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Life Skills Life Skills

Achieving a Good Balance of Work vs Family

Marie Williams, DPM, DHL

**** This lecture is not available for CME ****

  • Author
  • Marie Williams, DPM, DHL

    Director, Podiatric Medical Education
    Aventura Hospital and Medical Center
    Aventura, FL

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  • Lecture Transcript
  • Hello. I’m going to actually give you a little bit of a lecture on a life skill lecture that says achieving a good balance of work versus family. Now, when I thought about that and I actually said, wow, this is going to be kind of fun to do. I hope that you have as much fun listening as I had putting it together. But when I thought of the word balance, right off the start, I wanted to let you know, I don’t really think that life is a real balance of equal balance anywhere, and it’s a give and take. So, we’ll go with that point of view and move on. Some of the objectives are here so you can just understand it like this. I’m going to really define what is life? You know? We don’t really define that. What is communication and work and play because that’s all included in our life skills of balancing our work and our family and what all that means. Well, I took the Webster dictionary meaning of life, and the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up existence of an individual. So, in case you weren’t living life, according to that definition, we all live life, right? And so, the skills of what we do all the time. Well, I looked at this definition of life and I looked at these two little pictures and I thought, well, these people are experiencing life in different ways but they definitely have their way of experiencing it whether it’s going to be putting on a pair of shoes that don’t fit and thinking that you should wear them or going out with a crazy look, you’re still trying to experience life in your own way. So, I wanted to just give you a view point of we all do things and we’ll have our own personal ways of experiencing that. Also, you look at life from a point of view of experiences whether you’re old or young, whether you’re playing a sport or you’re just hanging out. And everything that people do and everything that we do is some type of a life experience. You can graduate or you can have the enthusiasm of looking at something on a computer and being in awe of it no matter what age you are. And in this age, now, children of course are always experiencing that in every aspect. And we, you know, are always happy to see that we can have experiences with not only our kids and having our experiences in our office, also having or see our kids graduate from a college. And also, we’ve also experienced this type of stuff as children and as adults. Well, it’s important to have goals. I actually was in the Philadelphia 76ers’ locker room and this is of course the Flyers and I have nothing to do with the 6ers or the Flyers, but have the experience to be there at one point. And it was interesting goals. You know, you have long-term goals and short-term goals. And a long-term goal would be something that you’d say, gee, maybe you’re six years old and say I want to be a doctor. Or maybe if you have the idea you want to do something in the long-term goal. I had a goal when I was young to be able to play basketball and be in a really fancy team and one day, that came true for me. But it’s interesting if you sat down right now today and you put down on a piece of paper one of your short-term goals might be finish my residency program or get through my test as a short-term goal. But if you actually sat down and you wrote on a piece of paper today, what a long-term goal would be in your own profession and then turn around and look at it down the road, you’d probably be very surprised at how close you are to your ultimate goals. Because usually if you wish something and you work toward that wish, you usually get that wish. You probably wouldn’t be sitting in the room today if you didn’t have a goal of being a doctor. So you have to have goals. Personal achievement. You know, John Wooden once said, “Be true to yourself.” Well, you can’t have personal achievement until you’re true to yourself. That’s the very first thing. I think personal achievement also important because as a family member, as a worker, if you’re not achieving something personally for yourself, you can’t really help others. So, I think of that all the time is be true to yourself, who are you and what do you want to be when you’re working and you do those types of skills like I’m going to be the best resident, I’m going to be the best doctor. You wake up everyday saying that, you’ll find that you will achieve that personal goal and have that. So be true to yourself is really, really an important point. This was very big and the Philadelphia 76sers has an actual wall of statements. And this was John Wooden’s statements to the players.

