5 Principles of Balanced Success

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If I could share 500 words to inspire, this is the important wisdom I'd want to pass along to others...

  • After having several successful careers, a marriage of fifty-one years, four children, and eight grandchildren, people ask how I’ve done it all. With hindsight, I see that I’ve always had these five guiding principles in the back of my mind.

    1. When opportunity knocks, answer. Take every opportunity that comes your way, even if you don’t have a clue how to do the task. You’ll either figure out how to do it, or you’ll fail and pick yourself up and move on. Either way you will have learned something. Remember, you don’t learn to play tennis without hitting the ball into the net a few times.

    2. Work, family and community. always have these three arenas in your life. Invariably something will be good in one of these arenas and something will be frustrating in another. In just one day, you may be praised at work and “dissed” at home, or vice versa. This helps you keep perspective that you are human.

    3. Prioritize family. In the tough times that come to every life, loved ones matter, not money or things. It is easy to let the family take second place, because they won’t fire you. It often seems impossible to do this when you are working and bringing up young children. But merely putting down your phone or computer and looking directly at your partner or child while they are talking to you can save you time in the long run.

    4. Take care of yourself. Figure out what is the most efficient way for you to get some time to yourself. For some, this is simply staring out the window while doing the dishes or vegging out during the work commute. For others, it involves listening to music or exercising for twenty minutes. If you only serve others you become resentful. Sometimes all you can do is take a second each day to note the beauty of the sky. Even this will refresh you.

    5. Don’t strive for perfection. We are all a mix of assets and liabilities. Strengthen both, but recognize that what makes us unique is the combination. Don’t waste precious time being angry with yourself. Instead, learn from your mistakes and act better the next time. Moreover, in order to have good relationships with others, you have to have a good relationship with yourself. Enjoy who you are, be forgiving of yourself.

    Life is filled with twists and turns. We cannot control everything that happens to us but we have some role in how we react to the circumstances that come our way. Make a plan, set goals, prepare for the future you want, but recognize the plan needs constant modification. Be nimble and be quick to change course as opportunities come your way.  Do not waste time regretting what can no longer be. I learned from my father, who was a school teacher and a principal, that one must make decisions and then make them the best decision. Be proactive to do so.

    Ruth Nemzoff

    Dr. Ruth Nemzoff is the author of Don’t Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2012) and Don’t Bite Your Tongue: How to Foster Rewarding Relationships With Your Adult Children (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2008), and a frequent speaker on family dynamics. She is a resident scholar at Brandeis University’s Women's Studies Research Center. She is the former assistant minority leader of the New Hampshire State Legislature, the first female New Hampshire Deputy Commissioner of Health and Welfare, and the first female Bank of New Hampshire Board Member. For over ten years, she was an adjunct associate professor at Bentley University. She pioneered program development for persons with disabilities and started the equal opportunity office in the New Hampshire State Department of Education. In addition, she founded a nursery school, a counseling service, and the National Women's Legislative Lobby. Dr. Nemzoff holds a Doctorate in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University, a Master's in Counseling from Columbia University, and a Bachelor's in American Studies from Barnard College. Her papers are archived at the Schlesinger Library, Harvard University. She and her husband, Harris Berman, have four adult children, four in-law children, and eight grandchildren.

    For more information, please visit ruthnemzoff.com.

    View all posts by Ruth Nemzoff.

    1. Rima Jolivet
      Rima Jolivet says:

      I was on Google + for a meeting and the personalized search function brought this up to Inspire Me Today! How lovely! Sending hugs xoxoRima

      Reply
    2. Donne
      Donne says:

      Ruth, you did an excellent job of summarizing your years of wisdom into 5 principles. I completely agree. Knowing you and your vibrant personality, I can just hear you sharing this advice with all the generations

      Reply
    3. Sidonie Grace
      Sidonie Grace says:

      I enjoyed reading your comments! Thanks for the inspiration; truly uplifting and heartwarming. Stay blessed. Namasté!

      Reply

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