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 novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.
No. 141: Olivia Lane Lovejoy, Wellness Educator
Where I live: Hastings on Hudson, NY
Job: Wellness Educator
Have you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
After a few years of entrepreneurship, I’ve decided to look for full-time employment again. I was struggling all of the time to grow my wellness business, and when I wasn’t working I was worrying. I made this choice because I want to be able to develop myself and my business in a fun and healthy way that feels like it has fewer life-or-death circumstances. I appreciate being exposed to other people and ideas while also having a wider impact, in a way that doesn’t happen when I work on my own. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. I’m grateful to have tried, to have learned that it isn’t right for me, and to be willing to move on and give myself what I need to be fulfilled.
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think the very definition of “it all” is subjective. Though “it all” might mean a career, marriage, kids, and a social life for two women, I’m sure the details of what that looks and feels like is unique to them. I think we should all figure out what “it all” means for us and then go for that. Life is pretty miserable unless you have something to give you hope and ambition.
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I struggle with caring for my personal appearance. It’s important to me that my husband and my cats are taken care of, everyone has eaten well, my home is clean, my clients are happy, and any fires have been put out. Sometimes it seems like there’s no time left over to shower, much less give myself a pedicure and deep hair conditioning anymore. Truthfully, it’s become less of a priority, but I would love for that to change.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I’ve pretty much perfected not caring what people think of me, including myself. It feels powerful and has given me a lot of freedom. I used to worry about seeming stupid or not like the “sophisticated professional” I should be. I get to be curious and learn a lot. I try new things. I have fun!
Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance that you would recommend to others?
I was influenced by my mentor/life coach Kate Hanley (co-author of The 28 Days Lighter Diet) to plan things according to my menstrual cycle whenever possible. For example, the week that follows your period is your most physically energetic week so I schedule more strenuous physical activities, like a big hiking trip, that week. It’s really helped me to work with my body and energy levels rather than just dragging it along. I highly recommend this type of planning to other women.
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor/co-worker? On your to-do list, write down one thing your heart wants you to do today, then write down one thing your brain wants to do. The write down everything else. If you do the top two things, you’re good.
From your mother? I say this with love but I would not describe my mother as balanced. (Please don’t print this! Ha!)
From your spouse? My husband works from home and sometimes works until 1am. However, he generally takes weekends very seriously. I learned from him that you have to set clear boundaries on when you’re working and when you’re not. Shut down the laptop and get outside!
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?
Reading in a hot tub.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
I was really beautiful, smart, and unique.
What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
It’s okay to go to bed if you’re tired, even if it’s 7pm.
What part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Feeding my cats breakfast at 5:30am.
Whose job do you wish you had?
It’d be fun to be a clown.
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Recently: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.
What are you reading right now?
The Bishop’s Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison.
Activity? Acting improv.
Food? I’m currently obsessed with Sumo oranges.
Website? Goats of Anarchy Instagram feed.
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
Complete the following sentences:
I think I: should socialize more. Being around people is energizing for me.
I wish I: had better focus.
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou