Whether you are a teacher and a coach in Syracuse, IN, an executive at Biomet, or a single parent trying to work and raise children, work/life balance is an important issue. I know all the years I was sports anchor at WSBT I wrestled with my job obligations and those of a parent.
While emceeing the Samaritan Counseling Center Awards Luncheon (a wonderful annual event that recognizes northern Indiana Employers who are really good at work/life balance), I took notes on keynote speaker Maureen McFadden’s value-packed Talk on how she balances life and work. Maureen is a longtime, successful news anchor at WNDU, the NBC affiliate in South Bend, where I have lived since 1988.
Besides being a highly visible Anchor, Maureen and her husband, Jim, are raising three boys. One just graduated from Indiana University. Another is at Notre Dame. The third is in High School where he loves to play baseball!Maureen told the audience it was 20 years ago when her husband was hit by a drunk driver. This was before air bags. Though he is doing well now, that was quite the physical recovery challenge. Today Maureen is also very involved in caring for her elderly mother. She is in constant demand to appear at community events. As someone that was in TV news for almost a quarter of a century, I can tell you that her job as an anchor and reporter is one challenge after another. So… when she speaks on work/life balance, it’s like the old E.F. Hutton commercial. The audience listens.
After introducing her, I sat down and took these notes to share with you. Maureen McFadden: “Some days I am better at home. Other days I am better at work. I think if my family knows I love them, and that I make as many baseball games as possible, and look over homework, then I feel like I am doing my best. Young people today should understand the importance of balance. They often think they can do it all, and they cannot, and become hard on themselves. Here are things I do to help with balance in life. First, I pray. I am not putting religion on my sleeve in this Talk and I don’t care what your religion is. All I know is that prayer works for me. Prayer has taken me out of more jams than anything else in life. My Dad was a (University of) Notre Dame man so my family grew up going to the Grotto. That is my ‘go-to’ place. Prayer may not solve all my problems but it brings comfort. Secondly, I have learned to just say no. It goes back to feeling we can accomplish everything. It took me years to realize I could not do it all. Maybe it’s my Catholic guilt. When my husband was recovering from being hit by the drunk driver, and my kids were young, and I had work, a very wise woman – my mother – said it’s okay to say no. If I needed to say no to going to read to school kids so that I could spend more time with my own family, then I said no to the school. I used to freak out about having the perfect home and being the perfect wife and mother. Again, that very wise woman, my mother, said, ‘Maureen, when you die do you want them to say she was a great housekeeper or a helluva woman?’ If you come to my house today you will see tenny shoes on the floor and an old fashioned crock pot in the kitchen. The food in it is healthy and hot. I may not be a helluva woman yet, but I listened to my mother. I’m not much into exercise. I know the younger people are these days. I do know it truly relieves stress. I go to the basement a few times a week and do the treadmill. However, if my mother needs help or if there is something with the kids, then I miss the exercise that day. Another thing that helps me is humor. From the clowns I work with in the newsroom to my kids and husband, I try to find humor in things. My husband and I went to see the new movie ‘The Three Stooges’ and I thought it was hilarious. I had a good hard belly laugh for two hours! We all have to work out what works best for us when it comes to work/life balance. None of us is getting out of this alive. Be kind to others. Do your best. Sometimes you strike out, but don’t beat yourself up. As our oldest son graduates from the Ernie Pyle School of Journalism at Indiana University, I am getting him a Dr. Seuss book, ‘Oh, the Places you will Go!’ It includes: You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left. Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!”
Maureen McFadden, WNDU TV, South Bend, IN I thought Maureen’s keynote was excellent. As someone who has studied the art of speaking for a long time, I know audiences like to leave with inspiration, humor and a few tools they can put to use in their own lives. Maureen gave them practical insights they can use to get their fire going a little more.
Charlie Adams is the author of Stoke the Fire Within. He delivers a variety of motivational keynotes and workshops to Corporate and Educator audiences. He also speaks on the college athletics recruiting process to help northern Indiana families understand how to navigate the confusing process. Since 2006, he has hosted over 25 Group Travel Experiences for Edgerton’s Travel known as ‘Travels with Speaker Charlie Adams.’ To bring Charlie in to inspire your people or event, or learn more about his motivational programs, you can go to StokeTheFireWithin or reach him directly at [email protected]