it is a challenge that I love to fight through.


Mentally, I am both 100% committed to my work and 100% committed to giving it all up if it’s not working for our fami


ly. I devote a lot of mental energy and prayer to assessment on how both are going. When the family life feels good, my mind is freed to continue on!

On a day to day basis, I have learned that I need separate mental spaces for work and for my family. Some people are really good at putting out excellent work while their kids are playing at their feet. That is not m


e. When I have tried to do them in tandem, both my work and my mental dissonance about the time with my kids has suffered.


I believe in both parts of my life so strongly -- work + family -- that in order to do one without forsaking the other, I have to allocate separate times for them. It’s the only way I can make it mentally through my rhythm!


What are some techniques you use to plan your work + family schedules in a way that is beneficial to your business and family?

I recently shared my work-life balance strategies as a miniseries in our IsogoTV video podcast. You can tune in at this link. Instead of imagining my work and family as existing in a balance, it helps me to imagine them in a rhythm.


A balance can get thrown off by even the slightest movement of one of the parts. A rhythm allows for the flexibility in the flow of the season or the day. It proves more resilient. Less crazy-making.


When that rhythm becomes off-kilter in my work and my family, I walk through a process to assess and makes some changes. I looks something like this:

  • Envisioning what the ideal rhythm looks and feels like

  • Identifying what is “off” and out of sync

  • Setting priorities by what energizes and drains me

  • Saying Yes to the right things and Having the courage to say No to the others

  • Pulling in someone else to keep me accountable

  • Making a baby step change

  • Stepping back to assess how it feels now!

Each of these steps becomes even more powerful as I intentionally tailor them to my Strengths {so the process for me looks different than the process for others}. I am not always great at following my own steps...but when I am disciplined enough to do so, it sure does pay off!


How do you manage your work + family expectations?

My father-in-law says,“The difference between expectation and reality is frustration.” In our house, setting expectations is all about closing that gap and minimizing frustration.

Running a home-based business heightens the need for communication in order to close that gap. Almost nightly, David and I review our next-day calendar and be sure we are synced to support each other.


There are times when I blow through the schedule and have way more to do than time scheduled to do it. There are times when David isn’t home when he expected. Sometimes these little things get to us. But the more quickly we communicate, and the more grace we extend to each other, the more quickly we can work through it and re-adjust.


What have you had to let go of as a work-from-home professional?

I used to craft and sew and create a lot. I had a photo album for every year. About a year ago, I finally came to terms with the fact that I had to let go of those things in order to succeed at work, be present for my kids, and stay sane.


I still find outlets for my creativity in my time with the kids {like baking and coloring and crafting} and in my time at work {creating resources, working through problems, coming up with team activities}, and I still make time to create when it benefits people around me, but I definitely had to say “no” to the smaller loves in my life to make room for the bigger loves.


What have you gained? How has that made your life better?

Yesterday morning, I took my daughter to school, put my baby down for a nap and played in the leftover snow


piles out front with my preschooler and toddler. I lingered in the moments with them and savored them. It felt abundant.


After lunch, I worked the rest of the day in my basement home office--writing stories and connecting with people to help them see how their Strengths can transform the most important relationships in their lives. The hours flew by, and I relished them. It felt satisfying.


When I doubt my choice, when it seems too hard to manage all the competing priorities, when it seems there are not enough hours in the day, I remember days like yesterday. I remember that being an at-home mom makes me love and focus in my work even more, and the hours I spend at work make the moments connecting with my kids even more treasured.


That is what I have gained---the gift of both loving my work and treasuring the time with my kids


If you're interested in learning more about using your strengths in your business and family, you can find Becky at www.isogostrong.com or on Instagram @isogostrong.



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