Why Meredith Vieira’s a Work Life Rock Star

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes.com; I am reposting here today to honor Meredith Vieira’s last day on the Today Show)

Meredith Vieira’s a rock star when it comes to managing the way work fits into her life, and there’s a lot her journey can teach all of us. Since 1991 when she was fired from 60 Minutes after requesting to work part-time, I’ve watched her make bold, often unconventional choices with a mix of curiosity and admiration.

In honor of her most recent decision to leave NBC’s Today Show at the top of her game “for more time with my family,” I want to give her a well-deserved public shout out. Like any rock star, her high profile and financial resources make her situation unique. But there are lessons in her story that apply to us all. They can teach us how to more deliberately and consciously manage our own work+life fit:

Lesson 1: When your priorities change, don’t wait until circumstances force you to make a choice.  Make a decision on your own terms, no matter what others say.

When I watch Meredith Vieira make her choices it’s clear she doesn’t really care about what other people think she “should” or “can” do.

In 1991, when she wanted to reduce her workload and hours at 60 Minutes, few people even thought about non-traditional schedules. Her proposal was almost unheard of. I’m sure everyone told her she was crazy, but she tried. And, yes, she was fired.

But the point is that she listened to herself, bucked conventional wisdom of what was “possible” and gave it a shot. Then she didn’t go quietly into the night of obscurity when it didn’t work out (more on that in a minute). She controlled her choices.

Letting go of her Today Show post at the pinnacle of success is an equally bold decision when you consider how many in her position would do just the opposite. Often we hang on to jobs that no longer fit our goals until the choice is forced upon us. This was the case with Christina Norman, the OWN Network’s newly-departed CEO, and Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen.  (Click HERE for more)

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