The Serial Plate Spinner! Investing in a Balanced Life

If you can manage a successful business, take your 7-year-old to gymnastics, pick up your 2-year-old from nursery and get your 12-year-old to athletics, laptop and phone in hand all on schedule, then you know you’re on a winner for the day!  

As I write this from my kitchen table, I sit down and reflect what it’s like to be a working parent with three children and the constant churn of working to achieve a balance.  A balance of investment into my family and into my career, then somewhere at the end a little time for me. It’s not easy but what in life is?

From a working-class background, my parents always taught me from an early age you only get out what you put in. Investing your time and effort into something and seeing a result or an impact is a reward in itself. 

I spent the early part of my career investing heavily and in doing so I can openly admit I neglected and missed out on several important family events.  My career undoubtedly shaped me into who I am, which I’m grateful for.  When the reality hit in the initial stages of expecting our third child, I realised something had to change. It wasn’t going to be possible to give my family what they needed or even deserved and be successful in my current position. Even for a serial plate spinner and a very good one at that, I had to sit down and re-evaluate my situation. 

I wanted and needed to invest in both or have the ability to flex my schedule at the right times in order to achieve ‘the desired outcome’, for me this is a balanced approach to life.  My goal to have a reasonable standard of living, not to be greedy but enough to be comfortable, with the ability to invest more time into my children to develop them as I naturally have done with the many teams that have worked for me over the years.

I’ve learnt so much during the last 2-year transition in my career from full-time functional role to a more flexible working approach supporting businesses and making improvements within their Supply Chain and Operations.  Whilst I’ll always be a serial plate spinner its one that I can manage and be successful at.   

Like any complex supply chain sometimes there are unexpected peaks in demand, but on the whole, being more balanced has made me a better person who is more equipped to deal with those peaks.  As the business develops and the children grow the challenges will change, so it’s going to be even more important to be flexible with the ability to adapt in times ahead.

For me to achieve this it’s all about future planning, the things you can control and being agile enough to manage unexpected events.  My husband and colleagues will agree and anybody who knows me will be laughing out loud at my beloved whiteboard and action lists!

By using the skills I’ve developed in business and in parenting, by applying the right approach and control methods that are appropriate to the situation, I hope to aspire to reach towards my ever stretching and challenging goal of investing in a balanced life and reap the benefits along the way.

Lindsay Leong is the Business Manager for Teal Partners Ltd. With over 18 years' experience of sourcing, manufacturing and servicing in major blue chip companies, specialising in Supply Chain and Operations management.

Lindsay Leong