    [04:59] And I use everything in my life based on a game and with sport because I did a lot of that and I use that idea in my own profession. And I never think of myself as a profession in male or a female profession. I can tell you that when I went to podiatrist school, my class had 13 women in it. But when I was there, I never really thought about us as male and females in a class, I thought of us as podiatrists. And our actual real achievement would be to go out and make better residency programs, become competitive in the orthopedic world. Make sure that the medical doctors know that we were here as a group that had a value to our profession. So, I remember being in a residency interview at the time. And this is probably not okay now but then, the question that I had was, and this is one of the very first questions, well, you’re a female and I went, wow, these guys are smart, yes. My answer, yes. And I said, okay, so here’s the number one question, what are you going to do if you have children? I sort of stepped back and I thought, wow, I haven’t been even gotten enough from trying to get a residency program but children thing is later, right? And I looked at the gentlemen who asked me that question and I said, okay, I’m going to answer that with a question if I may, what do you do? You have children, what do you do? I mean, I haven’t gotten that far yet but obviously, you must have that answer better than I. And he looked at me, he goes, what do you mean? I go, well, if you have children, how do you handle it? I can handle it the way you handled it. If you handled children, I can handle children. I wasn’t really thinking, oh, I was mom or a dad but as a professional, how did you handle your children. So, I actually had to laugh a little bit because I think that he was going to fall off his chair thinking that I would probably answer that question from a different point of view but my idea was, well, I’m going to handle children when they come and we’ll figure it out as it happens because my goal right now is to get through a residency program. So, we’ll talk more about the family in a second but I wanted you to know that everyday that we go to work as a resident or a student, we actually do an activity and this is a definition of the word work. I looked that up because I think everyday we work, do we really know what that means, right? So you have this, it’s an activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something. So you’re doing work all the time and to stay in a physical or mental effect to overcome obstacles and to achieve an objective or result, that’s work. Well, you know, one of the definitions that I know about being happy is overcoming known obstacles. So, work could be a very happy thing to do. Have you ever seen someone who didn’t work and couldn’t work? They’re not really happy people. So I think work is a really incredibly good thing. And here you are. One of the most important things about work is there’s no shortcuts. You’re trying to find shortcuts in doing your residency work or in your job or what you do, you won’t be happy. Just make sure that you become professional in what you do, no matter what you’re doing, professional as a parent, professional as a doctor. And make sure that there’s no shortcuts as you do it and you’ll become a very happy person. What is family? I had to look that up too. I thought, okay, let’s looked that definition up and it’s derived from Latin familia meaning spouse and children. But I like this other definition, group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head. Oh, I thought that’s kind of strange. I guess I have a lot of people in my family because people are always in my house under one roof and my husband’s always hanging around. So, I thought, well, we got a bigger family than we think but bottom line is this, what is family? You know, you have this group, this dynamic of people, always around in your homes. You’re part of that. And the most important thing about all of this, let me just back up for minute, and family is communication. And we’re going to get to that in a second. Your family is very important. But there’s no real balance. Well, do I get 50% to my family and 50% to my work or 50% to my profession? Not really. You have time, family time, and you have work time. And when you’re doing those things, you’re going to do them and do them well as you’re doing them. So, I say play because that’s really important. And when you look at it in a definition in the dictionary, it actually said conduct or a conduct or a course or action of a game. And it’s a spontaneous activity of children. And the other thing about plays is absence of serious or harmful intent. Well, I have to tell you that my life is based around work and play.

    [10:01] And I think that if I had to decide on balance between work and play, that would be more what I would like to talk about. But every time I work, I experience something that is form of an activity or an action that I make a game. And a game, if you look at a game and you look at how a game is played, you know, you have opponents, you have goals and purposes. And you actually are always trying to win in that game. So, that’s how I live life for example. If you’re taking someone to surgery, right, your team is your OR team. And you have to get all of those people in place to make sure that you’re successful in that game of surgery. So, I tell my techs in surgery, okay, here we are. Let’s set the stage for this game. I need all my equipment here. I need all my instrumentation here. I need my residents knowing what’s going on. I need everything done on time. See, we’re setting the stage for the game. The enemy to that game would be like not having anything, they’re having residents that aren’t in the room, maybe the patient doesn’t arrive. You see, that’s kind of like the opponent to the game. But, we try to win all our games. We are sort of like the heat, sizzling. I guess in Chicago, that would be a wrong thing to say, right? Okay. Anyway, so play, everybody gets out and play something non-serious. And everybody does an activity that you know what everyone else is doing. And that’s really important. Any kind of the game you play, you have to know what everybody is doing at all times. So, in life, that’s what we do, even on our family. I have a thing in my house that I have a rule that when we sit down for a dinner, and it might be once a week because we’re all running around, we actually communicate to the point where we say, okay, so what’s happening in this week, how many tests do you have to my children, or what do you have to have done? Do I need to do anything because I have this going on, I have that going on? I’m going to be out of town, where you’re going to be? We all communicate what’s happening. Just like a meeting in a business meeting because I think it’s important that everybody knows what everyone is doing at all times. This way, you keep everybody on track. Again, play in many directions, you insist the game, you want to win, you’re always in action. That’s what life is all about. Communication, I thought that that’s important because every single day, all the time, communication is a skill you must have. And if you want to have a good proper ability to balance life, you must be able to communicate. And people sometimes don’t communicate. Some people talk but they don’t really communicate, what does that mean? It’s to transmit information, thought or feelings so it is satisfactory received or understood. You know, you could actually talk at people or people can talk at you but you’re not really getting it. So when we communicate to each other, not only in my home but in my practice and everywhere, we make sure that each other understands what communication it is. It could be good or bad communication. We’re not saying that one way or another but it’s important that everyone understands everybody. And so here, you know, you have your team in the OR and you have your staff. Everyone needs to be in good communication with each other. You’re always actually doing that. The other thing is to respect others. It’s important in life especially with your life skills in balancing life that respecting each other and everyone around you is something that’s going make life faster, easier. It’s easier to work. It’s easier to have a family that communicates as long as you respect each other as individuals. I don’t care if it’s a two-year-old baby, a two-year-old child or a seventeen-year-old child or it’s another coworker. The respect is what’s really important. And then again, life is part of a game that has barriers. And you have to overcome those barriers. And when you do, you feel good. It could be a test that you’re trying to overcome. It could be another individual and communicating with them. It could be trying to take a child who has trouble and that’s a barrier or a problem and you try to help them get through that. So you want to overcome barriers. And then, wear your hat. You know, everyone has a hat. You have mom hat, a dad hat, a doctor hat. You might have a friend hat. So when you’re doing that job, do it. I have a rule that when, and I’m going to tell you a funny story, when I’m actually wearing the hat of a mom, I make sure I wear it. Now, what does that mean? There’s a thing that my daughter, when she’s very little, love to do. And I want to tell you personally that I hated this. I hated this more than anything in the whole world. I hated it when I was little and I hated it as a mom. And that’s playing with Barbie dolls.

