Clearing the Path

Image credit: Avery Studio

by Tiffany Gee Lewis

I had an epiphany last week.

Our family was in South Florida for spring break, enjoying the beach and visiting old friends.

One of my good friends, Sharon, is expecting her fifth child and runs a successful modeling management company, a job she is able to do mostly from her phone while sitting on the beach.

It sounds like the dream job, doesn’t it?

I spent the entire week trying to figure out how she does it. Also, how I could bring a similar job back to Minnesota. Unfortunately, the modeling industry is paltry in the Twin Cities, and I wouldn’t be sitting on the sand. I’d be shivering on a snowbank.

However, after spending a few days with Sharon, I learned some invaluable lessons on how to parlay a career into the work/life balance that we are all striving for.

First off, Sharon does what she loves. She said she keeps the sizes, heights, skin and eye color of 60 children in her head, ready at a moment’s notice, because it’s what she enjoys doing. She loves children, she loves the agents she gets to work with, and she loves connecting the two in a successful relationship.

Second, she does her business where she loves. Sharon lives near the beach and walks or bikes there every day with her 3-year-old son. “It’s my saving grace,” she said. Once the kids blow in from school, it’s swim lessons, ballet lessons, and violin. Those mornings walking to the beach are what keep her mind calm and clear.

Third, she enlists help. Her older children, ages ten and twelve, cook meals each week. Her kids do most of the dishes, loading and unloading. Her husband does a lot of the cooking and grocery shopping, especially as she’s been so sick with her pregnancy.

Fourth, she doesn’t do it all. We were there over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, talking about all the moms who dress up like leprechauns and leave pots of gold for their children. She laughed.

“I decorate for Christmas. That’s it,” she said.

You wouldn’t know, judging by her calm demeanor, that she teaches early morning seminary (at 5:15 a.m.!) on top of her job and her kids. Years ago, when I asked her about her goals for the new year, she said simply, “I don’t make goals. That way I’ll never be disappointed.”

Now, I’m not Sharon. I was born with a to-do list in my hands and I am a relentless goal maker. But I came away from her house with a renewed understanding of what it means to delegate, scale back, and clear the way for real dreams to happen.

She didn’t set out ten years ago to have a modeling management company. She simply got involved doing what she loved at a pace she found enjoyable and reasonable with the rest of her life’s responsibilities. She didn’t let roadblocks stand in the way of a happy, balanced life.

So, what do you love? What do you keep in your head that you could parlay into a career? And how can you clear the way to make your dreams happen?

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