Celebrating International Women's Day: Personal Stories #4

It’s possible to have it all – just not all at once

“Balance is a complex issue,” said Lenka Duskova, Business Controlling Director at Albert. “Personally, to me it means doing what makes you really happy and dividing your energy between your family, career and friends and yourself so that you can live a fulfilling life.”

She says it’s important to realize that as circumstances around you change, you need to keep rebalancing all over again. “I can’t say that I’m balanced all the time, though I wish I could, but I think it’s more about knowing how to find the balance when you need to.”

Lenka said she actually loves change – and often in her life this has meant moving to different countries. She said she’s grateful to have had the opportunity to first work for Delhaize and live in Belgium and then move to the United States and work at Food Lion, and after that, move to Bulgaria for three years, also with Delhaize. “They were great experiences that taught our family to be more open to different cultures, embrace change, and learn from it. Not to mention the many fantastic people we met who taught us lessons not only about our careers but about life.” After Bulgaria, they realized it was time to change priorities and settle down for a while to let their children finish high school. “Then we decided to move to the Czech Republic, which for me meant saying goodbye to Delhaize and going to Ahold – so I was very pleased when Ahold and Delhaize merged and I was reunited with my former colleagues.”

All of these moves were enriching experiences for Lenka and her family. “Each time, I had to totally start my life the way I knew it over again and start finding my balance. It taught me to do this faster and be more prepared for and open to the next changes coming along.”

To Lenka, balance starts with being honest with yourself. “It’s about knowing yourself, understanding your strengths and considering your purpose and vision at different stages in your life, what you want to accomplish and experience. And then it takes a lot of will power and patience to fulfill this vision throughout your lifetime.”

Having a career and a family makes it important to set priorities. “I have two incredible children, a supportive husband and good friends. Also finding time for myself, for hobbies and sports is important.” She said her priorities have changed over the years. “You have different priorities when you’re 18 years old and when you’re 30 or 40, so you have to give it thought and talk with your family about what you expect from life and if they can support it. Because honestly, without the support of my family I would not be able to do what I have been doing. I’m very fortunate to have this support – without it, along with the ability to prioritize and be honest about what is most important to me, it would not be possible to have it all.”

“Personally, I trust we as women, CAN have it all, and I embrace this opportunity. I know that I’m a perfectionist, but I’ve also learned that you cannot deliver all your goals at once, at 150%. You can live one or two goals to really high standards, but you can’t do it all at the same time. Be careful when setting your standards and prioritize – and over time you can have it all.”

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