Having it All
A mother to six children and running the region's first and only Work Life Balance training institution called ADLA Group, Datin Dr. Leez Hassan is used to being asked 'How do you manage it all?"
Work-life balance? Is that even possible?
According to the serial entrepreneur - she has businesses in fashion, premium dry cleaning service and professional development training - having it all comes down to making smart choices and staying focused.
“How I actually look at it is to have a structured map of your life," says Datin Dr. Leez, "You need to actually sit down and have a reflection time and look into areas that you want to focus on. For example, this year, I am very obsessed to focus on my health, which I have been neglecting for quite a while."
"So once you actually have that kind of road map, in terms of your time, you know how much you want to spend. Then, you’ll be able to actually find a way to balance it."
She also admits, as manager or business owner, the feeling of wanting to 'do everything yourself' can sometimes be overwhelming. So, it's important to learn how to let go, through delegation and learning to trust.
"Some people will say as a self-employed, you should be very hands-on everywhere. That is not necessary. (It goes) back to trusting the human capital, and enhancing the talents. They may not be as good as you, or a duplicate of you a hundred percent, but if you are able to train them, they should be able to."
Datin Dr. Leez thinks its high time for all companies, big and small, to embrace work-life balance and flexibility as a new way of work.
Work-life practices, she thinks, is also important as a method to retain talents. Speaking through personal experience, the inflexibility of work hours during her corporate stint was what led her to starting her own business.
"It was very difficult for me to be there at specific time, eight or seven o’clock in the morning. It was very very hard. So that’s why I took the decision to actually be on my own, where I could manage my time."
“Many big companies are now advocating this. They are trying their best to manage work-life balance because finding talents may be difficult. But to retain good talent is challenging. So, as an employee, we need to manage the expectations of both parties.”
A prominent figure in the local SME circle, Datin Dr. Leez is an entrepreneur through and through. She is the founder or SPARKLEEN, a premier brand in dry cleaning and laundry franchisor chain of outlets in Malaysia since 2007. Later on, she founded contemporary muslimah lifestyle brand Leezara.
But her 'ultimate dream' took off in 2015 through the establishment of ADLA, an avenue, she says, aimed at empowering and supporting aspiring entrepreneurs in pursuing success in life and business, particularly for women.
"It's a destination that we are going. But along the way, we must enjoy the journey. So this is what I am actually trying to advocate because a lot of time, we focus too much on something. So that’s the reason why I am actually so passionate about going out there and helping women to manage this."
So, how does this full time mother and entrepreneur effortlessly balance parenthood with work? "Knowing our focus in life," says Datin Dr. Leez, and prioritizing what's most important first.
"I always put my family as priority," adding that her children's music or dance classes as well as Parent Teacher Association meeting are things she never misses. "And even like things that are very little like cooking, I make sure that I cook for the family. So they do not see me as the busy woman leaving them at home. So, they always see the other side of me as a mom."
"I don’t know how I did it, but Alhamdulillah, even with my husband, he will always ask me what’s for dinner tonight until today. So I will still go to the kitchen and cook," Datin Dr. Leez says with a smile.
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