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Balance Comes From Passion and Purpose

by Ershla Jones

So many people struggle to find adequate balance with work, life, and family. Guess what – I’m no different! As I reflect on being a mom to Solomon (and my fur-baby, Sparky), a wife to Bobby, a leader in the workplace and a graduate student, I believe we can have it all! I am beyond passionate about my profession. Equally important is my family.

Someone once told me people always make time for the things they want to do – what they think is important. I found this to be true; especially so when you understand and acknowledge your purpose – what fulfills you. For me, the drive and ability to balance personal and professional demands come from staying focused on the big picture. I truly believe my purpose is to be of service to others – to be an example to other professionals at all levels, as well as exemplify a purpose-driven life.
Growing up in a small town in rural Georgia, I learned to appreciate the value of education, hard work and building strong relationships. I am the middle child of three girls raised with a strong spiritual foundation by an entrepreneurial father and a mother who worked most of her career as an executive assistant. They instilled in us the importance of integrity, responsibility and humility. My mom always told me – no matter what, “keep a good name.” As I’ve matured, I’ve to come really understand what she meant.

I have had a fair share of struggles throughout my life and consider myself equal to everyone else; I chose to make my challenges, opportunities. We all go through various experiences that impact us in different ways. We weren’t given a manual on how to navigate life’s pathways – both the pitfalls and the triumphs. When we make time for moments of reflection and awareness, what we learn from experiences creates clarity to understanding why things happen the way they do. I believe everything happens for a reason. Nothing is happenstance. Our lives have a purpose; what we go through is by design. No one’s life is perfect. Mistakes occur to prepare us for what’s to come. So, have no regrets. In life, we have choices and those choices build our character and reflections of who we truly are. My decision to further my education while managing to be a working wife and mother, was all about doing it at the right time. Timing is everything.
In 2018, I traveled to South Africa (SA) as part of my international residency for my Executive MBA program with University of Georgia. I was amazed at the parallels of our (USA and SA) cultural evolution and economic development. While the U.S. is light years ahead in many ways from a business perspective, we still share some of the same socio-economic challenges with diversity and equality. I appreciate, more than ever, the journey to where I am now. I quickly recognized that we cannot become comfortable with where we are on the spectrum. We must strive to do more to help others who are looking to us for inspiration. What we do is not always for our own gratification, but to help others who are watching us and aspiring to be where we are.

Being a young African-American woman executive hasn’t come easily. I’ve been fortunate to have met people at different points in my life that have helped me to grow and taught me not to become complacent. Consequently, servanthood is a core principle for me as a leader in the workplace, community and in my daily life. As the VP of Operations, my job is to ensure we maximize operational efficiency and attain business objectives. My purpose as a leader is to help others realize their potential and discover their purpose. With purpose comes balance, productivity and efficiency – it all leads to success. When it comes to finding balance in how to do it all, I would encourage you to start by aligning your passion with your purpose.

• Set goals and be deliberate about achieving them.
• Know what you want and make time – the right time – to go for it.
• Be intentional about who you surround yourself with personally and professionally.
• Embrace opportunities to diversify your experience and knowledge.
• Take risks.
• Take time to reflect on and journal your experiences.
• Get to know people who are different from you.
• Most importantly, reach back and pay-it forward.

Being a wife, a mom, a student and a professional is challenging beyond words. When it comes to balance, I just do it!