The Balance Project turns one today! I posted my first interview, with entrepreneur Jessica Mindich, on January 23rd, 2014. And I posted my 44th today. I’ve been asked the following questions a lot over the past year, so I thought I’d fill you all in on the answers…
HOW DID IT BEGIN?
I’m not very good at managing too much on my plate. (Unless it’s a cheese plate. I’m very good at managing too much cheese.) I get overwhelmed and cranky. I yell at my kids. I’d always envied the women I knew who seemed to have their shit together: successful careers, great relationships with their kids, satisfied husbands, fit and well. I always thought they knew something I didn’t about juggling all the balls.
Late in 2013, I thought it might be fun to ask women I admire how they—pardon the expression and more on this later—do it all. Maybe I’d get some tips. Maybe I’d finally figure out what I was doing wrong: why it was so easy for them and so hard for me. I decided to make it an official part of my website; as a topic it certainly aligned with the theme of my first novel ON GRACE. Then I chose a name (The Balance Project), came up with the questions, made a target list of interviewees, lined up a couple beta interviewees (thank you Jessica and Elizabeth), and got going. I have been so overwhelmed by the positive response it has received and so excited that its momentum is growing.
My goal was to steer the conversation about work-life balance toward the reality that everyone struggles with it. And to debunk the myth that we should all try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”
HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR SUBJECTS?
My first subjects were all women I knew personally. As the project evolved, my interviewees recommended their friends and colleagues. Interested interviewees contacted me directly asking to be involved. And I also started finding subjects on my own via their blog posts, newspaper articles, etc. Now, anytime I come across someone interesting, I contact her. More often than not, I get a YES! All interviews to date are listed at the bottom of this post.
- Everyone is making sacrifices. No one is doing it all when we define “it all” as giving 100% to a career, a family, a marriage, and to oneself.
- When “it all” is defined more realistically according to a woman’s own priorities and values, then achieving it is absolutely possible.
- A lot of people hate the term “having it all.” They think it’s demeaning, they wonder what it really means, they question why no one asks men that question (I asked Nigel Marsh).
- Most women realize that it’s better to not try to balance it all each day. But to think of life as seasons or stages. Some days you’ll be great at the mom thing. Some days you’ll be great at the career thing. There will be very few days when you’re spectacular at everything.
- To feel better about not being able to figure it all out. Almost everyone struggles with this in some way or another.
- And so much more. I’ll be writing more about this all. Stay tuned.
WHERE IS IT GOING?
In 2014, I posted a new interview each Friday. Before I knew it, I had a tremendous backlog of interviews so I decided that in 2015, I would post two or three times each week. So, expect to see more interviews. I’m trying to manage the voices. As I mentioned, the interviewees started off being people I knew and people my interviewees recommended. As I move forward, the voices will diversify more. And I’m also trying to strike a good balance between everyday women and more high-profile women.
DIDN’T YOU WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THESE?
YES! The Balance Project interviews inspired me to write my second novel about the topic of work-life balance and having it all. It’s a subject matter that so many women struggle with, whether they have kids or not. The title of my novel is, wait for it, THE BALANCE PROJECT (description below), and it will be released on April 28. You can preorder it on Amazon now!
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
If you’d like to be featured on The Balance Project, let me know through my Contact page. I’d love to hear from you!
EXCITING UPDATE!! (2/18/15)
Today, Fortune Magazine published a wonderful article about The Balance Project entitled “If you spent a year interviewing women about how they balanced, what would you learn?” by Vivian Giang. It’s featured on the homepage of their Most Powerful Women channel.
Thank you all for your wonderful support of this little passion project of mine. So many of you have told me that you’ve been so inspired by these interviews, that they’ve made you feel better about yourselves, that it’s so helpful to read such honest answers from other women. I’m so glad. And I look forward to bringing you more authentic voices in The Balance Project!
THE BALANCE PROJECT NOVEL
The Balance Project is a story of loyalty, choices, and balance that will resonate deeply with all women who struggle with this hot-button issue. Loyal assistant Lucy Cooper works for Katherine Whitney, who seems to have it all: a high-powered job at a multibillion-dollar health and wellness lifestyle company, a successful husband, and two adorable daughters. Now, with the release of her book on work-life balance, Katherine has become a media darling and a hero to working women everywhere. In reality, though, Katherine’s life is starting to fall apart, and Lucy is the one holding it all together, causing her own life—and relationship with her boyfriend Nick—to suffer. When Katherine does something unthinkable to Lucy, Lucy must decide whether to change Katherine’s life forever or continue being her main champion. Her choice will affect the trajectory of both of their lives and lead to opportunities neither one could have imagined.
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 1: Jessica Mindich, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 2: Veronica Beard, Fashion Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 3: Emily Liebert, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 4: Lyss Stern, Mom-trepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 5: Lauren Slayton, Nutritionist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 6: Elizabeth Moyer, Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 7: Annabel Monaghan, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 8: Holly Gordon, Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 9: Jill Salzman, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 10: Jennifer Levinson, Jen’s List
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 11: Jenny Hutt, Media Personality
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 12: Angela Santomero, Kids’ Media Creator
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 13: Carola Donato, Yogi
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 14: Tiffany Washington, Pastry Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 15: Emily Giffin, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 16: Alana Sanko, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 17: Cara Lemieux, Journalist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 18: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, Authors
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 19: Nikki Mark, Author & Foundation Director
Shonda Rhimes on Doing It All
Indra Nooyi on Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 21: Jill Bryan, Comedian
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 22: Cindy Callaghan, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 23: Stephanie Hirsch, Artist
My Times of India Interview on Work-Life Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 24: Whitney Dineen, Author/Baker
AmEx’s Sobbott on Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 25: J0-Laine Duke-Collins, Dessert Stylist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 26: Whitney English, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 27: Jennifer Gooch Hummer, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 28: Melissa Amster, Book Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 29: Nigel Marsh, Author and Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 30: DayNa Decker, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 31: Amy Selling, Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 32: Heather Sonnenberg, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 33: Allison Winn Scotch, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 34: Bibi Kasrai, Entrepreneur and Chef
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 35: Karen Sutton MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 36: Samantha Ettus, Balance Expert, Author, TV/Radio Personality
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 37: Pam Yudko, Holistic Health and Transformational Coach
THE BALANCE PROJECT| No. 38: Nancy Huang, Nonprofit Outreach Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 39: Mary Laura Philpott, Writer, Editor and Illustrator
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 40: Towanda Long, Marketing Communications Specialist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 41: Kristyn Kusek Lewis, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 42: Tracy Pollan, Actor and Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 43: Christianne Phillips, Fitness Consultant and Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 44: Susannah Lewis, Writer