Finding balance between our work and our personal life is vital to being successful, creative, and happy. However, scheduling time for all the things that play tug-of-war in our lives can be challenging and exhausting. People often ask me, “Jacki, how do juggle everything and not drop the ball? You’re a business owner, a designer, a wife, a mother, and so much more.”

First, the ball drops, believe me. The skill set of juggling both a career and a family takes practice and an honest evaluation of what is most important.

It’s 7:00 at night and I’m writing this post from my home. I’m outside on my dock swing by the lake where I can unwind and turn off all the over-stimulation of the day. Sitting by the peaceful water is the perfect place to reflect on the value of balance and the value of investing in yourself. I can hear my husband and daughter laughing together in the garden, and still smell the fragrance of the smoldering grill from our dinner we shared together just moments ago. I want to live a life of meaning. This is what is most important to me.

After many years of trying to find the right balance between work and family in my own life, I realized that to attract, retain, and engage the best talent, who can also meet the demands of our deadline-oriented business, I must provide a workplace that gives my JAI team the flexibility to balance their careers with their personal lives. I also had to lead by example and, to do that, I needed to look at my own life and make sure I was prioritizing what means the most to me.

When I first looked at all my deadlines and production needs, I felt like it was impossible for me to take the time to invest in myself. I wanted to make my morning workouts non-negotiable, chaperone my daughter’s field trips, connect more often with my mentor, and make time with my husband a priority. It seemed impossible to figure out how to prioritize these things. Then something amazing happened. I just started doing it. I decided to start investing in what mattered most to me, and guess what happened? My work actually became more productive, my passion for design felt refreshed, and I was seeing growth in my life both professionally and personally. The investment in myself earned me a return I could not have predicted.

Balance means something different to every person. Health concerns, parenting struggles, family emergencies, spiritual retreats—these things come calling, and when we answer them with the value they deserve, they give back to us in greater success. So, what’s one small step you can take today to start investing in YOU? Do it! And see what happens.

“The Value of Investing in Yourself” is Part 1 of a series of posts called VALUE that will focus on the internal culture of JAI that makes us a unique force in our industry. Part 2 will focus on “The Value of Investing in Others.” If you want more information about JAI, please contact us at (727) 786-7113.