Many people speak of the importance of achieving work-life balance. As a mother to two boys and as someone in a leadership role at work, I know my professional and personal life both require my utmost attention. One of my greatest successes has been finding ways not only to balance, but to develop synergy between the two most important facets of my life.
There are times when the demands of each role can be consuming, resulting in a feeling of inadequacy. We often are told that work and life should be separate and therefore balanced, like two objects holding equal weight on a scale. Over the years, however, I have discovered that greater fulfillment comes from finding ways to integrate these two important parts of my life rather than thinking of them in isolation. This attitude has allowed me to thrive in both roles.
Like everyone, my two boys have varied strengths and weaknesses. They have their ups and downs. As any parent knows, it is just as natural to celebrate their strengths and encourage improvement in areas they need help with, all while remaining patient and understanding. As a manager, I have applied this same approach, and it has proven to be the key to my success as a leader and to the development of those who work for me. The lessons we teach and learn at home can be applied to work and vice-versa.
I remember leaving work one day and feeling upset after not performing to my own expectations on a presentation. As tears filled my eyes on my walk home, I thought about what I always tell my boys when they don't do as well as they would have liked: Believe in yourself! Failure will happen on the road to success; attitude is everything; get over it and move on! By the time I reached home, I had started to feel better, and when my dogs and boys happily greeted me at door, I immediately smiled. I shared my day with my children to help them learn that unfortunately, life throws curve balls. As budding baseball players, this was terminology they understood. In this situation, my experience as a mom helped me tremendously in overcoming a challenge at work.
The way we find success both at work and home is unique to each individual. There are times when home must come first, and there are times when work supersedes all else. Our team has 10 people who have children, five of whom were born within the last year alone. And I recognize that it is not only the results they achieve at work, but those they achieve at home and elsewhere in their lives, that will ultimately satisfy them. Both elements are important parts of who we are, and it's important that we can be successful at both.
This might mean sometimes participating in our children's activities during regular work hours and taking work home at night or on weekends. I won't miss a child's school play or public speaking contest, and I respect others on my team who live by the same philosophy. And my children certainly do not mind when I have to bring them into the office, as they love to talk to the young analysts on my team.
Drawing connections between my career and my family in order to get fulfillment from both has not only made me happier, it has made me a better leader and more appreciative of my family. The ability to not only balance but find harmony between the two is what truly defines my success.
Jamie Kramer is a Managing Director and Head of the Thematic Advisory Program at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in New York.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power" which will take place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.