    [15:04] But, I would tell her look, for one hour, this is your time. I don’t care what’s happening. It’s your time. Whatever you want to do, we’ll do it. And she’d say, okay, let’s play Barbie dolls. Oh, I would want to just die but I would take up the Barbie dolls and then we play it for one hour. That was her time and I did that. And it’s funny because my relationship with my family is very, very strong. And I know that it had a lot to do with the fact that I would take that time and be that person when I was being that person. And so, we would do this every week. I would do that with all my kids, one hour. Just because I was always so busy, I thought I’d give them quality time and I’d wear that hat as a mom hat. And one day, my daughter is playing and all of a sudden, she finally taps me on the shoulder and says, are we done yet? And remember how much I hated doing this. Are we done yet? I’m like what do you mean, you know, we have another 20 minutes or so, we can keep playing. She says, I really like to go out and play with my friend. You see, it was like all these years and I never knew she really didn’t like it as much as I didn’t like it. So there you go. Anyway, everybody should wear a hat and make sure you’re wearing it when you’re wearing it. Time management, okay, that’s important because you have to manage your time always. And I think make sure that it’s quality time. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend with what you’re doing but make sure that it’s quality when you’re doing it, whether it’s with your family member or with an employee or with your patients. You know, you can see a lot of patients and spend a lot of quality time but it doesn’t mean that it has to be a lot of time. So just make sure that you’re doing it and doing it well. And that basic time thing is sort of our enemy sometimes because we’re always in a hurry. But if you actually spend the time to speak to a patient, it doesn’t have to be all drawn out. I have one doctor that I work with that if I know that a doctor is going into the room with a patient X, it’s a half an hour, it’s done. Same patient, if I walk in there, I go in there and I’ll talk to them for a little bit and it’s really very quality, just exactly what they need and want and the management of time. I can spend 15 minutes and they can say, oh my god, that was the best conversation we ever had. And I’ll think, wow, that was like really fast and short but it was quality. So, the point is it has to be quality time, it’s not about a lot of time. And then, make sure that you appreciate what you have. A lot of you always are asking for more and not really stopping to appreciate that you’re healthy or young or good or bad or you have things and you are moving towards your goals and getting what you want and achieving that. It’s really important. People don’t appreciate sometimes what they have. They’re always asking for more or don’t think if something is good enough or they’re not good enough. And you should just look at what you have and appreciate what you have now and always reach for the next level. And you should have 20/20 vision which means that you should have a future. You should be looking towards a future. You should actually have goals that put you not only in present moment this minute but down the road, and you should have it in all aspects of life, not only with your work but with your family. And I call that 20/20 vision. So what is this all about? And what you’re always achieving is happiness, it’s survival, winning, playing, achieving goals, respecting yourself and others. And that picture there is what I call the William’s survival kit. This is what we had in our house when Wilma was coming and we didn’t realize the hurricane was coming. And my son said, well, that’s okay, we’ll be fine, we have all our food, and they put it out on the counter. You know, we were like, wow, we’re in trouble. But it was part of our game and we made it fun. And I just want you to know that I think that when you look at all aspects of life and balance, it’s not truly a balance but a constant game that you play to achieve an end result. And that’s what life is all about. So, I wanted to let you know that there’s Grant Cardone website I went in and I looked at. And I read that book. I found that those two things were really helpful for me. I just recently did that. And Grant Cardone, he talks about how to make your life 10 times bigger and better. And he was the guy that actually started with nothing and is one of the best-selling authors around about how to build a business. And one of the things he talks about is there is no balance. So, there you go. Thank you very much. I had fun doing that and I hope you did too.