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How to Balance Work and Personal Life Like Marissa Mayer

Fri, 11/09/2012 - 4:26pm | by Jessica Edmondson

Top executives like Marissa Mayer, the new CEO of Yahoo!, stand out not only for professional achievement, but also for the seemingly relative ease at which they balance their personal with their professional lives. With extensive practical knowledge, undeniable grace, and razor-sharp business reflexes, Marissa Mayer’s full engagement in the next chapter of Yahoo’s development has fans and critics alike looking on with great interest to see how her dynamic leadership strategies will play out over the next several years.

To maintain a high level of energy, top executives need to be aware of the balance necessary to help keep intense forward momentum from waning. Here are a few tips to maintain personal and professional balance on your own path to excellence.

1. Stay committed to an engaging and informed peer group

Great leaders have strong communities around them to support their professional development. Being active in conferences, professional mentoring, on-going education, and sustained networking revitalizes and supports career development. Scheduling time to be among peers and leaders that you admire in your industry is an inspiring use of time that can directly feed your own leadership performance.

2. Have a hobby

Marissa Mayer’s cooking hobby and passion for fashion have been widely noted. Tapping into creativity helps not only in stress management, but also in giving the brain something else to think about when work days become long and intense. A hobby also helps  form relationships with a peer group not necessarily interested in what you do from 9 – 5. That can be a plus for executives at any level.

3. Have a holistic view of health

While getting away for long weekends or a vacation is important, so too is maintaining a healthy day-to-day lifestyle. Just as top executives need a top notch  support staff, they also need to be sure that proper diet, exercise and mental wellbeing is part of their total personal optimal performance plan. Whether it is meeting several times a week with a personal trainer, or working with a nutritionist to learn healthy on-the-go eating strategies, acquiring the support needed to achieve peak performance is part of a long-term success strategy.

No one person can do everything by himself or herself. Strategically allocating resources to make your personal life more manageable is part of the success strategy of every top executive. Because that aspect of life isn’t always the topic of interview fodder, it is easy to forget, but important to remember. Highly successful people are on top of their game when they have support in place to assist them in maintaining the momentum needed to keep moving forward.

4. Stay engaged, challenged, and relevant

Knowing when it is time to start looking elsewhere is a positive strategy to have in today’s economy. If you have reached a level of performance in your present situation where you can no longer engage as fully or feel as challenged or fulfilled as you once did, you need to ask yourself if you can afford to stay in your current position. While few have the luxury to leave one job with the promise of another, professional mentoring, career development consultants, or college career planning offices may offer help in creating an exit strategy that involves fostering new business relationships while still working in your old job.

5. Make time to share success

Whether it is engaging in community service, sponsoring a little league team, or even initiating a social project with a local non-profit, it is important to give back to the community in which you live and work. Connecting with your team more fully through community involvements and assisting in creating positive contributions to society creates another level of engagement that many executives find fulfilling. In addition, applying leadership skills outside the workplace can add to personal fulfillment that can help sustain workplace engagement and creativity.

While many business professionals talk about having a good balance in life and work, many younger executives like Marissa Mayer live an integrated life where the boundaries of a traditional work day do not exist. When interviewed about “balance,” she often talks about finding “rhythm.” The day-to-day strategies of balance you put into place support an effective rhythm that can keep you well motivated, refreshed, and relevant for decades to come.

For more about Mayer’s views on work/life rhythm see: For additional tips helpful for finding your own healthy rhythm, see:

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This guest post was provided by Jessica Edmondson who contributes on Effective Leadership Skills and Training for the University Alliance, a division of Bisk Education, Inc.

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