In every professional’s life, there’s a moment where you second guess what chasing the dream really means. In those moments, you realize the cost that professional ambitions can have on your personal ones.
That’s the position Heather Byrne found herself in after a move to Saskatoon.
After relocating to the city from Eastern Canada, Heather and her husband were crushing it professionally. They each had jobs they loved with significant potential for growth.
The problem was they were missing the family connections that were an integral part of their values and identities.
Heather says that even though she and her husband often exclaimed how pleased they were with their career trajectories, they started to have deeper conversations about how isolated they felt.
“We always said that family was the most important thing to us and finding a place to put down roots for our kids,” says Heather. “After some tough conversations, we agreed that our careers were only a part of what we needed for our overall well-being. We drilled down into what we wanted for our families and what we wanted our lives to look like, and it made us completely re-evaluate our definition of success.”
Taking the Leap
With their priorities now clearly defined, they made an incredibly tough – and risky – call to put the brakes on life in Saskatoon and make a move back east.
“Even though we knew it was the right move, it was extremely nerve-wracking. There were no certainties at the end of it. We had no jobs lined up. We just had to accept the consequences, whatever they looked like,” adds Heather. “But we said that if we were with our families at Christmas and Thanksgiving, and if we're achieving the close-ness we were looking for, whatever the impact on our careers would have been worth it.”
The Ultimate Payoff
Heather says that despite the enormous risks, in the end, they’ve never been happier.
Heather’s husband quickly landed on his feet professionally, and Heather secured her current role as Executive Director with Alice House, a provider of safe, second-stage housing and support for women and children leaving situations of intimate partner violence.
But Heather says the professional success was just a pleasant surprise.
“We see family on a regular basis now. So much so that we sometimes feel like a booking agency!” laughs Heather. “So, the connections and the grounding that we were looking for as parents and as leaders in the family was achieved and then some. The fact that our careers wound up flourishing as well was just a bonus.”
Heather says her experience has taught her the importance of putting yourself first and how that ultimately makes you better at work and home.
“You have to be grounded in who you are to make good solid, grounded decisions, and that’s especially true when leading teams. Once you have clarity on your values, it’s easy to know the move you need to make.”
To hear the full 20-minute episode, “Finding Harmony between Personal and Professional Ambitions”, listen wherever you get your podcasts or online HERE.
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