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. 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.”
2015 marks the second full year of The Balance Project! And there’s lots in store: First, The Balance Project is celebrating its first birthday. Read all about how it got started and what I’ve learned from it here. Second, my second book, THE BALANCE PROJECT: A NOVEL, will be published in April. It’s women’s fiction and it was inspired by these interviews. More about that here. Third, in preparation for the launch and because these interviews have received such tremendous response, I will publish new interviews two or three times per week, not just on Fridays. Thank you for your continued support!
No. 46: Traci Bild, Entrepreneur
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
I had my national training company when I had my first child, Paris. However, a few weeks before her birth, I literally shut my office on Main Street down, helped six employees find new jobs, and went from working 60 hours a week and speaking 10 times a month nationally to working 24 hours per week, speaking no more than twice a month, and working from my home. I did not want to sacrifice being a mom for my business and this was my middle road compromise. It was a huge risk because my company was very successful but in my gut I knew I had to do it. While it was a tough transition, it worked. I had to work smarter and get more done in a fraction of the time so there was no time to mess around. Within a few years my company doubled in size year after year, landing us on Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies list. That risk paid off but in my heart I took it for the right reasons and I’m so glad I did. Last year I launched a company to help women, my lifelong passion—Get Your Girl Back—and I’m working hard to set an example for my kids: that you can’t resist your destiny; you need to go for it no matter how hard or scary it is.
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
Personally I don’t think you can have it all. The reason being, IT cannot be defined. What is IT anyway? Does anyone know? I can tell you I spent a part of my life looking for IT and probably even if I got IT I wouldn’t know because it can’t be defined. Instead, I think you can have YOUR all. Most women don’t want everything, but a very specific set of things. For me it was a happy, passionate marriage; wonderful, happy kids; great health; a happy home; and great income to feed my passion to travel the world…I defined my all and went out and got it. I think it’s really important for other women to do the same. The best part is they will know once they are there!
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
My entire Get Your Girl Back movement is about this as I spent a decade working to figure balance out and I have this piece down pretty good which is why I am passionate about mentoring other women to do the same. The most difficult part is not to leave my wonderful husband off the list. He was here first, before the kids and before the business, and it’s not fair to leave him on the sidelines because I’m busy with the kids, work, etc. So to counter this we have a date night every Wednesday night and in many cases Saturday night, too. It keeps us bonded and in love.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I’m getting better at making time every day for my health. At 44 I realized a three-time-a-week workout was not enough; it had to be five. But what to do five days a week that nourishes my body and soul? I tried kick boxing, pilates, and spinning…kept changing it up to make it more fun and not such a drag. Then I found yoga…I’m in love and while I expected more on the mental rather than physical side, I can’t believe how my body has responded. I’ve finally lost the last remnants of my muffin top, doing something I really love!! So this is my continued focus, to get this in five to six days a week so my body can stand the test of time. I no longer work out to look good, but to feel good and that was a game changer for me.
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
From a mentor/co-worker? To create a weekly pilot map. On Sundays I spend about two hours sitting with my latte, computer, and calendars. I plan out my entire week, both personally and professionally, move things around, add in my exercise, date nights, etc. I make sure everything I want and need to do is built into my calendar and in many cases remove things when it seems overloaded. I still only work three days a week so I have to craft a plan and work it throughout the week. When my week starts, I’m excited—I’m not reacting to what’s happening, I’m in control of what’s happening because I planned it all out. I feel organized and alive because this is the week I crafted, that I get to live.
From your mother? If you don’t take care of your husband someone else will. Seriously, that is why he is such a daily priority. I love Dave, he is the center of our household and my #1 goal in life is to grow old with him, have both of us there for our children, their children, and each other. I came from a broken home so this is so important to me.
From your kids? To have fun and enjoy life because there will always be more work to do…enjoy that family time while we can.
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?
In my garden. It gives me such joy, I can’t even describe it.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
That God has a plan and when the timing is right, it will be revealed. Everything happens for a reason and in most cases they are happening to move us toward, not away from our destiny. Be patient and let that plan unfold.
What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
I’ve really been working to live in the moment versus “the future.” I have really progressed, but what I want to master is living in the present, in the now because in truth, it’s all we have.
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Laundry! I did try but it was more painful trying to find the clothes that were put away in the wrong places than doing it myself! If someone could do it and put it in the right place, I would outsource that!
Whose job do you wish you had?
My ultimate dream is to write full time from beautiful places like my boat, a café in Paris, in a cozy garden. So… a little Monet as far as setting and a little Gretchen Rubin as far as next stop in my career (she’s the happiness expert, I’m the fun expert, ha!).
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
The ones my mom had—she was a single mom who worked three jobs at times. In a factory, as a bartender, making enough to scrape by and care for three kids. I’m so driven because I knew I wanted a better life financially.
The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (it changed my life at the age of 16—thanks, Mom), Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell, The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber. For fiction: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, and The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani. There are so many. I am crazy about books, but these come to mind.
Activity? Boating and traveling—both feed my soul!
Food? I love Thai food and need more of it!
Website? SavortheSuccess.com. It’s a network of women who support one another and I’m part of a group of six women who hold each other accountable weekly to our game-changing goals. I love it. We start the week together by committing to our goals and end the week together celebrating our accomplishments.
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
9…I need my sleep!
What do you read every morning?
Complete the following sentences:
I think I: can do anything I set my mind to.
I wish I: had more patience.
My kids: are my life and make every single moment more alive and special.
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
She believed she could, so she did.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Life is really a mental battle. If you decide you want to have a great life and wake up every day with gratitude and focus on what you want, can do, and will have, you will live an amazing, adventurous, fun life. But that’s a choice you have to make.
Traci is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. Visit GYGB.com to get a FREE Get Your Girl Back Dream Journal and revamp your life, filling the pages with the hopes and dreams you hold close to your heart. Look for Traci’s forthcoming book, Get Your Girl Back!
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
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 45: Kimi Culp, Producer, Author and Creative Consultant
The Balance Project Interview Series Turns 1!