Having been a traveling, home based Sales Person for 18 years and counting, I work hard to keep myself motivated. However, it becomes much more difficult in the last few weeks of the year. It is always challenging when you work from home, and can't connect with colleagues on a daily basis. There are many guilty struggles around not always physically being present for your kids. Social networks are not traditional when you are not a constant presence in your community. Home routines are, well, not routine. It takes much more time for an inconsistent gym goer to convince themselves to go, or for an inconsistent school volunteer to schedule time with the Class Mother. Also, sorting out all of the items that are out of place (or lost on trips) can take a moment. But the physical toll that it takes is the most challenging part of staying positive. In these past few weeks, the guilt that I supress throughout the year has finally bled through my imperfect barrier of resistance.
The see-saw of traveling and then returning to family life and to the cave of my home office (or home refrigerator--the space directly in front of it) catches up with me by the end of the year. This is also the time when the meetings slow down and travel halts, so I really feel the lack of local community (the PTA that I am not a part of, the gym that I haven't seen in a few months.) In fact, I'm not entirely sure that I left the house for the final two weeks of this year.
My beloved best friends have become other women that I have worked with, most of whom are in similar positions. They also work remotely, and deal with the same occasional loneliness, but bond like sisters when we travel together and catch up at industry trade shows. It has also been women who are leaders and entrepreneurs who can be there strongly when they have down time, but the frequency changes with their business. We have so much fun when we get together in those non judgmental moments, like a return to youth, albeit with better hair and fancier restaurants.
My resolution for this year is to innovate my personal strategy for balance by taking some of the best advice of these amazing women, and infusing it into my daily routine. So far I have been reminded to pack my gym clothes on trips, to stop packing my suitcase with bagels when I come home from the east coast, and to always travel with a cashmere scarf (that is tethered to a briefcase).
Rena Cohen-First is a VP of Sales who has sold in the Food Ingredient Industry for the past 17 years, selling to the largest food and beverage manufacturers in the world. She has taught online business and leadership classes as an adjunct instructor, studied Professional and Executive Coaching, completed her MBA and Served in the US Army. She resides in San Diego with her two children and husband. Her goal is to show every woman that she can become a Sales Goddess in all circumstances. See more about Rena at: www.thesalesgoddess.com