I love when women in banking step out of their comfort zone and do something that challenges them. Sometimes, the idea of writing a blog post is scary! Believe me, I still panic each time I push "publish"! I was delighted with Ashley Cody, Market Vice President of River Valley Bank in Marquette, Michigan reached out to me about her desire to write a guest blog post. Below is her story. The Unbalanced, Balanced Mom | Ashley Cody | Market Vice President, River Valley Bank It is a popular topic – finding balance. The conversation usually involves balancing a career along with being a mom and upholding relationships with friends and family. Digging beyond the surface of this “how do I do it all” conversation from my perspective is showing up and being present. The challenge of being present when wearing so many hats sometimes can make that balance feel unbalanced. 18 months ago this “balance” thing really took me for a ride. I was a new mom and grieving daughter. I lost my dad unexpectedly and my husband and I welcomed our son on the day of his funeral. A journey of joy and heartbreak began to shine a unique perspective as I began to navigate a new normal. Within the last 18 months I kicked the balance thing to the curb, even though I thought I was pretty dang good at it prior! Prior to being a working mom that is. Let’s acknowledge that, as a banker, balancing is a norm! Thank goodness this is not a cash drawer we are talking about. I started to focus on being present, and then the balance began to happen on its own. If being present was easy the balance conversation would not be as high in rank of popularity. It is a constant effort. It is about saying YES and NO to what is important and what might not fit. The best part – there is no right or wrong. The gain of being present is a win/win! Determined to be at my best personally and professionally I realigned, managed my expectations differently and built a foundation with the key components that were most important. These 3 difference makers are what helped me get on track: Map it out | Reality check! STOP saying yes, and before you say yes again, realign and ensure you can be all in! Where do you want to spend your time and energy? Who and what is important to you? What are you doing now and what do you ideally want to do? Your Circle | Do not underestimate the people you surround yourself with – this has incredible value and can help you rise to be your best, maintain the norm or drag you down. This mix of people for me included family, friends, co-workers, mentors and mentees. Allow this circle to support you and challenge you. YOU: Yes, YOU! | Set time aside for yourself. Prioritize the things that are falling to the bottom of the list that you need to recharge. Get in that workout, enjoy a HOT cup of coffee, dive into a book or class that you have wanted to take. Sounds amazing right?!? Make it happen. Self-care is so important in being present and being at your best. Working mom to working mom – I get it. Find the right mix for you, invest in the process (many times over), and accept that being unbalanced just might be the right balance because something is always going to need more one day to the next. I wish you many moments of being present as you realign to find your unbalanced - balance! Guest Blogger Spotlight | Ashley Cody is a girl banker and has been in the in the financial services industry since 2006. Growing up in Negaunee, Michigan, she is a Yooper and graduated from Northern Michigan University with a Bachelor’s in Business Management in 2010. She has experience in developing and motivating teams, acquisition, opening/closing locations, branding, project/implementation, executing on strategy and assisting customers in achieving financial success. In 2012 she began her career with River Valley, IncredibleBank. Today, she is the Market Vice President in Marquette, MI and leading the implementation of their customer experience delivery model is one of her proudest career moments. Within her community, she is a member of The Rotary Club of Marquette, Volunteer Coordinator and Event Committee Member with Hope Starts Here, and a board member of the Children’s Museum. In 2018, she was selected by her peers as a Hope Starts Here, John Kerry award winner. Ashley and her husband, Luke, married in 2016. They love watching their 18 month old son, Michael, learn and grow. As a family, they enjoy being outdoors, travel and sports.