Lazy Sunday ReadingOver the weekend, I posted a picture of all the books I’m currently reading, and I know I’ve mentioned before how important books are in my world. I’m a firm believer in that we should never stop learning and books open us to a wealth of information, knowledge and advice, not mentioning the benefits of taking time out to relax, enjoy and immerse ourselves in a good read.

What I want to talk about in this blog (and the next blog) is the impact two of these books have had on my life, and the significance they have made on me as an individual.

The first is ‘Work Strife Balance’ by Mia Freedman. I’ve been a huge fan of Mia’s for a few years, even though I am certain we would be like chalk and cheese in real life. When I found out that she was speaking at my local library to promote the release of her new book, I was excited and determined to be there, and I was. The interview and evening were fantastic (Caroline Hutchinson of Mix FM did a great job as interviewer) but my true joy came from reading the book, which I devoured in a couple of days.

Mia herself is an open book throughout, sharing her experiences and advice with complete frankness, honesty and feeling. It did prove to me that we are indeed like chalk and cheese, and not sure that she would warm to me in real life as I have warmed to her, but her messages are fantastic. As a fantastic role model to all women out there, Mia highlights the importance of being ‘real’, how it’s OK to ‘not be OK’, and share her absolute belief that to get the perfect balance in life is impossible.

I share Mia’s complete belief that it is impossible to have balance in all areas of your life at any one time. As a small business leader and advocate for women in business, my workshops and presentations focus on understanding the different areas of our life and the importance of balance, but will always highlight that we can only do our best and focus on what is important to us at that particular time.

Our families, particularly our children, are always top on the agenda for any working Mum, but sometimes we will not feel 100% happy as to where we are at or the time we have to give. We all feel guilty and beat ourselves up over this and we won’t always get it right and that’s OK!

Sometimes life gets in the way of our plans, whether it is in our personal or professional lives, and we can only do the best that we can. And that is perfectly acceptable and OK, truly it is! None of us are perfect, or have everything balanced perfectly, no matter what they say and that’s OK. The key is to understand that all areas of your life are important, but that your priorities will change at different times or life stages. Issues tend to surface when we pour too much into one area of our lives for too long, neglecting some of the other areas that need to rise to the forefront for a while.

As women, often the area we neglect is ourselves. Our focus is on everything and everybody else and this is when cracks can start to appear which can then create real damage, to us and our relationships (family, friends, colleagues, professional and social).

Prioritise YOU and make sure you give yourself ‘You time’, every single day. This is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself and others, each and every day. Being your best version of you requires taking time for you to nurture yourself, sleep, breathe and take time out. This then allows you to give your best to every other area of your life – and to me, that is the key to creating as much harmony and balance in your life as you are able to.

Don’t despair if sometimes you need to give more to your career or business, it’s OK! Don’t beat yourself up if you need to take time out for family or friends, and let work take a bit of a back-burner for a while – it’s OK! And never, ever feel guilty for taking timeout for you, it’s not only OK, it’s a MUST!

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* Balance is only one of the subjects that Mia gives her opinion on in ‘Work Strife Balance’. If you haven’t already read, then make sure you do as it’s a great read and I particularly enjoyed the chapter – ‘A Letter to My Sons About Porn (To Be Read At Age 13)’ – which is one of the best pieces I’ve read in a long time!

** To find out more about my small business books, check out www.zoesparks.com for all of the info

*** To read about the impact of book 2 and if you’ve enjoyed the above, make sure you SUBSCRIBE  to my blog at http://feeds.feedburner.com/ZoeSparks for further articles