“At different points in your career you’re going to need different things, whether that’s time to adjust to being a new mom, caring for a parent or tending to your own health,” Stephanie Rader, head of the Distressed Sales and Bank Loan Sales Group at Goldman Sachs, shared at Goldman Sachs’ Women’s Career Strategies Initiative (WCSI) event. “While it’s good to make plans and set goals, both our professional and personal lives can take unexpected turns. Be flexible in adjusting course, be patient with yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Financial services – like many other industries – is fast-paced and ever-changing, but colleagues at Goldman Sachs, like Rader, have learned that maintaining a work-life equation and building resilience are keys to succeeding at work in the long run.
These topics were focal points of WCSI, Goldman Sachs’ annual program that provides high-performing women associates access to training sessions, resources and touchpoints with senior leaders across the firm.
While popular narratives around achieving work-life balance today often deal with lessening your workload, for individuals who don’t wish to step back in their careers, Rader believes there’s an alternative. A truly healthy work-life equation, she says, can be arrived at not by cutting down on your responsibilities, but in building resilience around how you manage them. In that way, work can be kept where it belongs — in the office and off your mind during your personal time.
“When I’m at work, I’m completely plugged into the desk and work as efficiently as possible. When I’m at home, my kids are my priority,” Rader shared.
Of course, work and family aren’t the only arenas deserving of our attention. Amanda Rubin, co-head of Brand and Content Strategy, also shared with WSCI participants that prioritizing your personal growth is also key and should be an integral part of any work-life equation.
“Sometimes, we can get so caught up comparing ourselves to others, especially in competitive academic or work environments, that we risk losing track of what’s important — our own personal growth and accomplishments,” she noted.
The Goldman Sachs Wellness Exchange team shared strategies and tools with the women at WSCI for maintaining a healthy work-life equation. The team advocated to foster five pillars of resilience — state of mind, strong body, connection, purpose and meaning, and self-awareness — and demonstrated resources that colleagues at Goldman Sachs can use to take care of all five.
Here are a few takeaways from WCSI on how to build resilience and maintain a healthy work-life equation, based on the five pillars:
1. State of mind: Take control of your thinking and focus on the present.
One of the best ways to build your resilience and tackle each day head-on is by being positive and present. Using positive self-talk can help maintain optimism and limit negative thinking, while incorporating meditation into your day can help improve focus and concentration.
2. Strong body: Engage in self-care to build confidence and maintain energy.
Moving during the workday, exercising during your free time and eating balanced, nutritious meals can help you stay energized throughout the day. When you prioritize your physical health, you’re positively impacting your life both in and outside the office.
3. Connection: Build relationships with others to get help when you need it and offer support to others.
Building relationships helps you feel like you’re part of something bigger than yourself. Offer to help someone, whether as a sounding board for their ideas, proofing something they’ve written, sharing advice on handling difficult situations, or even being open about your own failures. It can make a big impact and will make you more relatable.
4. Purpose and meaning: Dedicate your energy to your values.
Identifying and aligning with your core values allows you to invest time and energy appropriately. Reconnecting with your 'why' anchors you in your purpose and empowers you to make decisions.
5. Self-awareness: Develop an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, and how you feel in any given moment.
To understand your personal and professional responsibilities and how you should tackle them, you need to have a level of self-awareness. This allows you to excel by flexing your strengths and working on your weaknesses. You can develop this skill by taking time to reflect on your feelings, approaching challenges as lessons, understanding how you “show up” each day at work, and ensuring this picture of yourself aligns with who you want to be.
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