THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 92: Debbie Major, CEO of Zylofone Studios and Performer

Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”

BY THE WAY…

  • Looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT, the novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.
  • The Balance Project interview series recently celebrated its first birthday!
  • Fortune ran a feature about The Balance Project.
  • Want to be a part of The Balance Project? Complete the interview.

No. 92: Debbie Major, CEO of Zylofone Studios and Performer

Age: 57
Where I live:
 Montgomery, NY
Job: Many jobs….CEO of Zylofone Studios, Lead Singer/Performer in a number of bands, Voice/Performance Coach
Kids:
Twin boys, 24 years old

11102886_10206815744538499_1152725236037623389_oIs the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
Yes and no. I was a musician and singer for 15 years before I gave birth to my twins. They were preemies so I took a year off. Once I realized my one son had Cerebral Palsy and my other son had Autism, I spent less time on stage and became a music instructor at the pre-school they attended (for special needs children). As I nurtured my passion for music and children, I continued to sing (and still do) at many venues and with many bands. It kept me flexible during the day to tend to my children, their schedules, and their therapies. I modified my entire life to make sure they always had someone with them who had their best interest in mind.

Have you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
Certainly… most of the time, life offers changes so either you stay in a place that’s safe and secure (which I should have done many times) or step out of a comfort zone (which can be out of balance) and go to something new. That tends to be a good balance for me.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
Having “it all” is a state of mind…If you are healthy, and have a good spirit, treat people with respect, and honor your own balance, that brings you “all” things. Never overrated to have it…all. Anything is possible so it’s realistic if you are willing to make sacrifices and changes.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
My ability to share my life with that special someone, who understands the life I have with my boys.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
Being alone and liking the time I allow myself to have more for me.

Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance?
Not really…I guess I struggle with having so much to do everyday and keeping a smile on my face. Don’t let your frustration ooze out onto the whole world. Write lists on paper and cross them out as you get to them. Don’t be hard on yourself when it all doesn’t get done. There’s always tomorrow.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor/co-worker? “Smile when someone passes by you…it could change their day.”
From your mother? “Make sure you pay your bills on time.”
From your spouse/partner? “Relax and let me give to you for a change.”
From your kids? “Please make time for me.”

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
Playing board games and listening to happy music.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
Everyone is insecure…and ….you can’t please everyone.

What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
How to be the most important person in my own life.

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Cleaning and cooking.

Whose job do you wish you had?
I don’t wish for that. I like my jobs….I think all jobs come with a certain amount of ying and yang, so find something you like and DO IT!

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Mortician.

Favorite book?
The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck.

What are you reading right now?
Bossy Pants by Tina Fey.

Biggest vices…
Activity? Hulu.
Food? Doritos.
Website? Hulu.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
6.

What do you read every morning?
Emails.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: like getting older.
I wish I: had more time to travel and see the world.
My kids: are my teachers and inspire me everyday.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“Real success is finding your life’s work in the work you love.”

Anything else you’d like to add?
I so appreciate the fact that the one thing that’s been the most valuable lesson is to stop talking and just listen.

4359210497523_10204689574945588_5092086802406210903_oAbout Debbie:
I am a mom, a visionary, an entertainer, and a woman who analyzes everything. I am sensitive but also tough. I have two special needs sons that rock my world! I lost my first husband to cancer at the age of 32, and his death changed my way of thinking about my own mortality. I wait for lessons everyday but don’t usually see them until I have gone through them and reflected. I am honored to be asked to be a part of The Balance Project.

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Find out more about Debbie:
www.debbiemajor.com and www.zylofone.org
Facebook: Dmajor-Project, Debbie Major, Zylofone

WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? CHECK OUT MY NEW NOVEL THE BALANCE PROJECT!

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