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—and maybe a little obsessed—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 feel a little better. Every Friday I’ll feature a new interview. Here’s what Samantha Ettus had to say…
No. 36: Samantha Ettus, Balance Expert, Author, TV/Radio Personality
Where I live: Los Angeles and New York
Job: Balance Expert, Bestselling Author, TV Contributor, Radio Host
Ages/genders of kids: Two daughters, ages 7 and 8, and a son, age 4
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
Before kids I owned a personal branding agency and published my first two books. Post kids I did two more books and channeled my personal branding expertise toward women. But I quickly realized that you couldn’t talk to a woman about her personal brand without talking about her work/life synergy so I shifted my focus more heavily to work/life design.
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
Nobody has it all—Barack Obama, Jennifer Aniston. So why would anyone strive for an unattainable goal? Instead I encourage women to focus on redesigning their lives to fit all of their priorities. A delicious life is comprised of professional and personal fulfillment, and I know that we can all achieve that.
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
My biggest challenge is spreading the love to all three of my kids. I want them each to feel abundantly loved, appreciated, and important.
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
From a mentor/co-worker? To listen before you sell.
From your mother? To be financially independent.
From your kids? That they are proud of my work. Many moms forget that when we talk with pride about our careers, our kids follow our lead. What an awesome feeling for your child to feel proud of your work!
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?
Exercising. In my head I will start when my son starts Kindergarten. It is the one thing I don’t make time for.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
You have a lot more influence over your personal life than you realize.
What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
How to keep my memories alive. I have an old friend who remembers everything that’s ever happened in my life, but I would like to find a way to remember it all on my own.
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Cooking! I moved from New York City—the take out kingdom—to a small town in Los Angeles where we have one restaurant that delivers. This is my daily torture.
Whose job do you wish you had?
Oprah’s. She brings stories to life.
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Any time I see someone paid to stand in front of a store holding up a sign, my heart bleeds a little.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
What are you reading right now?
Off the Sidelines by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Activity? Homeland and reality TV, although lately I don’t even have time for my vice!
Website? Page Six.
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
What do you read every morning?
Twitter is my news curator.
Complete the following sentences:
I think I: can do more.
I wish I: could stop time from moving so fast.
My kids: are my heart.
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
So many. “You can shine anywhere.” “Don’t live life in the past lane.” “Empathy first.”
Samantha Ettus is obsessed with helping women to reach their potential. As a leading balance expert, Sam specializes in helping women navigate the mazes of their professional and personal lives. Sam is a bestselling author of four Random House books, a writer for Forbes, and host of a nationally syndicated radio show for moms. Sam earned her undergraduate and MBA degrees from Harvard. She is a frequent speaker and regularly appears on national TV. Sam is a mother of three and married to technology entrepreneur, Mitch Jacobs.
Please share your own tips on balance and check back every Friday for another interview from THE BALANCE PROJECT.
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