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You might have noticed the lineup of hyper successful women in this edition. You might have also noticed that they all have dual or triple or even quadruple sets of professional obligations, some voluntary and some not, not to mention having personal lives and relationships to maintain. Most of these women are far more overextended than myself, and yet almost all of them have a better grasp on work-life balance. I am constantly shoving my personal life by the wayside, neglecting my health, and in general, making excuses for not being capable enough to schedule breaks.
This edition, we have some of the region’s biggest achievers, and all of them come across more calm and more “stable” than I do when you encounter them in real life (I promise). From H.H. Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, during our interview at Dubai Culture offices, I learned that it’s okay to stop trying to execute perfection, and instead try to execute at a level that can be considered great. It was a hard pill to swallow, but I needed to hear it. I also learned that while Her Highness is a self-professed workaholic, she slowly schooled herself to stop taking work home.
This served two purposes; firstly, she was able to give herself more creative thinking time -terribly important in her sector and position as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority- and secondly, she was able to give herself that switched-off space to maintain a good balance between professional obligations (of which there are many, as you can imagine), and her personal life and ambitions.
I think that my conversation with Sheikha Latifa also proved how irresponsible I have been- yes, I do manage a huge brand very responsibly, but I failed at something that is absolutely integral for a successful well-rounded person: maintaining balance. Tipping my scales in favor of irresponsibility included everything from cancelling my twice-weekly yoga classes to scheduling myself in for 10:30 p.m. mentoring sessions, phone calls, and meetings, to not eating all day due to “pressing” to-do lists.
There is much more to being successful than running a company smoothly- there’s also a measure of how good you are at staying in charge of your own life outside of the professional sphere. I am not good at staying in charge of my own life, but after this edition goes to print, I will be- and if that means not working after 7:00 p.m., then so be it.