Cutting the cord: I left my corporate job to be a mom.

Two weeks ago I attended #CultureSummitSF. I had a memorable experience learning from leaders and founders about how to build strong cultures that lead to great companies. Many of the great A-list tech companies attended including Lyft,Medium, LinkedIn and RoundPegg just to name a few. Hosted at Galvanize the entire event had a hip, startup feel.

As I listened to the speakers and networked around the room, I was overwhelmed by a theme that emerged. It started with Ellen Leanse who mentioned starting a consulting practice while her children were young to have more flexibility. This conversation carried through the day to a variety of women I met at the conference. Many of the discussions revolved around having young children and the pressures of working at a fast paced tech company or being an entrepreneur. I was amazed to hear how many women decided to achieve balance by leaving their corporate job to start their own companies.

Last week I facilitated a strategy session where a female team member (who does not have children) said that her balance is her work. She shared with the group that she loves the people she works with and what she does. To her, that’s everything she needs. Over the past two years we have been inundated with messages from Sheryl Sandberg’s, Lean In around being able to “have it all”. While I believe it is possible, I would encourage working mothers to first define what “having it all” means to them. It is so easy to be swayed by the opinions of the media, our friends, coworkers and husbands. We are the only ones that can say what works for us and how we want to be defined as moms and leaders.

It’s a question I ask myself frequently, “What is balance?” I continually have the same answer for myself which is that there is no balance. For me, there is only work life harmony.

In writing this post, I have more questions than answers. My only goal is to encourage you to keep asking, keep seeking and keep defining what works best for you as a working mom. Don’t be persuaded by others, and know that any solution you come up with doesn’t have to work forever. Just like we must Cross the Chasmwith our marketing strategies, we must cross through life, always innovating our life strategies to create what works best for us in this phase of life. Is what you are doing currently working?

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