Resilience lesson #2: create your own balance

Advice from women on balancing career, family and that critical inner voice

This is the second in a series of blog posts about resilience, highlighting the stories of women featured in the UBS-sponsored Wall Street Journal e-book "Resilience: How 20 Ambitious Women Used Obstacles to Fuel Their Success."

Pursuing a career takes time and energy. So does raising a family. Finding balance requires both creativity and resilience. That's what Veronica Dagher, senior reporter and host of WSJ's “Secrets of Wealthy Women" podcast, found when she talked to four women about how they manage to juggle career and family.

Lingerie designer Josie Natori, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, Birchbox co-founder Katia Beauchamp, and lifestyle entrepreneur Ayesha Curry all spoke to Dagher about how they navigate the intersection of work and family, from managing childcare responsibilities to making important financial decisions. The choices women make about how to prioritize their time definitely matter – and we are committed to helping them navigate these decisions.  Our Own Your Worth research has found that among women who divorce or become widowed, 53 percent wished they would have spent less time doing household chores and more time actively engaged in finances.1 We pulled together some helpful tips on making it all work.

Ride the waves

Josie Natori

Lingerie designer

Josie Natori learned important life advice from her father: “Life is like a wheel. There's no such thing as always being on top, you have to be prepared to go down." She found that to be true when her successful lingerie business—founded in 1977—suddenly had a halt in production due to political turmoil in the Philippines, where the company made its goods. They had to cancel all of their orders for the holiday season and the company almost went belly up. A loan from Natori's father helped them stay afloat, but it taught her that instead of throwing up your hands in the face of a challenge, you have to tackle it head on and not be afraid to ask for help. That's true in running a company, in marriage, and even in raising children—you just have to ride the waves. Natori also advises that working mothers give quality time when they can, rather than aspiring to be involved in every aspect of their child's life.

#ownyourworth

To get through difficult times, entrepreneurs must be tenacious and persevere. Wallowing in a past defeat or setback isn't an option, Natori says.

Rebecca Minkoff

Fashion designer

Rebecca Minkoff had to learn the financial side of the fashion industry as she grew her business. Even after she started to gain some momentum, she still faced challenges as she built her brand. For example, she earned wonderful name recognition when actress Jenna Elfman wore one of Minkoff's “I love New York" shirts after 9/11 on Jay Leno's show. She sold thousands of shirts, donated the proceeds to charity, and found herself still broke. Her next big break came when she designed a custom handbag for Elfman. Minkoff has been up, and she's been down—and she's worked through three maternity leaves. But she always keeps pushing. A female founder's success will depend, in part, on how “forward" she is, Minkoff says. “Entrepreneurs need to keep asking for meetings, for funding and for new business. If you don't, someone else who is hungrier will," Minkoff says. Women also need to actively support each other. Minkoff would like to see women judge each other less and compliment each other more, because judgment and apology can ultimately become a cycle, which benefits exactly no one.

#ownyourworth

“You have to grab opportunities as no one is going to ask for you," Minkoff says.

Change the inner monologue

Katia Beauchamp

Birchbox co-founder

“We need to change our inner monologues from always wondering if we're doing enough to celebrating what we are doing," Katia Beauchamp says. Beauchamp co-created the online beauty-product subscription service Birchbox. Once fledgling, it now has 2.5 million active customers and 230 employees worldwide. While Beauchamp built her business, she actively raised four young children simultaneously, and one thing she's realized is that women often focus exclusively on what they're not doing rather than what they are doing. She encourages women to ask for support from employers—whether that means advocating for a promotion or negotiating a more flexible schedule. At the same time, women need to stop feeling guilty for working and for spending time away from their family to pursue a career they love.

#ownyourworth

Working women have to be nicer to themselves, Beauchamp says, and let go of the mythical idea that they'll ever achieve a perfect work-life balance.

Ayesha Curry

Lifestyle entrepreneur

Ayesha Curry started as a blogger with a YouTube channel focused on providing cooking, lifestyle and beauty tips, and she's since become a best-selling author, television personality and restaurant owner. Along the way, she has worried about several things: raising her children, overcoming the perception that her success is attributed to her husband (NBA star Stephen Curry) and navigating the male-dominated culinary field. To help her find her way, Curry sought advice from two successful women in the culinary world. “I had a whole cloud of self-doubt over my head. And they basically broke down the walls and told me that I should press forward," Curry says. She has had to learn to practice better self-talk when she feels herself becoming overrun with doubt. It also helps that Curry is doing something she loves. She advises women to find their passion and stick with it.

#ownyourworth

Your success will stem from your passion, Curry says. Doing something you love will drive you and help you press forward when other people tell you “no."

Next in the resilience series:Thriving Despite Personal Trauma.


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