Finding the Point of Balance

Birthday Cake

I’m pleased to share that my birthday was this week (for those who know me well, you know this is a big deal).

I love birthdays in general, and I especially love mine. Why?

Well, my birthday is an important time for me for a couple of reasons. Yes, I love cake and presents and having an excuse to go out to dinner or celebrate.

But more than anything, I love my birthday because it’s the one time during the year that I stop and take stock of where I’m heading.

Every February I usually take some time to sit quietly and think – to reflect on what happened over the last year as well as to visualize where I want to go in the coming year.

This is what I call making my Birthday Resolution.

Over the years my Birthday Resolutions have helped me chart my course and provided some much-needed clarity.

This year my birthday (and thus my Resolution) comes at a particularly interesting and unique time in my life. In three months I will graduate from business school and head out into the big wide world again.

But where will I head to?

Over the last year and a half my education has opened my eyes to possibilities that I didn’t even know existed. I’ve developed a true passion for using business to effect change, and most days I wake up eager and excited to find a job that allows me the chance to “do good and do well”.

Yet some days I wake up feeling weighted down by the burden of responsibility. Whether it’s dealing with the inevitable dread of school debt, or feeling overwhelmed by the expectations of others, sometimes I just can’t see the forest through the trees.

So how does this relate to my Birthday Resolution?

In some ways, you could say my life these days is a bit of a see-saw, with my job search right smack in the middle of things.


On one hand, I want my new job to be motivated by mission and purpose.

I want to find an opportunity that offers personal fulfillment and the chance to do good for other people. I also want to land in an organization and in a role that allows me to act as a good global citizen.

Yet as graduation nears, I’ll be honest: I have a lot of debt to deal with.

And sometimes that translates into feeling like I just need a job – any job – so I can start paying that off.

Not to mention the fact that it's easy feel pressured to take “the right” job after school – that is, the kind of job that most MBAs go for (consulting, finance, strategy etc). That may not be what I want, but when everyone else is doing it, it's hard to resist the urge to cave.

Given all of this, my Birthday Resolution is all about balance.

My goal for the year ahead is to find that point of balance on the see-saw - which means looking for opportunities that both quench my thirst for social purpose while also helping to turn down the volume on some of my anxieties.

Is this asking too much? Maybe. But I never said my Resolution had to be practical!

Sure, I know I’ll have to make trade-offs. This is not a scenario in which I can be guaranteed the best of both worlds. But perhaps I can strive for a job after school that is a happy medium between the two extremes.

What does this look like? To be honest I have no clue. But I’m working on it.

And I'm convinced that there are opportunities out there that will allow me to balance out my see-saw. I just have to find them!

As I kick my job search up a notch, I'll be sure to report on my progress here at The Changebase. In the meantime, have you ever made birthday resolutions? Even if it's not your birthday, I encourage you to think about stopping for a moment and taking stock of the direction in which you're heading. How can you reposition yourself to find your point of balance on the see-saw?