As a mom and a leader of a creative advertising agency, the No. 1 question Carolyn Morgan always gets is, "How do you do it all?"
I am the mom of four crazy demanding, loving children that are changing every day. I am also the leader of a growing, demanding, fun creative advertising agency that is also changing every day. Each day I wake up to kids that are slightly different than the day before, and each day I wake up to run an organization that is slightly larger than the day before. It is wild, but my choice is simple: become overwhelmed by it or embrace it for all that it is.
Do I do either alone? No. I have an amazing village both at home and at work. That is what makes it all possible – I am happy to relinquish control when someone I can count on has the reigns. It took me a while to learn that, but I wholeheartedly suggest that you surround yourselves with people you trust, who can do the job better than you. And, then, you let go. It is hard at first to do it, but trust me, you have to.
I also don’t try to do it all. I make choices every single day about how I am going to spend my time. I have accepted and embraced that I can’t do everything. Meetings get missed for kid stuff, and kid stuff – yes, sometimes even a milestone – is missed for work stuff. I can get all upset about either of these, but that doesn’t change it, so instead I focus on being my best self in the environment I am in.
What keeps me grounded and focused are the following guiding principles:
1. Be present
It is hard with everything coming at you every minute of the day, but I try to be conscious of my presence. Am I in the here and now? With my family – two sets of twins and my husband – I want them to feel how important they are to me. With my teams at work, I want them to see how much their concerns matter to me, and hopefully they take that back to their teams in turn.
2. Be active
I exercise as much as I can. I fell in love with my Peloton bike a year and half ago and found the thing that works for me. I can jump on for on demand or live classes at any time. Sweating it out keeps my stress down and I love the low-impact, high calorie burn.
3. Be curious
I love to learn. I read our industry trades; I am constantly reading at least one business book and one personal book; I listen to podcasts during my commute; I love to hear people’s life stories. I really am insatiable when it comes to wanting more knowledge. I love that I learn something new every single day.
4. Be fluid
I mean this is both figuratively and literally. Figuratively, every day is different, they all have their moments of disappointment and triumph, recognize them for what they are, learn from them and then keep going. And for the literal – I can’t live without coffee in the morning, an ocean of daily water, and wine as the day winds down.
5. Be grateful
I know not everyone gets to where I am in their careers, and I am really appreciative of it. I know I am lucky to shape a company culture, to mentor younger professionals, to drive new business and to move our company forward. What’s more is that I get to love four children and share in raising them into their best selves with my husband. It is all crazy and super busy, but would I want it any other way? Not even for a second.